What are some things I should know before starting a coffee shop?

What are some things I should know before starting a coffee shop?

You can check the answer of the people under the question at Quora “what to know before opening a coffee shop

0 thoughts on “What are some things I should know before starting a coffee shop?”

  1. My wife runs a restaurant and a bakery in USA. Several of my friends and cousins have coffee shops, restaurants, franchises etc… in India and USA. So, I have some experience with hospitality businesses. Hospitality industry looks very glamorous from outside. But, it’s very messy and tough from inside.
    Most businesses fail. Only a fraction of businesses succeed. Even those successful entrepreneurs have to make lot of sacrifices to achieve success.
    My intention is not to discourage you from starting a business. But, you need to seriously think about the following questions and need to have very good answers before you start any business. So, here are the questions:
    Why am I (among million other people) the best person to start this business? What do I bring to the table?
    What is my secret sauce? Why should customers come to my shop instead of the one around the corner?
    Starting a business needs money. Most businesses take a while to become profitable. So, you need money for running operations (OpEx) apart from initial investment (CapEx). Can I keep on feeding the business until it succeeds.
    What if the business fails? What is exit strategy?
    Can I spend 12 hours a day and 7 days a week on business until operations are streamlined. Sometimes, this might take years.
    How about my other responsibilities? family, wife, kids, expenses to run home etc…?
    Can I manage workers? Hospitality industry has very high employee turnover.
    Can I operate under stress? Running a business is stressful in best of circumstances. I am not even talking about worst of circumstances.
    You don’t need to read further if you don’t have good answers for the above questions. Congratulations if you do have good answers. You might be the right person to start this business.
    For any business, you need to execute well on many fronts like, product offerings, service, ambiance, customer experience, marketing, people management, logistics, inventory etc… Coffee shop is all about experience. You need to create positive vibe.
    Location is extremely important for hospitality business. DO NOT rush. Gather information about traffic flows, demographics, customer spending power, competition etc… in the target locations. Get sales, profit and loss information of similar businesses in that area if possible. Be resourceful.
    Learn as much as possible before you start the business. Learning on the business could be costly. Work in a well run coffee shop for a couple of months if you can to learn about running the business, best practices, issues that can arise etc… Read a couple of good books on running hospitality business.
    Finally, Here are the two most important things you should do before you start executing on it:
    Find a mentor your trust who has run a similar business successfully. Meet/call regularly to discuss your business issues, aspirations, fears etc…
    Have a growth mindset . Constantly work on doing things little better today than yesterday. Apply this to every aspect of your business.
    All the best.

  2. If you are no different than any other independent shop, then you will fail….Foo Foo Music, Coffee Coffee, Same Muffins, Same Décor is nothing Special….I can get that at any other Shop…..Make your shop desirable….Screw the High Cost Specialty Coffees….A waste of money….Why, because its a niche….You spend 20 bucks+ a pound for a Vietnamese coffee (Which is Good) to one in a thousand Customers times 20 other brands and you will throw out most of it…Wasted money…..
    Have a theme, Spend money marketing your Store (TV Exposure, BillBoards, Mailers) etc….Hire your local College kid majoring in marketing….Put him to work….Make it simple and workable…..Look at In and out….Minimal Menu….Minimal menu, but the right menu….Putting out Costco Muffins and Scones like any other place is old hat….Be creative…Be creative…How about making your own Pastries (Cinnamon Rolls, Sticky Buns, Monkey Bread, etc.) Be different….

  3. Well if you don’t want to join the ranks of those who succumb to the siren’s call to own a quaint/perfect/life-style coffee shop, only to find that you have been enticed onto the rocks of business failure, then here are three important points to consider before you start:

    1. Primarily, that the experience of owning and running a coffee shop is nothing like the romantic and relaxed experience you may have felt as a customer. Having owned and managed 15 coffee shops myself, here is what I experienced when owning/running a coffee shop [ https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-own-run-a-coffee-shop-Whats-your-lifestyle-like-How-many-hours-do-you-put-in-How-many-employees-do-you-have-How-much-profit-does-the-shop-make-and-how-much-did-you-initially-invest-in-it/answer/Peter-Baskerville ].
    2. Secondly, only a small percentage of coffee shops succeed in reaching a sustainable Return On Investment (ROI) by generally following this advice What’s the secret to a successful coffee shop? [ https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-secret-to-a-successful-coffee-shop/answer/Peter-Baskerville ] while many fail for reasons outlined here Why do most café startups fail? [ https://www.quora.com/Why-do-most-café-startups-fail/answer/Peter-Baskerville ]
    3. Finally, the breath and depth of knowledge and skill required to build the infrastructure, design and deliver a consistent high-quality product, establish a solid repeating and referring client base, manage the resources and operational systems and extract a sustainable profit … is far greater than you think. These 150+ answers to questions on Quora may be a great place to identify and reflect on those skills – What you should know about coffee and cafes. [ https://www.quora.com/ ]

    To the inexperienced, everything looks easy and the familiarity that people have with coffee shops reinforces this wrong assumption causing many a business fatality in execution.
    The truth is that starting and managing a financially sustainable coffee shop is not simple – far from it. It’s not a matter of simply executing the 3, 5 or 10 keys to success, it’s more like making sure that the vast majority of the 10,000 decisions that you need to make between now and a financially sustainability business, are the correct ones. So if you have never done this before, find someone who has, to be your mentor, coach or partner in your first endeavour.
    After 15, I eventually mastered the art of starting and managing financially sustainable coffee shops, but not before some early failures. I teach a ‘Start your own business’ course and if possible I try an talk first time participants out of starting a coffee shop because of the low possibility of success for the inexperienced and encourage them instead to find an opportunity in the emerging online space where ‘affordable loss’ is more manageable for newbies.
    If they still insist on pressing on, then I explain to them the challenges they must face like:

    * Getting the right site is very difficult – you will compete with national chains for good sites, landlords don’t like the intrusive nature of food businesses, the site may need major upgrade to the electrical supply, trade waste connections and ventilation systems and the dimensions may be wrong for a successful outcome (e.g. width of street frontage)
    * Compliance with the requirements of local and state authorities is critical, thorough, time consuming and costly. Given the public risk of food safety, coffee shops attract significant attention by these authorities.
    * Fittout budgets can be blown away in no time with hidden costs like havi…

  4. Set goals for yourself / Short term and long term
    Pick a location carefully / Location can mean everything
    Make sure you know your competition
    Make sure you know who are your potential customers and how will you cater to them. Do not have an ‘expensive’ menu in a low-income neighborhood.
    Learn what your competition does well and what they can improve on. Identify what you will be able to do well (do not say everything, thats impossible) and know what your weakness will be.
    Find something to offer that your competitors can’t.
    List/Understand all the things that are a MUST for you to succeed.
    Create/Identify variables you will over that will be of value to customers.
    How will you market?
    Plan out your financials in detail.
    Network with local business, organizations, schools, etc.
    Most important, plan, plan plan! Be ready to work, work, work!

  5. business management
    the roasting and picking of coffee beans as well as preparation
    your consumer demographics
    stock trading
    interior design
    I’m for sure not saying you have to go to school for any of these things since it would be a lot and probably a waste of money that could actually be put forth towards your new business venture. But I recommend reading up on the following and making yourself more comfortable with them before jumping head first into the deep end. Good luck and send samples once you’ve started! I’d love to try it and boost your brand 🙂

  6. Coffee is a high mark-up consumable good that varies drastically in quality based on the following

    1.) Preparation – how often and thorough do you clean the equipment? How often to do you change out the brews? For example: Starbucks change out their brews every hour in order to maintain consistent flavors vs a 7Eleven, which will cook the coffee until the end of the day or the pot is dry.

    2.) Access to good ingredients. It’s a heavily-harvested crop grown mainly in under-developed nations that are dealing with climate change and oftentimes un-reliable infrastructure and governments. You’re going to get good beans one year, and then maybe have to pivot when those beans aren’t available. Or when they’re now 30% more than they were a year before. How do your price your product when the costs vary drastically? How do you maintain consistency in quality if the ingredients are unavailable?

    3.) The name of the game is consistency in quality and product. This is an output from the mechanization of the 20th century. Basically, a Starbucks in Texas is a Starbucks in London; same with McDonalds in Italy or Hong Kong.

  7. Do you want your place to be a grab and go kind of place or a sit and lounge kind of place?
    What would help you make money in either situation?
    Are you a drip coffee focused shop or an espresso focused shop?
    Maybe a snack and a drink type shop?
    What makes you better or different than your competition?
    How do you advertise?

  8. In starting a coffee shop, there are three main considerations you have to bear in mind:
    • Capital. This must enough to sustain this type of business.
    • Location. Be careful in choosing where your cafe should be located. Is this place accessible? pleasing? lucrative?
    • Product. Make your products set you apart from other coffee shops. Offer something new that others don’t. Branding should also be developed -unique paper cups & napkins can also be a way.

  9. The very first thing you do before making any big step is the Planning . So here also the first step is to create a business plan .
    Make a business overview for you cafe, which will include a complete sight of Menu, design of your cafe and the management team.
    You must know your competitor and your audience. So industry analysis is another imperative aspect. You have to find a location accordingly.
    Next is the SWOT analysis that is the detailed study of Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats you might encounter in your journey. So for all this, you need to be prepared in advance.
    Also you need to focus on the operation plan of your cafe i.e everything involved in operating your cafe right from equipment to the staff. You must provide training to your staff to bring out best out of them.
    Well! this one is the base for your cafe. All is happening because of this. Financial analysis is the key to your smooth working. You must have knowledge and understanding of money coming into your cafe and where is it going in operations and others things.
    After all this, last thing you need to do is the marketing . This forms a ladder for the success of your cafe. So follow both online and offline marketing channels to create awareness of your brand to attract crowd.
    Apart from your plan, things mentioned below are must.
    Location and space.
    Equipment and Raw material.
    Restaurant POS system.
    For a detailed plan you can read this blog : https://www.posist.com/restaurant-times/resources/cafe-business-plan.html

  10. I was about to invest in a coffee shop and a few friends that worked at a coffee shop and owns that business suggested what follows:
    Learn or hire someone that knows of different types of roasts, flavors, seeds, not only fron coffee but also from Tea.
    Learn, hire or outsource to have delicious desserts, they will attract customers even if they don’t like coffee that much.
    Find/hire/train people with great customer service.
    Get creative and make it as noticeable as possible your added value; and know why customers are going to choose you.
    Get deep on business management not only on software but also on people.

    Eight O’Clock

  11. I did this in 2010. It was fun. We built it up just a bit & sold it a year later to a larger regional roaster, made some but not much money. I’m sure there’s more, but here’s what I can remember I learned.
    You have to sell A LOT of coffee to make any money.
    You’re subject to the market for your cost of goods. This can be awesome or it can suck. As a small roaster there’s not a lot you can do to hedge your risk.
    You are always competing on price. ALWAYS, even if you’re super high quality.
    Regardless of the above you should focus on quality and message that to everyone.
    Quality has more to do with where you buy your beans than how you roast them.
    You have to seriously pound the pavement to make sales. No one cares about your new coffee company.
    Regardless of the above, people appreciate locally roasted coffee above other options.
    If you sell to restaurants it helps to offer some perks like high end coffee grinders or good coffee makers, French presses, etc.


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  13. The biggest thing you need to do is evaluate what the goal for you is with opening a coffee shop.
    This might sound silly, but if you said I want to open a hedge fund it would be pretty clear that your goal is to make as much money as possible.
    Things are not so clear when it comes to opening a coffee shop.

    Maybe you are looking to retire and simply love coffee
    Maybe you want to make the absolute best cup of coffee
    Maybe you want to create the most comfortable and coolest coffee shop in your city
    Maybe you want a spot to hang out with your friends and meet new people
    Maybe you want to make the most money.

    Some of the above things may not go together as much as you might think. For example, lets say you make the worlds absolute greatest cup of coffee but it takes you 5 minutes to make. This would probably not be the most profitable business model because you could only serve 12 customers per hour per employee.
    Before you go any further, really ask yourself what is the goal of this business. Is it money, is it social, is it enjoyment of coffee or coffee shops. Once you properly evaluate what your goals are, then look to take steps forward to start to accomplish your goals.

  14. Some great answers have been given for this question. I just wanted to add on thing: research.
    Not the standard over-the-desk-take-note-from-the-internet type shindig, go out and visit all your local coffee stores.
    Buy a coffee in each one, sit down and study them.
    How many people are coming in per hour? What’s makes them popular or not? Whats their pricing like where are they located? What the pricing like in relation to where they are located? What is their customer demographic?
    Once you have figured out what makes them great or not, you can now figure out what you are going to adopt into your business plan and how you are going stand out from them and make a name for your business.
    As a customer, I have no brand loyality when it comes to coffee shops, I just know that in a certain area, only coffee from a specific shop will do. 🙂
    Look at me ramble on.
    All the best.

    What are some things I should know before starting a coffee shop?

  15. I am a novice in the café field. Is it possible for some one among our worthy viewers/users to enlighten me on the ways and means to initiate the process. For example what is the first step? How much investment is needed. Can I do the business on my own or do I need employees/Consultant and if so how costly are they. Do I need a shop/premises or will I get a running café to take over. I shall appreciate an early response.

  16. Coffee Shops are something which your friend will never stop visiting. So, beware when it comes to billing your friends. To avoid this, Indian Shopkeepers uses some notices/ placard in their shops so that they can politely refuse any credit to their friends and families, here are some example along with translations in English-

    1. Aaj nagad kal udhaar
    Translation: Cash Today, Credit Tomorrow

    2. Kripya in shabdon ka praog na karein, ( kindly, don’t use these sentences )

    Jaante nahin ko kya
    Translation: Don’t you know me?

    Kal le lena
    Translation: Will pay you tomorrow!

    Hisaab mein likh le lena
    Translation: Mark it in your books!

    3. Udhaar Pyaar ki Kainchi hai
    Translation: Credit is injurious to relationship

    Though this sounds funny, but you can actually see these signs in all the Indian Shopkeeper’s shop.

    Victor Allen’s

  17. I don’t own a coffee shop, so I myself can’t give you 5, but I’ll throw 2 at you that I would look for in finding a new shop to drink at.
    What’s in demand in the area you are planning to open up shop? A successful business carries the items its potential clientele would desire.
    Are you also regularly testing out newer drinks to see if they’ll catch on with your customers. I’ve been dying to try the jet black coffee beverages getting popular right now. They capitalize on the activated charcoal trend that is hot right now, but they just look really cool. No shops near my have them though, so I’ve recently ordered some activated charcoal and I’ll be whipping up my own to try them out.

  18. Permits and building codes requirements.
    Equipment and all things needed to work it
    Laws, taxes and employer requirements etc.
    Lastly your product and recipes procedures systems etc.
    There is many things that will have to be well planned before even starting the process to avoid mistakes that may kill the dream before it even starts. A good name /brand and marketing is crucial too in other to generate sales as soon as you open. You wouldn’t want to open up and realize there is 0 sales.


  19. As a coffee lover… from Colombia. I must say about coffee shops… good service and good enviroment are necessary not only to your customers to feel comfortable, also, to enjoy all the coffee culture which is immerse in each cup.
    Hire the best baristas you can find, Starbucks has a big problem due their black coffee is pretty bad, but their brand is pretty huge (Oh god, I love MKT).
    Focus on quality. Focus on loyalty. Focus on what do you want to show to your customers, and also…
    If you cannot offer something the other coffee shops cannot offer, then make your customers happier while being at your place.

  20. The most important aspect of any business is the customer experience. When New Creations Coffee opened on the highway near me, I ordered a Latte on 2 separate occasions, and both times, I had the same experience: The coffee was not hot enough, and the milk had a rotten-esque after taste.
    Brand did not matter very much. Price did not matter too much. Cleanliness mattered only a little. The only thing that really mattered was quality of the coffee itself.
    The shop should have asked me to write my brutal, anonymous opinion on a piece of paper provided. New Creations Coffee folded after only 1 year.



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