Running a coffee shop is a rewarding entrepreneurial experience. People wake up at all hours of the day yearning for their caffeine fix. Therefore, if you’re looking to start a business, coffee may be for you.
Even if you make coffee at home, running a shop is a completely different ball game. It takes plenty of elbow grease and planning to build a coffee shop from the ground up.
If this is your first time, don’t fret. There are some tips that can better your chances of success. From your startup plan to choosing perhaps a touch screen coffee machine that can cut down on labor costs, here are five tips that will have you commercially brewing in no time. Here’s 5 Tips to Get Your Coffee Shop Off the Ground.
1. Formulate your business plan.
Before you begin your coffee shop journey, you must come up with a solid business plan. A business plan acts as your blueprint for how your shop will run. It also helps ease later troubleshooting situations.
Common things to consider when formulating your business plan include:
-What type of coffee shop you want (mobile, storefront, etc. )
-Potential consumer base
-Overall goals and personal milestones
-Local industry competition
-Overall business costs
You’ll be most successful if you only include essential information in your business plan. Being concise also helps potential partners understand their role in your venture.
2. Find the perfect location.
Since you’ve identified your target demographic, it’s time to find your location. Your business type plays a key role in where you set up shop. For instance, if you want to run a coffee cart, it’s a good idea to choose a few busy places and visit them all. If you prefer a storefront, you should look for vacancies in places that your target audience has easy access to.
In addition to making sure you choose a safe location with easy access, you also need to make sure these locations are within your budget. Otherwise, a large portion of your profit margins will end up going towards rent.
3. Consciously choose your cafe floor plan.
How you design your floor plan can be either harmful or beneficial to your business. When customers enter your establishment, they want to see a practical yet inviting flow. You also want to make sure your staff has enough space to work and customers have enough room to order and comfortably wait for their coffee.
If you want to have a seating area, coming up with a floor plan is even more important. If it helps, there are numerous websites that allow you to set up a virtual floor plan. You can either start with a paper sketch and put it online or go directly online to create your 3D vision. Some websites also have design galleries if you don’t know where to start. Best of all, there are a myriad of free floor plan sites.
Remember, your back of house is just as important to your business’s function as the front of house. Make sure your location has enough space for your employees to work efficiently and comfortably. The same applies to your coffee bar. It’s in your best interest to create your coffee bar prior to creating your menu.
4. Invest in quality equipment.
As the saying goes, quality over quantity. While it may cut some startup costs to invest in decent equipment and replace it when you make a great profit, your business will suffer. If you expect to have lots of traffic in your shop, you’re going to spend lots of money replacing your equipment from general wear and tear.
Instead, you’ll want to invest in quality equipment prior to opening. Basic coffee shop equipment requires:
-Drip coffee machines
-At least one commercial-sized espresso machine
-A water filtration system
-Sinks and dishwashing equipment
-Storage space for dry ingredients
-Cups and dishes
-Heating devices for hot items
You can always add or subtract supplies from your list to fit your business model. If you can’t afford all of your equipment, you can also rent or finance what you need. Keep that in mind when choosing your store’s equipment. Your employees will thank you for the better equipment, it makes their job easier.
If you need more startup capital, you can use crowdfunding. Crowdfunding involves asking the public to financially invest in your business. Keep in mind, some crowdfunding corporations either take a percentage or require incentives for their investors.
In addition to equipment, you also want to make sure you have your paperwork in order. Look into necessary permits and other legal documentation prior to opening your doors to the public. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring legal fees. In serious cases, you can also risk losing your business.
5. Use professional help.
If you’re unsure of how to do something, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Even if you believe you can do everything on your own, ask someone to once-over your overall setup. This is especially true when it comes to construction.
The money you spend on hiring professional help can be much less than paying for structural damage or physical injuries.
You should also seek legal counsel to make sure every aspect of your business is upholding the law. The last thing you want to do is find yourself paying other companies for infringement.
Running a business can be hard work in the beginning, but it can also be fun. By taking the time to handle everything in the beginning, you can focus on your staff, day-to-day events, and of course, your customers. Remember, it is okay to ask for help. Hiring professionals and people you trust will add to your success in the future.