How To Start A Coffee Shop Business
With the extreme success of Starbucks it can seem crazy to consider how to start a coffee shop business. Success is not impossible, however, as long as one prepares properly, stays within their budget, and has plans for possible contingencies.
- Determine your budget. Before beginning a coffee shop business you will need to discuss with a bank about a business loan, how much you qualify for, and whether you can afford to pay it back. It would be a shame to start a business only to end up in debt and lose it before real success takes off.
- Learn about coffee. When starting a coffee shop business it is absolutely vital that you, as the owner, know coffee. You should know where your beans come from, how they are roasted, the individual qualities of your coffees, as well as having suppliers for flavored syrups, equipment, etc. If you plan on serving espresso drinks, you should understand the science of making perfect espresso shots. Bitter shots will result in bitter customers!
- Location is key to starting a coffee shop business. The shop should be easily accessible, inviting, and ideally in an area with plenty of potential customers such as near large college campuses, business districts and office buildings.
- Designing the layout for your coffee shop business can also play an important role in your income potential. If the barista cannot work efficiently because of a poor layout in the espresso machine station, this can slow business. You also want the location to present a warm, welcoming ambiance so your customers want to come back. Consider your major clientele. Are the students? Office staff? Having free WiFi access, an abundance of tables and seating, multiple outlets for laptops, soft music so it doesn't disturb studying can all help lure your customers in and keep them coming back. Take a few trips to local competitors and consider what they have done, and what might have worked better.
- When starting a coffee shop business, do not forget to include marketing and advertisements in your budget. You will want to advertise locally, assuming this is a local shop. Pamphlets, posters, business cards, even postcards can be great ways to spread the word. Many campus buildings have bulletin boards where you can post your signs and ads, or even hand out cards or brochures for the new shop as students are leaving class.
- Consider discounts for customer loyalty. When starting a coffee shop business, you will naturally be fighting the strong current of already established and worldwide chain shops. Offering student or military discounts with valid ID can draw in more customers. Having frequent buyers cards can help bring customers back again and again. "Here's your receipt, Sir, and I've already stamped your first drink on our card. Buy six drinks and get lucky number seven on the house!"
- Mothers are often traveling, in a rush, hurrying from errand to errand and more often than not with children in tow. Offering children's drinks at cheap prices will encourage mothers to frequent your shop and prefer your coffee shop to your competitor's shops. Something as simple as sweet candy or fruit flavored syrups blended with water or milk and ice in a kid-sized cup can set you back only pennies. Perhaps have specials such as "Tuesdays and Thursdays, free kid's drink with Mom purchase."
- Lastly, train your staff well. Any coffee shop business can be run into the ground when customers stop returning due to staff inefficiencies or improper customer relations. The staff should be presentable, neat, pleasant, and fast but not too fast. Customers understand when the shop is busy, but rushing customers or allowing them to see your staff rushing around can create a tense ambiance that can drive customers away. Set strict guidelines with your staff so they are aware of what is allowed for work attire and presentation, music volume settings and music genres, and customer relation guidelines. Well trained staff keep shops running smoothly for a long time, and keep customers wanting to see their pleasant faces.
Posted on: Aug. 26, 2010