How to Start a Coffee Shop Business [The Definitive Guide]

How to start a coffee shop business cover image

You wonder how to start a coffee shop business, right?


Maybe you don’t have enough experience in this industry.


You don’t want to make any mistake before opening.

Ok, here’s the deal:

When you finish reading this article you will learn everything about starting a coffee shop business.

I promise.

Let’s begin now.

#0. Coffee Shop Industry Statistics – (Updated 2016)

Before you start any type of business, you should know something about your industry. Today, if you don’t know what is going on out there, you can’t think about that success in your business. So,

According to Statisca in 2002, a number of coffee and snack shop businesses were 28,345 in the USA. When we look at the number in 2015, it’s 40,422.

Coffee Shop Business is increasing everyday and competition increasing much more.

#1. Prepare Your Coffee Shop Business Plan


We want to run our business successfully, right? To do this, we need to know what we will do.

Basically, a business plan will be our handbook all about our business. It does not have to be contains everything still, it should answer some basic questions.

Let’s take a quick look at what should be included.

  • Our business name and logo,
  • Our mission-vision statement,
  • Our location,
  • What are our product and services,
  • What are our costs,
  • Marketing plan and strategy,
  • Financial plan,

Sometimes people can confuse the main idea of a business plan. They think it’s too complex or It’s just a wasting time.

Believe me! It’s a huge mistake. If you don’t write your business plan, you probably will not success in your business.

#2. Swot Analysis Before Start a Coffee Shop

Our next step is Swot (Strengths and Weaknesses – Opportunities and Threats) Analysis.

Why are we doing this? Because we want to determinate key point to success before start our coffee shop.


We will identify our strengths against our competitors. Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors. You should answer what is your coffee shops strength honestly.

An example for coffee shops: Our coffee price cheaper than big brands. I have an excellent barista.


You have some weakness, right? So, what are they?

An example: Our coffee shop brand is too new. Our marketing budget very low.


Determinate your own coffee shop business opportunities. Opportunities and Threats are external factors.

An example: Coffee shop business growing day by day.


What are the external factors, threat your business? It could be everything from your country economic policy to demographics changing in your local business area.

An example: We are expecting a serious economic crisis.

#3. Benchmarking for Coffee Shop

We have lots of competitors, especially for coffee shop business. Because of this, we have to analysis them.

And we will identify what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong. Don’t get me misunderstand. We are not spying them. We just don’t want to make a mistake before start our coffee shop.

#4. Find The Best Location

Selecting your business location is one of the most important key points to successfully start a coffee shop business.


Your business mostly local thinks. I mean, if your business in London you can’t send your product to NewYork.

Ok, I admit, it was a really bad example, but I think you got the idea.

#5. Design your Coffee Shop

Do you want your customers to be happy after visiting your cafe? Then came back again and again.

Coffee shop or cafe business is not just about making coffee. You should care about your places design. It must be unique, elegant and fit your targeting customer.

Just a quick research on the internet, you can find lots of coffee shop ideas that can help your own design.

And the bottom line.

I highly recommended to you that you should work with a professional designer.

#6. Find The Best Employee and Train Them

Your employee will be a part of your business.


Let’s say your coffee shop location is the best place as possible in your city. You have the best coffee shop equipment. Everything looks good, right?


Your staff doesn’t know how to communicate to your customer. Believe me, you will %100 percent lose your customers. They will never come back again.

When you hire someone, you have to be careful. After you find the right person, you should train them.

  • How to use their body language.
  • How to serve a coffee, etc.

And the bottom line.

If your employees are happy, your customers will be happy too.

#7. Coffee Shop Funding

One of the biggest challenging for a start-up business is that find the money. You have some options to find a capital to your coffee shop like bank loans, government support, angel investors and maybe your family or friends.

Bank Loans

It looks easy, but banks will want to be sure your business will make a money. Well, to this you will need an excellent business plan and prove them this business will success.

Government Support

Almost every government supporting new business owner. Of course, it may not be available in every country. Still, you should check this and similar opportunities before you open your business.

Angel Investors

Today, lots of start-up business finds a capital from angel investors.

Good News,

Generally, angel investors investing their money for a start-up business. It’s mean you are a perfect situation to invest.

Bottom line

They are not just given a money. They are also mentoring to your business.


It becomes more popular day by day. You can easily create your project like GoFundMe, Kickstarter websites and then if people like you project they will invest to your start-up business.

#8. Be Careful When to Spend Your Money

Ok. You want to make money right. I know that because every business has to make some money to exist. To earn money, you have to reduce all costs as possible.

While you start your coffee shop, you will spend lots of money. When you buy anything I mean anything you have to be smart.

You should research all platforms as possible. You must compare all price and choose the right one.

Sometimes people things, I don’t know, let’s say I find the cheapest espresso machine, it was a good deal. You know what your espresso machine just was a garbage. It will not work 2 months later.

When you compare two things don’t just think the price. You should also think about the quality.

#9. Start Marketing Before Opening Your Coffee Shop

One of the most import thinks you should know about how to start a coffee shop business that is marketing. You should start your marketing campaign before start your coffee shop.


Buy your domain and hosting and build your coffee shop website.

İt’s important because google and other search engines will recognize your website 2-3 months later after you lunch. That’s because you should do this before open a coffee shop.

Social Media

Open your coffee shops social account such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vinclo and Yelp.

Add your Business to Google

Google gives a huge opportunity for small business owners. You can add your coffee shop business to Google Business. It will take only 5-10 minutes.

#10. Listen to Your Customer

You should listen to your customer. Learn everything what they need what they want. Believe me, if you know your customers well before starting your coffee shop it will give you an amazing opportunity to design your start-up business.

#11. Use the Power of Technology

Today, technology is our business partner. With technology, everything becomes easier, speed and more effectively.

There are lots of software and hardware you can use for your coffee shop business.

Some of the Benefits

  • You can track your inventory
  • You can track your menu performance and selling
  • You can schedule your employee’s task
  • You can improve customer experience

Just quick research on google you can find lots of useful software for your coffee shop.

#12. Learn Food Safety Rules and Regulations

Before you open your coffee shop you will need some permit and license.

Some of them will be general permit and licenses such as business license, building license etc.

And some of them will just for coffee shop owner such as food handler certification, Liquor License, music license, food service license, etc.

Of course, that license and permits can be changed every country.

Bonus #1: Franchising Opportunities

Even if, you can able to open your independent small coffee shop business, coffee house or cafe, we recommended that you take a look franchising opportunities as well.


When you start reading this article probably you didn’t sure, what do I need to open a coffee shop. And now you know all about, you need to know. Is it hard to start your own business, absolutely. But remember owning a coffee shop is your dream and you should follow your dream.