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Go Big or Go Home: How to Start a Coffee Shop

People who love coffee really love coffee. And lucky for most coffee purveyors and sellers, that includes over half the country. 

Such a huge market may have you thinking about opening a coffee shop of your own. After all, quaint and comfortable coffee shops are one of our collective favorite places to escape to. Who doesn’t like people watching out the window with a cup of joe in hand? 

But the reality of opening a coffee shop might be more difficult than you imagine. It’s important that you arm yourself with the right knowledge going into the process. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to start a coffee shop. 

Where Does The Money Go? 

Starting any kind of business requires a certain amount of start-up fees, and opening a coffee shop is no different. Depending on how much cash you have on hand, you may need to take out a number of business loans to be able to afford the cost of getting into the business. 

It takes money to make money, as they say. 

But what does that money go towards? First and foremost: the space itself. Rent, construction, design, and insurance will take up a bulk of your expenses. Depending on the location and size of your shop, these costs may vary. But no matter what your situation, the space will likely be one of your biggest costs. 

You’ll also need to budget for the legal fees, licensing, and paperwork involved with setting up a new business. 

Those costs combined will get your doors open, but you won’t be open for long without supplies, employees, or advertising. Factor in the cost of coffee beans, equipment mugs, and all other assorted supply needs. Determine your hours so you can figure out how much you’ll need to spend on payroll. And don’t forget that most customers will be expecting wifi.

And don’t forget to factor in how much of your profit will go to taxes. Seem like a lot? It probably is. If you’re still gung-ho about opening a coffee shop after reaching that total, that’s probably good news: you’re in it for the right reasons. Keep reading. 

Get Knowledgable About Coffee

Maybe you’re opening a coffee shop because you’re a java freak and already know all there is to know about the brown stuff. Maybe. But if you’re not already well-versed in coffee lore, it’s time to start learning. 

Coffee is, after all, a complex beverage. There are 1000 flavonoids that make up the taste of coffee, and any change in combo can create a different taste and texture. There are many different roasting profiles, blends, and types of bean. 

Coffee customers know their stuff, or at least many of them do. The last thing you want is your customer to be able to upstage your knowledge of your own product. Not being able to answer their questions or get them what they need can be a surefire way to ensure they don’t come back to your shop. 

So if you’re planning on opening a coffee shop, make sure you do your research on the product. This useful page can help elaborate more. 

Get The Right Equipment

There are so many different ways to brew coffee and so many caffeinated drinks that one can make. Not all coffee shops will have the same tools, equipment, and menu on hand. 

But there are certain expectations almost any coffee drinker will have when coming to your store. You’ll need to make sure you have at least the most basic equipment. That means getting an espresso machine, espresso grinder, coffee brewer, and coffee grinder. 

There are many different kinds of espresso makers out on the market. Super automatic machines make coffee at the touch of a button, semi-automatic ones require a bit more of the human touch. 

Most coffee shops use semi-automatic machines. Customers like to see their coffee drinks made in front of them. Establishments like McDonald’s use automatic machines. Customers are likely to be a bit less impressed with your quality if you use an automatic machine. 

When purchasing these goods, it’s important to purchase top of the line goods. Customers can instantly spot a cheap brewer or espresso machine, and they’re likely to turn their business to somewhere better. The last thing you want to skimp out on when budgeting is the coffee equipment itself. 

Build Your Menu 

Choosing what you serve at your coffee shop can be one of the most important business decisions you make. Without knowing your menu, it’ll be difficult to budget and plan for your equipment needs. It’ll be difficult to understand the scope of the project that you’re taking on. 

Visit other coffee shops in town and take note of the similarities and differences in their menus. Like it or not, these establishments are who your customers will be comparing you to.

See what seems popular and what is more of a specialty item. Note prices, and see how much consumers seem comfortable spending on various drinks. 

Outside of coffee, begin to determine what other items you might sell. Will you provide other beverages, like juices or teas? What about snacks? Many coffee shops offer pastries or even have a kitchen that makes sandwiches and other items. 

As you can see, building your menu can be exciting and essential. Without knowing exactly what you’re selling, you won’t know what steps you need to take to get up and running. 

How To Start A Coffee Shop

It can be hard to know how to start a coffee shop if you’re just starting the process. The above tips can give you a great starting point to work from when opening your new shop. 

Need more business advice? Check out our blog for more.