Coffee Shop Business Planning: Preparing Your Menu

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 1 comments

Coffee Shop Business Planning: Preparing Your Menu

Unless you’re planning to serve just coffee in your coffee shop, you’re going to need to prepare your menu. With a coffee shop business you have a lot of flexibility because if you choose to you can serve only coffee or you can turn your store into a mini coffee based restaurant. Before you open take some time to decide the main theme of your menu and it will be much easier to make the smaller adjustments as you go.

Drink Variety

Being in the coffee shop business, drinks are your main product. With so much more out there than just coffee, you can have a huge menu by offering beverages alone.

For your hot beverages you’ll be providing different size, flavor, and roast options. You’ll also have to decide what kind of extras you’ll have available such as whipped toppings, flavor shots, and artificial sweeteners. Even when it comes to milk and creams, you have different percentages of milk fat you can make available to your customers.

Cold drinks are always a fun and refreshing choice for your patrons, especially in the warmer months when a hot coffee may not be as appealing to some people. Brewing your own flavored iced teas and coffees might be a nice addition to your menu and frappes can be a tasty treat all year round.

Baked Goods

With a nice hot cup coffee, a freshly baked cinnamon bun might be just what your customer was craving. Offering a selection of cookies, muffins, pies, and other sweet treats will not only please your customer’s taste buds, it will add an undeniable level of visual appeal when displayed alluringly at your counter. Even if you don’t want to bake it all yourself, pre-made snacks are an equally delicious option.

Bigger Meals

Ready made wraps and sandwiches or freshly made soups are an excellent choice for your hungrier customers. You can have a few things pre-packaged and easy to grab or you can decide to offer full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. Even having one hot meal a day on your menu might be an option for you. Whether you keep it simple or get really creative with your menu, offering at least a few food choices can really add to your coffee shop.

Once you decide what kind of menu you’ll have you can add and remove smaller details to make it perfect as you go. Your menu may even change from season to season. What you serve will be a reflection of the type of coffee shop you have so be sure to put some thought into it and stay open to customer and employee feedback to get it just right.

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere for Your Coffee Shop Business

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 1 comments

Create a Relaxing Atmosphere for Your Coffee Shop Business Decor

Planning Your Coffee Shop Business Decor

Although people may go to their favorite coffee shop for a variety of reasons, the coffee shop decor sets the tone for their visit. They may choose to socialize with friends, work on a laptop, grab a quick coffee to go, or just to sit and relax. The ambiance your shop offers can affect the number of customers who are drawn into your shop. If someone is looking for a quiet and cozy place to read a book with their fresh cup of cocoa or study with a hot latte, there are a few factors to keep in mind in order to make your shop the right place for them.

Choosing Your Color Scheme

If you’d like to give your coffee shop business a quiet and calming personality, sticking to a muted or earthy color scheme could help you out. A shop with stark, sterile whites or bright and festive blues, reds, and yellows may not give your business the right setting for relaxation. Shades that are darker or paler are a good place to start, but keeping everything in your shop to a hue that’s easy on the eyes will have the biggest effect on your atmosphere. Also, sticking to one general theme can be less visually hectic.

Comfortable Furniture

For a lounge type of design, the kind of furniture you decide on will be very important. You will probably want to keep a few standard tables and chair sets as an option, but focusing on couches, armchairs, and coffee tables will put the easy going ambiance on the right path. Comfort will be a priority, so try sticking to soft furniture rather than anything too stiff.

Lighting Techniques

Dimmer lighting has always been a key factor in setting a mood. Your baristas will still need a well-lit workspace and you may want to keep a few areas brighter for your customers who would like to work while they relax, but playing around with your lighting effects can have a huge impact on the feel of your coffee shop.

Coffee Shop Aroma

Inviting aromas have always had a major affect on people, and the scent of rich coffee and baked goods are no exception. Adding to the natural scent of your coffee shop without creating an overpowering fragrance will not only lure people in, but could increase sales from your pastry display. Whether you have an oven on site to make freshly baked goods or you add some artificial air fresheners to your shop, appealing to all of your customers five senses will perfect your ambiance.

Putting a general theme together can create a unified atmosphere in your coffee shop. It may not always be possible to maintain a bright business-like atmosphere while nourishing a warm and cozy feel at the same time, but choosing a theme and sticking to it may give your coffee shop a better overall mood and décor.

Don't just follow any business plan. Learn expert tips and strategies to start and operate a successful coffee shop business.

To Franchise or not To Franchise?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 4 comments

Should I Consider A Coffee Shop Franchise?

Looking into a coffee shop franchise may be an option for you if you want to get into the coffee business. There are a few things to think about if this is an opportunity you decide to take.


In running a coffee shop franchise, you will never be alone. The franchise company wants you to succeed because they’re invested in your shop too. You’ll have the chance to see how an established shop runs then your franchise coach will come to your store to get you set up as well.


If you’re new to the coffee shop business, the training a franchise company could be invaluable. They will educate you on the products you will be selling, ordering supplies, and how to manage your staff. This could be a huge benefit for you if you have no previous coffee shop experience.


A coffee shop franchise might already have a name people recognize. This could be excellent in encouraging more customer flow, or you could find it bothersome that you don’t have the freedom to create your own name for your shop.

Start up money

The amount of money you will need up front for a coffee shop franchise could be a deterrent for you. You will need quite a bit of start up money, and you will have additional expenses later on. It may be less expensive to open your own shop if you decide the support from a franchise may not be worth the cost.


Unless you have no interest in decision independence and personal creativity that come with owning your own shop, you may consider the regulations imposed by a franchise company a downfall. Your shop will have to look and run the same as the others in the franchise and there will be rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. Of course, each company is different and will vary in what they expect from you. If one franchise company doesn’t appeal to you, it could still be worth it to look into a few more.

A coffee shop franchise has benefits for both parties involved as you have the support of an established company while they get a percentage of the profits from your particular store. This may be a perfect opportunity for you if the guidelines of the franchise company suit your specific needs.

Can I afford To Start A Coffee Shop Business?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 1 comments

Can I afford To Start A Coffee Shop Business?

It’s a big decision to start a coffee shop business and there will be a lot of things you’ll need to consider. Start up costs are a big concern for most people and it’s important to be aware of how much you’ll be paying out before dipping your toes in deep water.


Leasing your property will be one of your biggest fees. While this may be an unavoidable cost, it doesn’t mean you can’t save money on it. A smart negotiation of your lease could get your coffee shop business started off in the right direction.


The equipment in your shop will be key to your success. High quality machines that produce excellent espresso and won’t break down on you could be what makes or breaks your new coffee shop business. You don’t want to try to save money by purchasing low quality equipment that will disappoint you later so look for the best deals and ask manufacturers about free products or machines they can supply you.


The atmosphere of your coffee shop will be determined by your interior design scheme. Just like furnishing your house, this doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, but you just need to take the time to shop around and find the right pieces for the right price. Don’t forget that you can always add to your décor later once your coffee shop business has become more established.

Other Factors To Consider:

The smaller things can be easy to overlook when you start a coffee shop, but they can certainly add up. You’ll need coffee mugs, a company logo, business cards, and so on. Your supplies can be restocked as needed once you’ve opened, but you’ll need to get your initial inventory in place for your start up.

Deals can be done with other local businesses to get some of your products for free or at a discount. Advertising might be offered though your coffee shop business as a service you’ll provide, or perhaps another business may advertise for you for something in return. If you decide you want to start a coffee shop it doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think. Don’t be afraid to ask for the best deals on your all your purchases and negotiate whenever you can to get your coffee shop business started for a lot less than you would expect.

Coffee Shop Business Mistakes

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 1 comments

5 Coffee Shop Business Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Do you want to avoid the coffee shop business mistakes that many new coffee shop owners make?

Now that you’ve decided to go ahead with the idea of owning your own coffee shop, you are ready to start outlining your coffee shop business plan, right?

Even those who have worked as an employee in the coffee industry or have other experience that may help them on their new entrepreneurial quest, still have to have a clear cut idea of what they are doing and what direction they are going in with their new venture.

Coffee Shop Business Mistakes

Here are 5 important mistakes to avoid when planning your new coffee shop business:

Mistake Number 1: Choosing A Bad Location

Even if manage to you get everything else perfectly right the first time around, setting up your coffee shop in a bad location will destroy any chances of being profitable and staying in business long term.

Be sure to research the area and be certain that there is enough demand for your products and that the location has enough of the right demographic passing through.

Mistake Number 2: Having Insufficient Capital

One of the biggest mistakes new coffee shop business owners make is underestimating the start up costs as well as the capital needed to keep them afloat for the first few months until the business catches up and starts to turn a profit. Be sure to research and plan your coffee shop business well before you start.

Mistake Number 3: Poor Quality Products

Another coffee shop business no-no is to sell poor quality products. You would think that this one would be common sense, but you would be surprised what people do when they start thinking about money and profit. Selling bad coffee and other items in your shop may work for you in the short term allowing you to turn a quicker profit on the cheap items you buy wholesale, but you will never build repeat customers – the lifeblood of a new coffee shop business.

Mistake Number 4: Poor Customer Service

Customer service is the glue that bonds you and your customers. You could have the best coffee in town, but if your customer service stinks, then you’ll never have a line up.  You absolutely need friendly staff who love to socialize and are naturally friendly to the public. Your staff also needs to be trained to take their customer service, speed, and quality control very, very seriously.

Customers often start their work day in the morning at their favorite coffee shop. How long do you think they will continue starting their day with poor customer service and a grumpy server? Don’t make this mistake with your new coffee shop business!

Mistake Number 5: Lack Of Marketing

Are you the only coffee shop in your town or city? Didn’t think so. So, that means you are going to have to have a marketing plan. Sometimes new coffee shop owners are under the impression that when the open their door, customers will come flying in automatically. It won’t happen unless you are promoting your new coffee shop business through the local media channels that reach out to your demographic on a regular basis.

It takes more than just an idea to get started. It takes solid planning and it takes ACTION!

Coffee Shop Business Plan

Monday, November 17, 2014 2 comments

Brewing Up Your Coffee Shop Business Plan

Before setting out to open your coffee shop or mobile coffee business, it’s important to start with a coffee shop business plan. But don’t worry, if the thought of creating a business plan makes your head spin, there are templates and existing business models available to help you with your planning. The most common elements to these business plans may include an executive summary, a list of your objectives, keys to your success, and your mission statement.

Your Executive Summary

Your executive summary will be a definition of your coffee shop. The type of coffee shop you intend to start, the customers you will be targeting, and the means by which you will be serving these customers will all be part of your summary. Included will also be your financial plans, such as where you will obtain your financing and what kind of projections you will expect. Square footage of your shop, location, layout, and many other shop specifics should all be included, depending on which aspects will be most important to your coffee shop business plan.
Your Objectives

The purpose of creating a list of objectives is to keep you focused on what your main goals are. This list may include your expected profit margin, the atmosphere you intend to create, customer service expectations, and your product focus. These objectives should be written down as a guideline to keep your coffee shop business plan on the right track. It will be important to maintain flexibility with your goals as markets and economies change, but keeping sight of your original goals is a proven step to a successful business.

Keys Yo Your Success

Keys to your success will be a composition of the details and steps you believe will make your business thrive. Examples of this may be the level of customer service your staff adheres to, the most effective marketing strategies to use, or the superior quality of product you choose. This list will be tailored to the type of coffee shop you plan to establish.

Your Mission Statement

Creating a mission statement will be a more personal and introspective aspect of your coffee shop business plan. Unlike your list of objectives, you will have a chance to set down the less concrete hopes you will have for your business. These may be anything from how you will affect your customer’s lives to the impact your coffee shop will have on the environment. Your mission statement is meant to guide the actions of your business.

Whether you create it as a risk assessment for a business loan, a guideline for investors, or a map to success for yourself, your coffee shop business plan will be an invaluable asset as you begin your endeavor as a business owner. Remember, if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!

Don't just follow any business plan. Learn expert tips and strategies to start and operate a successful coffee shop business.

The Right Espresso Machine

Saturday, November 15, 2014 7 comments

Choosing The Right Espresso Machine For Your Coffee Shop Business

When opening up a coffee shop business, one of the most important purchases you will have to make will be your espresso machine. This piece of equipment will get a lot of use and you need to be sure you get a quality machine that will be long-lasting, durable, and suit all of your needs.

Which espresso machine you choose will depend on what type of coffee shop you will be running and how much customer flow you will have. Here are a few things you should to know to look for when searching for the right espresso machine:

Espresso Machine Group Heads

You will have to decide if your coffee shop will need a one-group or two-group machine. Anything more than a two-group machine may be unnecessary as it isn’t likely you will have more than two shots being pulled at one time. If you want an extra machine you may also decide to purchase a one-group machine for a back up.

Machine Automation

The type of espresso machine automation you choose can greatly affect the quality of the espresso you produce. You have three options in your machine type, and there are pros and cons to each of them.

On the semi-automatic machine the steam needs to be turned off manually. The espresso shots made may not always be consistent, but you will have more control in producing higher quality shots if you have a skilled barista.

Automatic machines use an adjustable cut-off timer to turn your steam off for you. You will still need to grind and tamp the beans manually, but a much more consistent shot can be produced.

The super-automatic machines grind and tamp the beans, pull the shot, and empty the used beans. While you will always get a consistent espresso shot and much less counter mess, you may lose the visual flavor that the customers experience while watching your barista make their coffee. In terms of quality, a highly skilled barista may be less effective on a super-automatic machine.

Other Factors to Consider

Once you have decided on the type of machine you’ll need, a few other factors should be considered.

The boiler capacity of your machine will have to be sufficient to keep you going through your busiest times. An inadequate boiler capacity could leave you waiting too long for hot water and you may get some impatient customers.

You definitely need to review the warranty and repair service provided for your machine. You’re paying for an expensive piece of equipment and you need to make sure it’s working at all times. In addition,  you need to be certain that it can be fixed quickly should anything happen to it. If an extended warranty is offered it may be a good idea to take it.

The grinder hopper on your machine should be big enough to hold an ample amount of beans. Two hoppers may be something you should consider if you want one for decaf and one for regular.

Water-softener may be necessary depending on the area you live in. If you have hard water, you run the risk of a lime build up, and de-liming could become quite costly.

Choosing the right espresso machine for your coffee shop business is an extremely important decision. It can affect your budget in both the short and long term, the quality of your coffee, and satisfaction of your customers. Your specific needs will determine which machine is right for you so take your time and find that perfect machine for the best coffee possible.

Start-Up Coffee Shop Business Tips


Starting A Coffee Shop Business: Is It Right For You?

Owning a coffee shop business is a dream for many. When you combine an entrepreneurial spirit with an addiction to coffee and the love of socializing with people, a coffee shop seems like the obvious choice.

It is, on the surface.

However, there are some serious things to consider before you jump into the idea of a coffee shop business with both feet. The number one thing you must be certain of, before anything else, is whether or not running a coffee shop is the right business for you.

While traditional coffee houses were simply a place to gather and socialize while consuming coffee and other hot beverages, today’s coffee shops are considered an office for many, aka. the internet cafe.

Living the dream of the “coffee shop lifestyle” is one thing, and there are enormous advantages and it can be quite profitable, but it’s important not to underestimate the work involved. It is essential that you start out with a plan.

Coffee Shop Business Picture

Here are a few things to consider before making a 100% commitment to start a coffee shop business.

 You will need:

Time And Energy:

Many times, a former employee of a coffee shop will turn to starting their own, and having worked in the industry, they would already have an idea of the energy requirements.

It can also be very fast paced, and if you’re busy and working behind the counter yourself when you start out, you will need the stamina for long hours on your feet in a busy atmosphere.

Oftentimes, you will spend a long day at the coffee shop serving your customers, and then come home to 1 or 2 hours of doing the books and/or other organizational tasks that are needed to keep the business running smoothly.

Many people thrive on this type of commitment, especially when it is their passion, but just be prepared for it.

Patience, Confidence, and Decision Making:

Statistics show that the majority of both independent and franchise coffee shop business owners are barely scraping by on a month to month basis even though they are putting in the long hours mentioned above.

It may take a while to build up a regular customer base that will frequent your coffee shop ritually, so you must have patience, but also the confidence in your actions and ability.

You also will need to sharpen your decision-making skills as indecisiveness is the enemy of any business owner. It can be very costly to switch back and forth on important decisions, product choices, etc.
The ability to think big, but the smarts to start within your means

One of the biggest mistakes that a new coffee shop business owner makes is that they have too big of a plan without first establishing a foundation for their business.

You must stay focused on the things that will directly contribute to your profits. For this, you will need a budget and one that you absolutely stick to. This is crucial and must not be overlooked. Many new coffee shop owners drastically underestimate the start up cost of a coffee shop business and fail before they even are able to properly get started.

This is where a well-thought out and well-written coffee shop business plan will be mandatory. If you have everything in writing it will make your plan much easier to follow and you can easily “course correct” if you fall off your path.

If you have a passion for living the coffee shop lifestyle and are prepared for what has been outlined above, then you are already way ahead of the game. 

Candy Smikerson