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6 Tips to Opening a Successful Coffee Shop

Starting any business can be a daunting prospect as many fail in the first year of trading, however, this shouldn’t discourage you, as there are a few simple tips for you follow to give your shop the highest chance of becoming profitable early in the venture. We have highlighted six critical areas that will help you on the road to becoming a successful coffee shop owner.

Create a Business Plan


As with any business start-up, you will need to create a clear business plan of what the shop will provide, who the competitors are, and goals for profitability. Most new businesses take about six months to start being profitable, so have savings set aside for personal use to cover this period. Speak with a trusted accountant who can look over your business plan and offer advice on how you should proceed.

Location, Location, Location

A coffee shop needs to rely on passing trade, which will mean your location is key to making the venture a success. Early decisions need to be made on whether you want to open in a shopping mall, a high street, near a business center or a university. Shopping malls can be expensive for rent, and you will be limited by the malls opening hours so you may be better looking at an area which has heavy foot traffic outside of these establishments. Weigh up the rent versus turnover outlook to help you decide what is suitable for your shop.

Interior Design and Floor Plan

Expert advice is essential when you start to develop a floor plan and design the interior of your shop. Coffee shops are places where people want to relax in comfortable surroundings where they can chat with friends and colleagues. Your floor plan should make it easy for customers to enter, queue, and sit at a table without the need to bump into others or clog up a walkway. You can even create floor plans online, but you should ideally get a professional to point out some of the best practices of retail shops.

Use the Best Products


Tastes in coffee and tea have changed over the past twenty years, and customers no longer want a standard cup of joe. You need to make your coffee stand out from the crowd, and the best way to achieve that is by using specialty coffee beans, as the demand for higher quality coffee is continuing to grow. It is wise to grind the beans in-house, so your customers know that you are a quality coffee shop, you will need to source the best coffee grinders which can show off your product and grind the beans as you desire. And, of course, we cannot forget the actual coffee machine itself. Here you have quite a bit of playroom, as there are many different brands on the market tailored to suit all budgets (with options of leasing, as well). Going with the experience of the Italians, you have brands like La Marzocco or La Pavoni which provide machines that not only brew fantastic coffee, but are also a mechanical work of art. And once you have such a machine in your shop you want to make sure that it’s used by qualified and skilled baristas.

Great Staff and Training

All your staff should be experienced in working with customers and be well trained in their job role. The team is the face of your business so you should put maximum effort into preparing them to use all the machines and ensure they are proud to work there.

This will help to get all staff pulling in the same direction and ensuring your customers don’t just get a cup of coffee, they get an experience. Look into the various programs available for training baristas and all your staff in health and hygiene practices. The staff is the heartbeat of your business, don’t spare expense or time in helping them be the best they can be.

Offer Additional Products


As any retail outlet will tell you, impulse buys can be the lifeblood of their shop. This is especially true with brick & mortar stores on the high street or in a shopping center. Customers may enter only to buy coffee, but you should offer a range of cakes, cookies, and pastries so they can get a quick bite to eat while having a cuppa. Speak with a local bakery as they will be able to supply you with freshly baked local produce that will keep the artisan feel of your shop while earning you extra money in the process. Using local suppliers will keep your expenditure down while still being able to offer great products to compliment your coffee selection.

Many factors determine whether a business will thrive, and you should speak with shop owners in the area you are looking to start to get a feel for what shops are needed and how much passing traffic you can expect. Don’t rush into signing lease agreements until you have thoroughly investigated all your options. Coffee shops can not only be profitable but also give you a great feeling of community co-operation, so take on board the tips above and start your coffee enterprise with confidence.