Opening a coffee business?
Yes, you’ll need a great business plan but it doesn’t end there. Convincing the bank or other investors for a loan is only the beginning. What should you do now that you’ve secured the funds?
Don’t fret if you don’t know what comes next. We’ve laid out important tips below to teach you how to start a coffee shop successfully:
1. Location, Location, Location
Before you do anything else, pick the right location. It’s okay if you have to take your time scouting for the right place because this heavily determines your success. A good cafe in the wrong place will struggle to survive.
What elements should you consider when choosing a location?
You need to consider the amount and type of traffic that the area gets. Dense areas like a main street or shopping district are ideal. You could also scout for places close to schools and tourist spots.
Make sure the location fits within your budget too. It also has to be big enough for your business.
How big should it be? Here’s a tip you won’t hear people talk about: whatever the size of the location is, cut it in half. Half of the space should solely be for the kitchen and the remaining half is the front-end, where you place all the tables and chairs.
Of course, you don’t have to follow that rule if you only plan to sell coffee and pastries. If your cafe offers pasta, pizza, and a few other dishes then you need the big kitchen space.
2. Know Your Coffee
Do your research before opening a coffee shop.
Even if you’re not active in the business and you hire different people to fill in important roles, you should know how it all works. Don’t rely on a manager, barista, accountant, and chef to know it all for you. You should still know the basics of each role, allowing you to quality-check their output.
More importantly, you should know the basics of coffee brewing. You need to learn the difference of cappuccino from a latte, how to determine if your beans are fresh, and how your suppliers grow and roast beans.
3. Get a Consistent Supplier
Your coffee shop business plan should include details about coffee supplies. You don’t want to open a shop and buy beans by the bag. You might end up with no coffee beans on a busy day.
Instead, look for wholesale coffee suppliers and purchase by bulk. You’ll need to buy different kinds of coffee too, from basic Robusta to flavored coffee and decaffeinated beans. Your supplier should be able to give you a wide range in terms of variety and for a good price.
Make sure your supplier remains consistent too. You don’t want a supplier that keeps changing prices every few weeks or one that can’t supply the same type of beans regularly. You shouldn’t have to adjust your menu according to your supplier’s fluctuations.
4. The Best Equipment
If you can, purchase the essential equipment in cash but there is the option to lease for the more expensive pieces. The biggest investment is a commercial espresso machine and a decent water filter. Prioritize these before anything else.
Other things to focus on are refrigeration, coffee grinders, ice crushers, and industrial blenders if you intend to sell frappes and other shakes or smoothies. You may need to purchase a chiller and display shelves too if you plan to sell cakes, pastries, and other snacks.
Don’t forget to include a POS system in your list of crucial equipment. It’s better nowadays to get a POS with cloud-based storage and access. This ensures you can check your revenue, stocks, and orders on any mobile device, even when you’re not in the cafe.
5. Stick to a Theme
You should pick a theme early on and stick with it.
If you plan to make your coffee shop give off an Italian-French vibe, this means you shouldn’t add burgers and bacon to your menu. If you plan to make your coffee shop utilize a “geek-friendly” aesthetic, then why not integrate it into your menu? You could offer something like a “Lannister’s Golden Cappuccino” for fans of Game of Thrones.
The theme you pick directly affects the decor, your menu, and your marketing strategy. It determines the audience niche you should reach out to and the style of marketing ads you’ll put out.
6. Curate an Appropriate Menu
Most coffee businesses focus on three things: coffee, pastries, and cakes. You can make pastries and cakes in-house or look for a consignment partner. The coffee, however, falls entirely in your hands so make an appropriate menu.
Will you offer drip coffee alongside the espresso-based drinks? Are you sticking solely to cappuccino, latte, and americano? Are you adding more espresso drinks like a black eye, Irish coffee, and flat white?
Your menu can help set your coffee business apart from the others. You might be the only cafe in the area that offers siphon coffee. You might be the only one to offer dozens of flavors for dripped coffee.
7. Market Your Cafe Early
Starting a coffee shop doesn’t begin with the grand opening. It starts as soon as you paid for the location and began processing the permits. As soon as you’ve locked in the business name, start marketing!
Get on social media, build a website, and claim a Google My Business page. Use tools like HootSuite to schedule months’ worth of social media posts. Learn a few SEO techniques or hire content creators to boost your site’s ranking and help make people aware of your coffee shop.
Don’t stick to online marketing, either. You should still go to tradeshows, small business conferences, and bazaars. Print flyers, ad banners, and rent billboard space if you can.
Launch a Successful Coffee Business Today!
Launching a coffee business takes more than a well-written business plan. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the right track to plan and run your shop right.
Of course, there are more business tips and tricks to discover. You can read up on more strategies by checking out our other guides today. Don’t hesitate to give them a read!
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