Opening a place where people can come to drink hot coffee, sip cold ice-tea, and enjoy a cake or a sandwich is the dream of many. But it isn’t as simple as people tend to think. The industry is booming though, with a push for people to head to their local coffee shop instead of their large local chain – indie coffee shops are finally getting the recognition they deserve. It used to be that all tea shops and coffee shops where owned by individuals rather than large chains, but coffee on the go became a more commonplace and popular thing – in strolled the global brands.
But, people who love coffee know that 9/10 times the best coffee you are likely to have is going to be ground, pressed, and turned into a delicious drink by a smaller chain, or indie coffee bar. Which means, there is more than enough space in the landscape for more.
Of course, as with any business you are going to need a solid jumping-off point. A business plan is going to be that. It will have all of the details about what you are going to need, where you’ll get finance from, how long before you make a profit, who your customers are going to be and what are your plans for growth going forward. It’s not a strict plan, of course, it is more like the blueprints for your next few years.
Where you have your coffee shop will dictate how many people you have the chance of snagging just because you are easy to access. Location is really going to matter. If you are off the beaten path, then you might be missing out on more business than you think. It might take a few days sitting outside different locations and counting how many people walk by.
Once you think you have found the space, getting inside to see what the area is like is a given. But you have to remember that you’re going to need space for customers to form a line and as many seats as you can comfortably fit in. As well as accessible toilets (if they aren’t accessible you’ll need to remodel them asap).
Think about how many times you have been in a coffee shop and had to squish into a space. Avoid quantity and think quality. And make use of the outside space too. An attractive cafe barrier will help catch the eye of passers-by, and they are much more likely to pop in. Plus it gives those that sit outside a sense of privacy.
In many cities, there is an allocation for community spaces. Speak to local small business advisors and see what criteria have to be met in order to access any funds, and how you might adapt your business plan to accommodate them. Coffee shops tend to be pretty costly to open up, so you are going to need to plunge in some of your own cash, as well as considering a business loan.
You will need to make sure you are sourcing fairtrade coffee beans, and take part in other eco-friendly supplies. People are more aware of where their coffee is from, and more people are aiming to let their money do the talking.
A coffee shop is a gratifying venture, with a lot of room for growth. They often become staples for many people in the area, and a big part of the community.