How To Start A Coffee Shop

The drive to learn how to start a coffee shop can be for investment purposes or an opportunity towards self-employment. Financial resources, accounting, location, site, equipment, furnishings, bill of fare, product, supplies, table service, and marketing, along with staff, all serve as necessary elements to the start of a coffee shop. Research and assess each startup element to prove the feasibility for a coffee shop. Once plausibility for a coffee shop is worthy of pursuit, it is in order to proceed. Organize a business plan for the coffee shop that will act as a guide. Develop details for the coffee shop’s plan through a course of structural action.

To start a coffee shop, you will need:

  • Adequate finances—monetary funds, loans, or credit
  • Accountability—bookkeeping and accounting
  • Business bank account
  • Select and applicable business site (with rest rooms)
  • Utilities—electricity, gas, water, garbage, and sewage
  • Concept—coffee, bistro, cafe, or restaurant fare
  • Menu (bill of fare)
  • Equipment—variations of kitchen and beverage suitability, bill of fare dependent
  • Decor—exterior and interior design treatments
  • Lighting
  • Furniture—can include either or both bistro-type and dining room style
  • Product—food, beverage (emphasis on coffee and relevant blend)
  • Service—flatware, cups, glasses, napkins, condiment holders, and optional tablecloths or place mats
  • Supplies—paper, cleaning
  • Uniforms—optional
  • Cash register
  • Credit and debit card transaction machine
  • Guest checks (also referred to as tickets)
  • Business license
  • Health department certification
  • Marketing—signage, advertising, promotion, and specials
  • Staff


  1. Establish administration for the coffee shop. Possess or have access to the financial sources for funding coffee shop operations. Financial sources, singularly or as a collective, define accessible or available money, small business or personal loans, and credit lines or cards. Amid financing a coffee shop set up, project the availability of funds to support and sustain operations for at least six months prior to relying on revenue.
  2. Acquire a sound and comprehendible bookkeeping system, along with the guidance and services of an accountant. At a preferable branch, open a business checking account for the coffee shop. Record and detail each financial transaction—start up funding, draws, expenses, deposits—in the checkbook register.
  3. As the coffee shop progresses towards functionality, operational administration must occur in appropriate phases. Such administrative operations include a cash register, credit and debit card processing terminal, guest checks, acquisition of a business license and health department permit, appropriate marketing, and the hiring of staff.
  4. Secure location and suitability for the coffee shop. A coffee shop site needs the combination of visibility and accessibility to either foot or vehicle traffic for success in attracting customers. Whether or not the site’s space previous use was for a food or beverage service establishment, check to ensure that utility provisions, such as electrical outlets, possible gas facilitation, and plumbing, to include rest room facilities, are in operable condition.
  5. Obtain building space pricing within the site’s neighborhood, in order to accept or negotiate a lease agreement with a real estate agent, property manager, or owner. Discuss, and indicate within the lease, conditions that encompass potential modifications to suit business operations. Inquire as to future options for renewing the lease. Check for, and, if not, request that a renewal clause will be an inclusion within the agreement.
  6. Determine the coffee shop’s bill of fare. The serviceable scope for a coffee shop can consists of an establishment that serves coffee drinks and light beverages, a small cafe serving a modest food or pastry-type fare with light beverages and coffee drinks, and up to a full restaurant. Financial base, location, space, operator or owner experience, preference, and potential customer base, are among factors that will decide the coffee shop’s bill of fare for a menu.
  7. Bill of fare dictates equipment needs, food and beverage product, and service wares. In order to accommodate a menu’s offerings, specific kitchen appliances and culinary tools are necessary. Fulfilling the fare of a coffee shop requires consistent provision sources for accessible and available beverage and food items. A menu’s fare designates requirements for the types and pieces of tableware to produce appropriate service.   
  8. Select a decor that is conducive to the coffee shop’s environment, service type, and bill of fare. Location, target customer market, service area within the establishment’s space, and cuisine, are factors that will aid towards designing a coffee shop’s decorative theme.
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