Running a coffee shop can be a quite lucrative endeavor seeing as how the majority of people start their day with a cup of this energizing beverage. However, in order for your business to thrive, there are some things you have to do right. So, for all you entrepreneurs out there looking to start a coffee shop, here are some useful tips.
Devise a business plan
First of all, when starting this kind of business, you have three basic options to choose from. You can decide to purchase a franchise but keep in mind that in this scenario most of the business decisions will be made for you by the franchise owner. Then, you can find an existing business to buy, which might be a bit hard as there are not many profitable companies for sale. Alternatively, you can start your business from scratch. Yes, this requires a lot of time and effort but it also comes with the biggest potential when it comes to profits and flexibility. Once you’ve decided on your approach, you can create your business plan in more detail and start working toward opening your coffee shop.
Look for a good location
We’ve already mentioned how some people need coffee to start their day. Well, sometimes they don’t have time to do it at home, so they pick up a cup on their way to work. Furthermore, coffee shops are great places for meetings with friends or coworkers. On the other hand, some people love going to coffee shops to read a book or study, which means that they probably appreciate a quieter atmosphere. So, you need to think about the clientele you would like to attract when choosing your location.
The choice of location might also affect your rent and business hours. For instance, opening a shop in a mall might be quite expensive and you’ll have pre-determined work hours. You can also consider storefronts, as the rent is usually lower and you get to set the opening and closing hours.
Create a relaxing environment
In order to attract customers, you need a comfortable atmosphere. Knowing your target clientele will help you design your shop. Some people prefer open and airy spaces with plenty of natural light, while others like dim spaces. Perhaps the best option is to go for a combination of these and keep the space near the windows well-lit while having some secluded corners people can retreat to.
Furthermore, you can offer an outdoor space as well. Having a patio is a great advantage during summer months as everyone wants to enjoy the nice weather. However, consider getting some Aspect Shade retractable awnings as they can protect your customers from harmful UV rays and unexpected summer showers.
Another thing you cannot overlook is cozy seating. Inside, you can place several sofas and armchairs and plenty of chairs. The great thing here is that they don’t have to match. Eclectic design works great and that means that you can get these pieces at various places, from garage sales to vintage shops. For your patio, get benches or chairs with comfy cushions and include soft throws for when it gets a bit chilly.
Having excellent customer service is key
Customers appreciate efficient and professional service, which is why you must make sure your staff is up to the task. When hiring, look for people who are friendly and welcoming. Moreover, provide them with proper training so that they know your business inside out and can answer all questions potential clients might have.
In addition, decide whether your business will have table or counter service. If you opt for counter service, you might be able to handle busy periods much easier. It basically means that customers order and pay and then you call them when their order is ready. Table service, on the other hand, is more labor-intensive, seeing as how patrons spend more time in your shop. Plus, you’ll need waiters who will serve them and clean up afterward.
Another way to provide great customer service is by introducing a loyalty card program. For example, offer a free drink after 10 previous purchases. This might encourage people to come in on a regular basis and they might even spend more. Use quality cards that show off your logo and that won’t easily rip.
Provide an excellent selection on your menu
Last but most certainly not the least, your coffee needs to be top-notch. If you are able to provide customers with something unique, your business is bound to bloom. For example, look for some specialty coffees and teas in addition to the regular ones. Get high-quality equipment and ensure your staff is well-trained in the art of espresso making.
Furthermore, you must understand that coffee sales alone are often not enough to keep a business running. So, think about including an assortment of snacks on the counter which might catch the customers’ eye and tempt them to buy something else. You can sell whatever you think goes well with your beverages, from healthy options to different kinds of pastry. Make sure you recommend these items to your customers when they order tea or coffee. However, making snacks can take a lot of time, so you can work with a local bakery.
Follow these guidelines and your coffee shop is going to thrive. Good luck!