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Fresh Ideas and Useful Tips for Starting a Coffee Shop

Most people like to start their day with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. In fact, 68 percent of coffee drinkers have a cup within the first hour of waking up. It’s not an improbable speculation to make that the US population makes up for 100 million coffee drinkers. Needless to say, the industry is booming. When passing by any busy coffee shop, you will notice that it is packed with customers enjoying different types of coffee along with a variety of pastries. Serving quality coffee and snacks in a relaxing yet trendy atmosphere has been a business model pioneered by Starbucks that many other coffee houses are adapting. If you are thinking about expressing your love for coffee with your entrepreneurial spirit, this is a perfect opportunity for opening up a coffee shop.

Coffee Shop Business Plan: Helpful Tips

Creating a detailed coffee shop business shop plan is a step towards running a successful coffee shop. Learning how to start a coffee shop takes a lot of thought, skill, and commitment. Your business plan should explicitly outline the nature of your business, your goals, how profitable it should be the definition of your customer base, your competition, plans for growth and troubleshooting strategies. Before you begin to devise a traditional, long-term business plan which requires you to seek funding from a bank, a one-page pitch allows you to validate your business idea and gives you a good sense of who your market it in a short matter of time. Through this method, you can reach out to your target audience and look for creative ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Hence, this process is a much faster and more efficient way to plan your coffee shop business.

Finding the Right Location

What makes a coffee shop very popular? For starters, coffee shops are great places to socialize. According to statistics, they are the most popular spots to meet friends. Coffee shops are also preferred among individuals who are looking to pass time by reading a book, studying for an exam, or surfing a web over a snack or a cup of coffee. A lot of people choose a coffee bar as a venue to conduct informal business meetings. Taking all of that into consideration, finding a great location is evidently crucial to attracting customers. If you are franchising, buying an existing business, or opening a coffee shop of your very own, some research should be put into the location whether it has been preselected or not.

Sometimes, the most central locations are not always the best spots you should select to start your coffee shop business. Malls and other high traffic sites tend to have the highest rents with very little space and the most competition. Storefronts, however, offer more in a way of higher visibility, lower rent, flexibility in business hours, and a sufficient amount of space to configure and implement your layout design.

Living Up to Your Customers’ Expectations

For many coffee drinkers, the experience is not only defined by the mug they drink their coffee from. Nor is it the teabag in their foam cups. The quality of the products in which you serve your customers sets the tone for your business. A report from the Specialty Coffee Associations of America shows that 37 percent of coffee sold is of specialty variety. Specialty coffees make up for more than 50 percent of retail value of the coffee market in America. Given the standards that (self-proclaimed) connoisseurs set for quality in their drinks, there is very little chance and hope for your business to thrive unless you meet their expectations by serving them the best regular and specialty coffee, teas and snacks you can offer. If you succeed in this area, customers are more likely to choose your shop over that of your competitors, regardless of whether it is centrally located or not. This means you will need to comprise a coffee shop equipment list of:

  • Source of the finest coffee beans.
  • High quality espresso machine and related equipment such as grinders, water purifiers, etc.
  • Fresh pastries and snacks every single day.
  • Trained and experienced staff
  • Menu that features a great selection of pastries, snacks and healthy options.
  • Innovative products such as Frappucinos, Chai Lattes, or even your own specialty

Consistency is key to a successful business but raising your standards and incorporating some creativity into your products will always be appreciated.

Providing Great Customer Service

Excellent customer service is irrefutably the hallmark of success in any business – most especially in the food industry. With a combination of a great location, top quality products, well thought-out design, and service, your chances of success are very high. In a survey, 4 out of 5 guests have ranked customer service as very important. Starbucks attributes its success to their professional and efficient service. Being the one of the most prosperous coffee shops, Starbucks utilizes its counter service with restaurant bar stools and having customers order and pay upfront for their order. This method reduces labor costs and enables you to handle busy hours at breakfast and lunch.

Table service is another option though it is generally slower, more labor intensive and therefore better suited for venues where patrons order full meals. For such establishments, tables and restaurant booths are the most sensible choices for furniture, especially if you want customers to spend more time at your coffee shop. The advantage that table service provides is that it gives more opportunity to upsell desserts and other snacks to your customers. With an illustrative seating capacity guide in place, you are able to accommodate single customers as well as groups in different sizes.

Creating the Ideal Ambiance

Rustic restaurant decor

In addition to customer service, most people believe that ambiance is one of the biggest attractions in a coffee shop. Having the right atmosphere is paramount to drawing customers that are looking for a place to hangout, socialize, or hold business meetings over some coffee and pastries to nibble on. The ideal coffee shop decor is clean and bright with plenty of natural colors and comfortable commercial furniture. Premises lighting is important to have on dull days and in the evenings. Having an outdoor patio space for customers to dine at when the weather allows can increase the visibility of your business.

Unless you are a pro, you should consider using an experienced and reputable professional to design the interior of your establishment. An interior decorator will help you achieve the distinctive and personalized atmosphere you want to create for your customers. This project entails all design elements ranging from layout, furniture, decorations, motifs, lighting to flooring. Ultimately, your business decisions should be based on what the customers want or need. People will support your establishment if they have a pleasurable experience.

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