How to Start an Independent Coffee Shop

coffee shop

How to Start an Independent Coffee Shop

We get it, you love coffee, and as a person who also wants to venture on business, running a coffee shop as your business might be a good idea for you. Who wouldn’t want to do a business that is based on your passion and on what you love, right?

Though, this type of business can be a rewarding experience, starting a coffee shop is a no joke venture, it’s a large investment not just in terms of money but you will have to spend a lot of time, I mean a lot of it, just to make it a reality, as well.

To help you get on the right track of starting your coffee shop, we are giving you this step-by-step guide in opening your own cafe.

  1. Do Research. Just like every business, the beginning of a coffee shop venture starts with research. Spend time understanding how the coffee business works and what it takes to build a successful cafe business. Reach out to a lot of coffee business veterans and learn from their business experiences, and visit a ton of cafes to get insights on how you would like your shop to look like. Know your market and do some research on the possible products you can offer to your cafe, as well.
  2. Create your business plan. Opening a business is like going to war, you need a plan to win it. You cannot start on your coffee shop venture without planning everything as planning is vital for your business success. Writing your business plan helps you go through each stage of developing and managing your coffee shop, it walks you through the process of understanding your business and gets you a grip on the numbers you need to make in order for your business to be successful. A good business plan should include: 

-General information about your business, your vision, and what the business stands for.

-A profitability plan that includes how much sales you are going to need to declare your profit.

-Local market analysis to know who your target customers and who your competitors are.

-Numbers that include your sales and revenue projections, and your recurring costs, such as rent, supplies, and salaries.

-Your product offerings, and suppliers where you will source fresh-roasted beans.

-Your team and partners.

-Your marketing plans and your goals and milestones.

-Your location and lease strategy.

  1. Find the right location. Choosing the right location to build your coffee house is critical in the overall success of your business. You would want to put your business in a location that is close to your target market and is convenient for them to go to. The proximity of your location to offices and nearby work buildings is sure to draw potential customers. You should also remember that rent tends to go higher than the others if your location is in traffic and a visible area like the city and the metro. Also, make sure that you understand the details of your retail lease as terms of this document can affect the profitability of your business. 
  2. Find the best supplier. Another key component to the success of your shop is good and reliable coffee suppliers. Make a list of all the supplies you need for your business and be sure to list it as detailed as you can. Major supplies that you’re going to need for your cafe include coffee, milk, fresh produce, and groceries, cups, napkins, teapots, coffee stirrers… and list that goes on and on. Make sure to find the suppliers you love and those who fit with your business philosophy. 
  3. Invest in your equipment. Aside from the best suppliers of coffee beans for your business, another secret to having a great coffee to offer to your customers is having quality equipment. Your equipment is a big investment, and though it will cost you a lot of money, you would want your equipment to be of high quality and of commercial grade. Having so will make it sure that you will be able to use it on your business in the long run, and avoid buying new ones very often. 
  4. Create your products. Wow! This must be the most rewarding and the most enjoyable part of opening your coffee shop, creating your own menu and products. This would often mean a lot of coffee and pastry tasting, making your own signature drinks, and yeah, still a lot of sipping and drinking coffee. Exciting, isn’t it? But hey, this could also be stressful sometimes. Creating your own recipe and blends and products means that you have to make your drinks be acceptable and likable to the palate of your customers, and sometimes it’s just hard to do that. Well, you know what they say, you cannot please everyone.

For a start, think about what you’re going to sell and who you should sell it. It’s easier to organize your product ideas if you know what you’re gonna sell, and to whom you’re gonna sell your drinks. Make sure that your products are aligned to your vision and what your business is supposed to stand for, and from there proceed to the next step that may include visiting other coffee shops and taking note of what you think are their best sellers and the favorites among customers.

Most of your customers would expect their drinks to be of premium quality coffee, so finding an excellent supplier to source your quality and fresh-roasted beans is a must. It’s also important to make a selection of blends and roasts where your customers will choose from, and serve one light, medium, and dark roast each at the least.

  1. Hire the right people. Hiring the right people to work for your shop will help you achieve success for your business. Be prepared to interview applicants and train each one, and also know how many you can afford to hire, at the same time. A coffee shop is a fast-paced environment, you will need people to handle the cash register, brew and serve the coffee, and employees who will take care of the tables.
  2. Rock your marketing strategy. Before opening your store, make sure to make a marketing strategy that will give you a lot of customers on your first day. Rocking your marketing strategy on, and making a gimmick for your first days of operation can create a buzz among coffee shop goers, and can give your target market something to be excited and talked about. A perfect start for your coffee venture.

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