13 Top Tips For Opening A Coffee Shop

The coffee industry is a great business to be in because the demand for it is ever-growing, so you will never be out of customers! As the market grows, so does competitions so you'll need to make sure your business is the top choice. There's a lot more planning and research that goes into making your business plan, so we have decided to compile 13 tips together to maybe make it a bit clearer. We are by no means business experts, but hopefully, this will help you out and cure your writers' block!

Have Clear USPs

line of matches all burnt out except one in the middleUSPs stands for Unique Selling Points - what makes you different from your competitors? You want to stand out from the crowd so people choose to go to you instead of any other coffee shops. Being an independent coffee shop can be quite difficult when it comes to competing with well-established chains, so it is important you know your strengths and how to use them effectively to your advantage.

Know Your Coffee

Different strength coffees from strong to weakKnowing your coffee probably seems very obvious, but it goes further than just knowing what everyone else knows about coffee. It is very important to know the product you are selling inside out so your customers really buy into you as a business because they can trust you. Classic coffee types are the very least you should know about before opening up, but if you’re considering offering speciality coffees or following trends, get “in the know” with them too.

Know Your Customers' Needs

2 ladies sat at a table with coffees talkingThe most important thing to do when opening any new business is conducting research on your available and target audience. Knowing who you are targetting makes it so much easier to figure out what type of coffee shop you are going to be. From your research, you want to be able to answer these questions: what drinks will be on the menu? How much will you charge? What will your opening times be? What will the decor be like inside? You need to put yourself in their shoes and look at it from their perspective.

Competitor Analysis

4 white arrows racing with red arrow leading the wayResearching your competitors is another key part of planning your new business. The research should cover their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Competitor analysis also aids you when creating a business plan to know where there is room for you and what you more you can offer to the industry. You need to be ready to compete as soon as you open.

Choose Your Suppliers Carefully

bag of coffee beans spilled on a tableYou are going to be relying heavily on your suppliers as they are the source of the product you are offering so, therefore, decide you succeed or not. Will you be promoting sustainable and environmentally-friendly ingredients? Will you want to provide different variations of beans with different intensities? Find a supplier who offers these options and build a good partnership with them to improve your knowledge of ingredients and perhaps get special deals. If you have a machine from us and buy your ingredients from us, we offer free service call outs as a thank you! 

Plan Your Equipment

Iberital traditional coffee machine in coffee shopYou will need to decide whether you will be leasing, buying or renting your coffee equipment and whether you want a bean-to-cup, instant or traditional coffee machine. What other extras will you need to add on to provide the service you want to? Who will be cleaning and how easy will it be to maintain your equipment? Ensure you do your research, talk to people in the industry to find the best option for you and your coffee shop so you are using the most appropriate equipment and you are not spending too much or too little money. If you need advice on this, contact us for expert knowledge from our representatives on 01942 607 634.

Invest In Training

Close up of latte art in blue cupSpending money and time on proper training for yourself and your staff as this can make or break a service business. Training for customer service, essential barista skills and specialist skills should be planned to provide an experience people will want to return to. This should cover things like how to use and clean the equipment, preparing the drinks, latte art, professional brewing techniques and so much more. Regularly retraining in these skills will keep you in front of your competitors with trends - you want to be ahead of everyone as you can be one of the first to offer something new. You can go on external courses and have training courses within your coffee shop too!

Refine Your Menu

Menu at a coffee shopKeep your menu manageable so you can be efficient and produce quality coffee at the same time. The basics are always key - not everyone loves fancy, flavoured drinks so it is important to be able to offer the classic favourites. Keep it updated with the specialist or seasonal drinks you plan to provide too - assess whether spending money and time on additional training for complex drinks is worth it. Also, highlight the origins of the coffee, if it’s Fair Trade etc because this is something avid coffee lovers want to know to decide which drink to pick. Before adding new drinks, collect some customer feedback by sampling different flavours, ingredients and recipes to see what is likely to sell too.

Increase Footfall, Upsells and Repeats

Graph with business sales Footfall (how many customers come in and out of your shop in a given time) can be boosted with good marketing, branding and aesthetics as well as collecting customer feedback and competitor analysis. Upselling is when a customer spends more than they initially intended. You can ensure lots of customers do this by displaying POS with offers and deals. Providing good service, drinks, atmosphere and overall experience will make people return. You could also offer loyalty cards that will give something free after visiting a certain number of times. This could make more people chose over your competitors because of this offer.

Review and Evolve

Business people studying charts and graphsA good businessperson knows you can’t stand still if you want to succeed, you need to be constantly reviewing and evolving your business. One way to be ever-evolving is by keeping on top of trends and updating your menu depending on the time of year, so you’re constantly coming out with new products to excite your customers. You need to track your sales and review costs to create a plan to improve every month - is your equipment worth the money you are spending on it? Again, customer feedback and competitor analysis are always beneficial for this. 

Social Media

looking on a social media feed n a phone with a coffeeNowadays, if you don’t have a social media page for yourself or your business you are so behind everyone else. It is an easy way to build brand awareness, brand reputation and interact with customers. You can post about new products, special offers and just simply show off your coffee shop! It’s also a good way to keep up with your competitors - use what they are posting as post inspiration and see what your target audience is interacting with on socials. Check out our social media accounts here (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) to see the type of things we post - even though we are not a coffee shop, we do post a lot about coffee!

Create a Website

Creating a website with a coffee and making notesPeople could argue whether having a website for a coffee shop is necessary if you’re not selling things online. Presenting yourself on as many platforms as you can, will get your name out there and increase brand awareness as much as possible. It can be as simple as introducing your coffee shop and your staff - where are you, who are you, what do you offer, why are you different to others? It’s a good way of displaying reviews which can drive customers to you who are searching for 'good' coffee shops. Your website can also connect to Google Maps which will make you visible when people are looking up coffee shops near them. 


Inside coffee shop vintage interiorThis part of opening a business can sometimes be overlooked and not enough money and time is spent on it. Planning your interior is good to do after you have researched your customers and competitors, as you'll know what will draw them in and what they like. It needs to fit in with your branding too - getting potential customers’ feedback and taking in their opinions will help massively. Things you need to think about are; your budget, aesthetic, customer preferences, timescale and branding. 


We hope these 13 top tips help you when planning for your own coffee shop! If you need any advice about the equipment you'll need or ingredients, get in touch with us and we will happily help!