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What It's Really Like to Open a Coffee Shop

What It's Really Like to Open a Coffee Shop

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 

  • Advertising/PR
    • 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

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