There are different ways to start a coffee shop. You can own a coffee shop either through buying an existing business, buying a franchise, or by making a fresh start. Whichever way you go, you’ll be sure to own one. In this article, however, we will discuss at great lengths how to possess a coffee shop from scratch. Here’s how:
1. Develop a Workable Business Plan
A business plan is a strategic tool for entrepreneurs. A feasible business plan should help you in making sound decisions, and identifying your weaknesses. In addition to this, it will also contain the name of the business, its structure, targeted customers, competitors, marketing strategy, and sources of financing amongst others. In a nutshell, it needs to be clear, specific, and realistic.
You also need to ensure that the implementation part of your plan is clearly explained in a way that fits the needs of your business. This is where you need to decide whether you’ll just be a stationary coffee shop or you’ll include delivery services. As a matter of fact, this great service delivery system can help elevate your coffee business in so many ways than you can imagine. The best thing about a delivery service system is that it will help to market your brand. In addition to this, it’s profitable, has minimal operating costs, and it’s simple and convenient. However, there are various factors you’ll have to consider when starting an in-house delivery service. These include:
- The menus offered
- The type of technology to utilize and boosts sales such as transportation or mobile apps
- Employee training
- Operational costs
2. Choose an Appropriate Location
The number one rule for establishing a coffee shop is where it is located. Choosing the right location will help to expose your business, thus making it more accessible to your target market. You’ll also be able to attract the best talents in terms of employees.
Among the considerations to be factored in when choosing your location can include accessibility, availability of parking spaces, and the seating area. Areas near office parks, business districts, libraries, bookstores, games stores, gym and fitness centers, and spas are perfect strategic locations for a coffee shop.
3. Market Research and Branding
Market research will help you understand how the coffee industry operates. You will be able to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). The information gathered will be vital in your operations. You’ll also need to come up with a brand name. Ensure that your brand is unique and easily identifiable.
4. Obtain The Relevant Business Licenses and Permits
Each state has its laws regarding business licenses and business registration. But to operate legally, you must register your business with the local authority (city or county) to obtain the relevant licenses and permits. Since coffee falls in the category of food, you will need a health license. A certificate of occupancy and permits for land will also come in handy. Other licenses may include music licenses for playing recorded music and a signboard license for signage.
5. Acquire the Needed Equipment and Fittings
After you’ve registered your business and obtained the relevant permits and licenses, it’s now time to roll up the sleeves. You must fit your kitchen and the service area with the right coffee equipment. You can either buy new or used. But it’s always best when starting, to start your operations with new equipment. If you’re short on funds, you can always consider an equipment financing option. Ideally, you can always start with just the basic coffee equipment, then stock up as you go. Some of the tools you might need include an automatic drip coffee maker, industrial coffee grinder, high-quality espresso machine, refrigerators, and ovens and toasters (for making snacks). Something else, do not forget to invest in an inventory control system and a point of sale (POS) machine. These will make a huge difference in managing both your inventory and finances.
6. Find Qualified Staff, Vendors, and Suppliers
Choose reliable vendors and suppliers who’ll provide you quality coffee. Quality is an effective marketing tool that will help to boost your brand. When it comes to coffee, not all coffee is good coffee. Find vendors who know their coffee. You also need to conduct extensive research on how to source for the raw materials needed in your coffee shop. Hiring qualified staff will raise the standard of service delivery. Quality service increases the number of customers and improves customer retention.
When done right, opening a coffee shop is among the ways you can improve your economic status. But it’s not as easy as it may sound and if you talk to Starbucks owners, they tell you that it’s been quite a long journey to get to where they are. The above pointers will help you get started, but it’s for you to put in the work. That’s the only way to guarantee success; hard work, commitment, and perseverance.