What It's Really Like to Open a Coffee Shop
Navigating the First Year
Where Do I Start?
- Clear Brand Identity and Vision
- What is your goal/mission? What experience and items do you want to provide to your customers?
- Combo concepts are thriving!
- Keep things simple to start. Then add/take away as you learn your customer base’s preferences, needs, & wants.
- Professional Logo & Design. Think about brand continuity and aesthetics.
- A coffee shop is not just about the coffee, it’s also about the experience & vibe.
Inside Your Shop
- Clean and simplistic design. Think about appealing to your community. What would most people enjoy?
- High quality coffee & well made espresso drinks. (You can’t order a latte on Amazon!)
- GREAT staff! (Excellent customer service skills, humble, honest, hardworking and a love for coffee & making drinks)
- Something unique & interesting that only you have. (Signature drinks, cold brew, pour over, etc.)
How Do I Do It? Logistics
- Make sure your layout is conducive to making things easy to navigate for your staff.
- Research local coffee roasters. Find the best prices, best quality and additional resources they offer (training, equipment, etc.)
- Distributors & Minimums - Can be difficult to navigate & work with.
- Delivery of certain things may be easiest/cheapest through Sam’s Club and/or Amazon.
- Find & train more people than you think you need. Use interviewing and training resources.
Getting People in Your Shop
- Print ads DO NOT WORK!
- Donations are advertising! Gift cards give, while getting people in your shop. Choose a certain group/area you want to donate to. Have guidelines for donation requests.
- Face time in your shop. People want to meet YOU! Thank customers, network, give out free samples, etc.
- Become an active member in the community. Support or join community organizations. Network with other business owners and local government/community members.
- Social Media, Website & Events
- Social Media Consistency. Post regularly, gain followers, interact/engage.
- Google reviews. Respond & engage. Update your Google My Business listing regularly (hours changing, specials, etc.)
- Make sure to have a website that looks professional and is easy to navigate.
- Events can be hit or miss, but are a great way to advertise yourself (open mic night, poetry slam, coffee with a cop, etc.)
By Jean Brillman