February 22, 2024
Lauren Platero

How to Start a Coffee Shop: Our 13 Step Beginner's Guide

Do you adore a robust cup of coffee? Do you have an entrepreneur mindset? If your answer to both of these questions is “Yes!” then learning how to start a coffee shop might be worthwhile. While the coffee industry is a fairly saturated market, new shops have the potential to succeed. This possibility is thanks to sustainability efforts, coffee trends, and beyond!

In this article, we will walk you through the thirteen steps you need to take to bring your business plans to life. Then, you’ll know exactly how to start a coffee company. Now, let the work begin!

How to Start a Coffee Shop In 13 Steps

Learning how to start a coffee shop business requires time, patience, and a whole lot of passion for the project. However, when you take it step by step, the process doesn’t have to be as daunting as you may assume. Even when you consider the best coffee shops in every major city, they’re all fairly straightforward business models. So, we’re going to outline the thirteen primary steps one needs to follow to start a coffee shop business from the ground up. See below:

1. Create the Coffee Shop’s Business Plan

Learning how to start a coffee shop business plan must be the first step you take before launching your brand. This document is where you’ll highlight your vision for the coffee shop, competitive advantages, funding options, marketing plans, and more. If you jump into a business venture without a plan, it can lead to a great deal of confusion and errors. Plus, you’ll need to present a thorough business plan to any banks or investors when attempting to fundraise.

2. Seek Legal and Financial Assistance

No matter how simple a business model might be, you’ll always need to obtain legal and financial assistance. And even though it’s not the most glamorous part of running a coffee shop, it’s all for the safety and longevity of your business. Financial advisors will be able to help you manage your assets and investments. Meanwhile, your legal staff will provide you with the proper steps to take regarding licenses, permits, labor, and more. Financial and legal risks can hinder a business and the owner’s reputation if anything spirals downhill. But with the right professionals on board, you can dodge these risks entirely.

3. Acquire the Funds to Execute the Plan

So, how much does it cost to open a coffee shop? This is a question that you were probably asking yourself when crafting your business plan. However, once you have a location in mind, the answer will be much clearer. When you determine all the operating expenses that your business will incur, it’s time to seek funding options. Your options and eligibility will heavily depend on your current financial situation. However, the two most popular options are acquiring business loans from banks and capital from investors.

4. Invest In the Brick and Mortar Coffee Shop

If you really want to ensure the success of your business, open a drive thru coffee shop. Any coffee statistics report will tell you that most coffee drinkers are on the go–especially at the crack of dawn. But if you’re unable to find or construct a drive thru, an easily accessible unit with ample parking spaces will do just fine.

5. Purchase or Rent the Coffee Shop’s Equipment

You won’t be able to operate a coffee shop without the proper equipment and appliances. Standard restaurant equipment like mixers, refrigerators and freezers are essential in any kind of eatery. However, coffee shops specifically need the machinery to brew all the different types of drinks. From espresso shots to cold brew coffee, there’s a different coffee brewing method for each type of drink. Then, you need items like milk frothers, filters, and dispensers.  Just note that these rentals will be recurring monthly expenses.

6. Furnish the Entire Coffee Shop

If you want your business to stand out as one of the best local coffee shops, you need to furnish it accordingly. But you should invest in more than just traditional restaurant seating. You should also add comfortable furniture like couches and things you might find in a family’s living room. The point is to make the environment as cozy and inviting as possible. This way, you can establish a welcoming atmosphere and prolong customer retention.

7. Create a Delicious Coffee Shop Menu

Offer more than just basic cups of coffee if you want to maximize revenue to the fullest extent. When it comes to the drink menu, offer customers a selection of specialty coffee recipes. This idea is one of the best ways that a coffee shop can implement product differentiation. It's also a good idea to be part of the matcha vs coffee conversation and offer tea. It’s just as important to offer food, too. From sweet treats to brunch items, offering a little of everything will result in higher cart values.

8. Stock Up On Food and Beverage Inventory

Now, let’s discuss one of the main reasons why you’re here–how to go about getting coffee and other ingredients to sell. Your most convenient and financially sound options will be sourcing wholesale coffee beans from a wholesale coffee distributor. If your goal is to sell sustainably sourced coffee, ensure that you’re purchasing from one of the best coffee roasters, as most of them are selling coffee online. Buying coffee beans wholesale will also allow you to schedule orders and save money simultaneously.

Unsure of where to purchase coffee beans and other ingredients in bulk? Check out BlueCart and the many ways that it lets coffee shops all over the world streamline inventory management processes.

9. Invest In Innovative Tech Solutions

Onboard solutions that allow you to offer coffee shop online ordering integrations. Or, you might want to invest in kiosks to furnish a self service coffee shop. Regardless of your interests and vision, you’ll quickly realize when learning how to start a coffee shop that you can digitize several elements. Even if the only solution you opt for is coffee shop management software, there are many ways to transform your brand with the help of technology.

10. Start Marketing the Coffee Shop Online

There are endless coffee shop marketing ideas that will attract customers and allow you to stand out from local competitors. Social media efforts will be your best bet, as they’re completely free and allow you to have full control over the way consumers perceive the brand. After a while, the native analytics dashboards will provide you with enough data to run effective paid advertising campaigns.

11. Launch a Customer Rewards Program

Before opening your business to the public, create a coffee club membership program that’s built into your coffee shop POS system. This way, customers can begin earning loyalty points as soon as possible. Plus, this is a great way to build restaurant email or SMS lists from the start. Over time, all these factors will contribute to long-term retention and profitability.

12. Hire a Team of Baristas and Managers

The staff you employ before your official launch date can make or break the success of your coffee shop. The customer service they provide will influence whether visitors will return. Considering just how crucial it is for new businesses to quickly build a reputable brand, your team is one of the most important factors of its growth. So, employ crew members who are friendly, efficient, and have experience in the food service industry.

13. Officially Open Your Coffee Shop

Once you tackle the previous twelve steps, it’s time to open your doors to the public! If you’d like to start slow, host a soft launch to test the waters and catch any hiccups before there are surges of traffic. Then, you’ll know exactly what to expect when the business is officially in motion.

The Solutions You Need When Starting a Coffee Shop

Before you learn how to start your own coffee shop and put this guide to use, there’s one thing that you should onboard: a suite of online ordering solutions. Not only should you offer coffee delivery service, but pre-order functionalities.

By integrating your POS system with digital ordering tools, your coffee shop will be present across all the mainstream delivery apps. As a result, you’ll be able to maximize the order volume from both on and off-premise transactions.

Are you currently shopping for digital ordering solutions and a centralized hub for all transactions? Look no further than Connect! Feel free to book a demo, and we’ll walk you through how working with us will level up our coffee shop in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Start a Coffee Shop

As you can see, learning how to start a coffee shop business is not for the faint of heart! There are numerous working parts that will constantly require attention, skill, and adaptations. With that in mind, it’s vital that you know as much as possible about how to start a coffee shop before you even draft your business plan. Check out the following selection of frequently asked questions for some additional information on the topic.

Is Learning How to Start a Coffee Shop Worth It In the End?

Yes, learning how to start a coffee shop is absolutely worth the time and effort if it’s your end goal to own a coffee house. Starting any kind of business requires a significant amount of background knowledge. So, learning as much as you can before you actually start planning is always a good idea.

How Profitable Is It to Own a Coffee Shop In 2024?

It can be extremely profitable to own a coffee shop in 2024. In fact, coffee shop owners claim that the profit margin can be anywhere from 15 to 25 percent.

Is the Process of Figuring Out How to Start a Coffee Shop Difficult?

Learning how to start a coffee shop isn’t an easy task whatsoever. There are so many contributing factors to launching a coffee business, which means that it can be stressful. However, the outcomes can be extremely rewarding!

Who Should Learn How to Start a Coffee Shop In 2024?

Anyone who has any level of interest in coffee and entrepreneurship should learn how to start a coffee shop. It’s fairly straightforward to operate such a business model, so it can be simple and profitable.

How Much Money Should I Have When Learning How to Start a Coffee Shop?

If you’re learning how to start a coffee shop, you’ll quickly learn that you should have a minimum of $50,000 for startup costs. Variables like permits, licenses, rent, and equipment can cost a small fortune. That’s why so many entrepreneurs work with investors or seek small business loans before they ever have a chance to start their own business.

Ready to Get Brewin’?

Now that you have a grasp of starting a coffee shop, it's time to implement these procedures! Keep in mind that there will be numerous micro-steps involved in getting any business venture off the ground. However, this guide should serve as the backbone to what can become an extensive and successful coffee shop launch strategy.