5 Important Steps When Learning How to Open a Coffee Shop

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Did you know there are roughly 56,729 coffee shops in the United States? 

You may want to open a coffee shop of your own, but you might have lots of questions about the process. How do you pick a good location? How do you select a good coffee machine? 

Read on, and you'll learn how to open a coffee shop that'll be successful. If you follow these steps, it won't be long before you're serving a coffee to your first customer. 

Let's begin!


1. Location Is Important

One of the critical things you need to consider when opening a coffee shop is the location you're going to choose. After all, if your shop is in the wrong spot, it will be hard to attract customers. 

People might go to the middle of nowhere to get a Starbucks, but that's because Starbucks has an established brand. As a brand new coffee shop, you won't have any brand equity, and so people won't travel a long distance to get a coffee from you. 

So, what should you think about when selecting a location for your coffee shop? 

Ideally, you want to place your coffee shop in an area that experiences a lot of 'footfall.'

If you can do that, your coffee shop will be exposed to a lot of people. Following this, you might want to see if there are any spaces available next to offices or places where people like to shop. 

Note that it might take a while before you come across an ideal location for your coffee shop. 

Location is one of the biggest factors that'll impact your ability to succeed in this industry. Therefore, there's no point in rushing through this stage, just so you can focus on the next part of the process. 

Instead, you want to wait until you find a near-perfect location. If you can do that, you should be able to set your coffee shop up for success. 


2. Getting the Correct Paperwork

If you're going to open up a coffee shop, you will need to get some licenses. The licenses you need will depend on the state you're in, and so it's hard to say here what you should get. 

That said, in most cases, you will need a business license, and you usually have to pay a fixed fee for this. In some states, you might also need a 'resale license' so that you can charge 'sales tax.'

You may also need to get 'health' and 'food handling' permits so that you can offer snacks and meals within your coffee shop. 

If you want to avoid getting into trouble, reach out to your state and ask them what you will need. 

During this stage, you might also want to think about getting some insurance for your coffee shop.

Luckily, most insurance companies are used to insuring coffee shops by now. So, if you contact an insurance company and tell them you want to get coffee shop insurance, they should be able to help you out. 


3. Getting a Coffee Machine

Coffee machines designed for shops, tend to be quite expensive, and can often be upwards of $2000. 

If you want to keep expenses low, you might want to consider leasing a coffee machine. This isn't that hard to do, as there are businesses that cater to those who want to open a coffee shop. 

One of the good things about leasing a coffee machine is you don't have to make a significant upfront payment. 

It's also worth mentioning that a leasing company will install the coffee machine for you. 

This is helpful when you consider that it can be quite tricky to install a professional coffee machine. After all, you'll need to connect it to a water line, and you'll also need to make sure it uses the right pressure when making espressos

There's also the option of buying a second-hand coffee machine, and this can be preferable if you don't like making monthly payments. 

If you go down this route, make sure you carefully inspect a given coffee machine before buying it. You don't have a lot of startup capital to go round, and so you don't want to waste it on a dud coffee machine. 


4. Furnishing Your Coffee Shop

Once you have a coffee machine, you need to think about getting some furniture for your coffee shop. 

Again, you'll find that there are companies that'll lease the furniture to you, which can be a good option if money is tight. 

In the beginning, you might want to get some 'pleasant' but basic furniture. Then once your coffee shop is producing enough profit, you can think about upgrading the decor so that it is more appealing. 

If you don't know how you should style your coffee shop, you might spend a weekend visiting different coffee shops. If you visit enough places, you should be able to identify what kind of furniture looks good in a coffee shop. 


5. Attracting Customers

Once you've done everything else, you then need to focus on attracting customers.

Luckily, if you've chosen the right location, attracting customers shouldn't be that difficult. That said, you might want to run some ads, just so that people are aware of your coffee shop. 

If you want customers to keep on coming back to your coffee shop, you might want to offer a loyalty scheme. 

So, you might give customers a card that'll be stamped each time they visit your store. Then, if they get a certain number of stamps, you might give them a free coffee. 


Do You Know How to Open a Coffee Shop?

Now that you know how to open a coffee shop, the only thing you need to do is take action. 

If you feel a little overwhelmed by all this information about launching a cafe, that's not a problem. Starting a coffee shop is no simple task, and it's easy to be confused by all the moving parts associated with this sort of cafe project. 

To begin with, just focus on making a plan that details the steps you need to take to make your dream come true. If you slowly tick off each item on that list, you should eventually be the proud owner of a successful coffee shop. Now brew up a cup of coffee and get started!