Key Points to Consider When Opening a Coffee Shop

Key Points to Consider When Opening a Coffee Shop

When considering opening a coffee shop, it is important to consider both why some coffee shop startups fail as well as why others succeed. Starting a coffee shop business is not as simple as showing up and serving an excellent cup of coffee or as simple as putting eye-catching brand and marketing materials together. The truth is, there is no one single secret or ingredient that will help a coffee shop startup achieve success. There are multiple factors to carefully consider in the planning phase of starting a coffee shop, and here are just a few:

Delivering a consistent product to your customer base – How often do you come across a product that is delivered 100% consistently? Your answer is likely to be “rarely” or “never” as it is a challenging task for any product to be delivered to its customers with 100% quality consistency, but with coffee, the extra effort into ensuring a consistently high quality product can be the point that drives your coffee shop startup to success versus failure. Research indicates that customers will bypass a dozen competitors to get to what they consider the best cup of coffee or espresso. For new coffee shops, offering high quality coffee that is absolutely consistent at all times, can also mean that you don’t need to worry about having the most visible and expensive location for your coffee shop startup, as industry data indicates that consumers will go out of their way to get to their preferred coffee shop. Making a consistently high quality cup of coffee means investing in the right equipment, installing a water purifier, using the proper grinder, using top quality coffee beans, and ensuring the person or persons serving the coffee are well trained.

Workstation layout – Another important point to consider is in the layout of your new coffee shop, so that the barista has enough space to perform their duties and is not having to walk back and forth and/or compete with space with other staff members. This is crucial in achieving high volume sales. Things to consider when laying out the work station design are: storage bins for beans and other supplies, access to cups, grinder and accessories, inbuilt sink for cleaning, cash register, and any necessary drive thru equipment, if your shop will offer a drive thru service.

Additional products – A successful coffee shop will need to rely on offering other items to go along with the coffee. Items such as muffins, cookies, cakes, as well as some hot and cold food items and some cold drinks are traditionally offered at coffee shops. Though coffee is the primary focus and the motivation to get the customers to your shop, cross-selling other items to go along with the coffee is key to a financially successful coffee shop.

Loyalty cards for return customers – A card that allows the customer to get a free cup of coffee after a set number of visits is a great way to thank customers for their loyalty.

Offer a variety, but don’t go overboard. Limiting the assortment gives your customers a few choices to select from, without giving too wide of an offering that it actually stresses the customer out to make a decision and also makes it more difficult for you and your staff to manage all of the options offered.

Other points to consider in opening a coffee shop:

• Pricing: Determine pricing according to your market and what you believe your customers will perceive is the value of your product, versus determining some across the board markup for all items.
• Marketing: Carefully determine how you will get customers to first try your product and also a plan to keep them returning for more, as well as telling their family and friends about your coffee shop.
• Drive thru service: The average drive-thru performs the majority of business at a QSR. Of course, the type of food and location (urban vs. rural) make a difference on this, but data tells the story of a society that prefers to stay in their cars. It is both to the customer’s advantage and you, the restaurant owner, to employ a drive-thru.

These are just a few points to consider in the planning phase of starting a coffee shop. A great way for you, as the owner, to engage with your customer base, is to serve your customers. The coffee shop business is very much a people and service business and being a present owner could prove to be beneficial in engaging with customers and boosting the staff, as well as give you a clear perspective of how the business is being run day to day and what improvements can be made to achieve the greatest level of success.