On average, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee each day, which is the equivalent of 146 billion cups of coffee per year. This makes the US the leading consumers of coffee in the world.

If you’re thinking about opening a coffee shop, these statistics can seem very exciting. However, even though there are a lot of coffee drinkers in the US, opening a coffee shop isn’t as easy as it sounds. Because there are so many competing shops, you need to make sure you do everything you can to get a leg up on the competition.

Check out this guide to learn the top tips for opening a successful coffee shop.

  1. Create a Business Plan 

In order to open a successful coffee shop, you first need to create a business plan. Your business plan will outline your initial and future expenses, your business needs, and your goals. Your plan will also need to detail:

  • What type of business you’re starting and who it’ll serve
  • Your target market
  • How you’ll turn a profit
  • Sales and revenue projections
  • Information about your competitors

Your business plan will be your key tool of persuasion when it comes to persuading others to work with you and invest in your business, so make sure you take your time creating one.

Here are some other benefits of creating a business plan:

  • It helps you position your brand
  • It helps you uncover new opportunities
  • It helps you attract employees, partners, and a management team
  • It helps you better understand your customer and your competition
  • It allows you to document your revenue model and establish business milestones
  • It helps you document your marketing plan and understand your coffee shop’s staffing needs

If you’re struggling to write a business plan, you can always hire a lawyer for help.

  1. Find the Right Location 

Once you’ve written your business plan for your coffee shop, it’s time to find the right location. You want to make sure you choose a space that is:

  • Easy to access and centrally located
  • Near a lot of foot traffic
  • Highly visible
  • Fits with your brand/vision

It’s important to keep in mind that finding the dream location for your coffee shop won’t happen overnight. Additionally, you’re likely going to be competing with other businesses for highly-sought-after locations.

This is why it’s a good idea to start searching for your spot as early as possible, as it may take a few months to find the perfect space.

  1. Create a Floor Plan 

Once you’ve found the right location for your coffee shop, it’s time to create a floor plan. While every brick and mortar space needs a functional floor plan, the right floor plan is especially vital for coffee shops.

You need to create a space that is warm and welcoming for those who want to sit down while also being convenient and efficient for those looking to grab their coffee and go. To create the perfect floor plan, it’s a good idea to walk through every scenario that you can think of in your coffee shop.

For example, you can ask yourself:

  • If I’m making a coffee, what needs to be near me?
  • If I’m standing in line for coffee, how much space do I need?
  • If I want to sit down, do I feel like the coffee shop seems cozy and inviting?

By visualizing all of the different scenarios, it’ll be easier to put your floor plan down on paper.

  1. Get Funding 

Finding startup funds for your local coffee shop can be difficult.

If you feel comfortable doing so, speak to family members and friends about investing in your coffee shop. If this isn’t an option, you can always take out a small business loan. You can either get an SBA loan, or you can get a loan through your local bank or credit union.

Keep in mind that in order to qualify for a bank loan, you’ll need to prove that your business already has some traction. So if you’re not up and running yet, a bank loan may not be the best option for funding your coffee shop.

In addition to figuring out funding for the coffee shop, you also need to figure out your personal expenses. Even when you’re devoting all of your time and energy to your business, there’s a chance you won’t be profitable for the first six months or so. Therefore, you need to make sure you have enough money set aside to cover your personal expenses for the first six months or longer.

  1. Market Your Coffee Shop 

It’s also very important that you put together a marketing plan for your coffee shop. But, don’t wait until the day you open to start marketing, because then you’ll already be behind.

On opening day, people shouldn’t just be finding out that you have a coffee shop. Instead, they should be excited to come in already. Even if you don’t have a lot of money in your budget to market your coffee shop, there are some affordable marketing tactics you can take advantage of, such as:

  • Setting up social media profiles
  • Partnering with local businesses to offer free coffee in exchange for local advertising
  • Calling everyone to tell them about your plans to open a coffee shop (including the media)
  • Sending coupons to local residents through an email marketing campaign

You can also participate in local events and hand out free coffee samples.

Opening a Coffee Shop: Are You Ready to Open? 

Now that you have these tips for opening a coffee shop, it’s time to get started. Before you know it, your coffee shop will be open for business!

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks on how to make your coffee shop a success.


Infographic created by Clover Network, a credit card processing company.