Starting a Coffee Shop Business


The market for coffee shops is huge. Most malls have several coffee shops, with most of them operating in full capacity. Today, coffee shops no longer just serve coffee. They have also expanded their menu to include pastries, juices, and even complete meals.
Besides the expansion of the menu, coffee shops have added other services. It is now expected that a decent coffee shop provide free Wi-Fi connection. With the decrease in the prices of laptops and smart phones, you can now see both professionals and students hanging out in coffee shops to take advantage of the free internet.
If you are interested in starting a coffee shop, here are some tips:
Invest time and money looking for the best location. If the market is just enough to make one coffee shop profitable, then you have a poor chance when you are up against a well-known chain. On the other hand, if the customers are overflowing, then you only have to consider if you can afford the rental. Malls are usually too expensive for independent coffee shops, and many malls would not even consider accepting a start-up coffee shop for a tenant. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of options. Do not rely on guess work; instead, take into account the potential market.
Buy quality equipment with the right capacity. Cheap equipment usually do not last as long as expensive ones. But with cheaper equipment selling at just one third the price, you must analyse if it is worth the difference. You must test to know actual performance of the machine. Check the actual operating capacity. Service quality will be severely affected if it will take you too long to serve a customer. Consider too the output of the ice crusher as well. You will notice that crushed ice in high-end coffee shops is so fine that almost nothing remains after you have drunk your coffee.
Buy quality coffee beans and supplies. You may not be able to tell the difference between instant coffee and civet coffee, but the opinion leaders certainly do; and what they say is what establishes your reputation.
Invest in the appropriate ambiance for your target market. For most people, the difference in price can be justified by the ambiance of the place. A place that looks like a cafeteria cannot charge customers with Starbucks’ prices.
Motivate and train your staff well. It is not enough that you have enthusiastic staff; they must also know what to do especially when they receive customized requests. Bear in mind that skilful baristas are in high demand and so be prepared to pay the stiff going rate to retain their services.
Offer free Wi-Fi. Unless you are only planning to set up a coffee cart business, then it is a must to have free Wi-Fi.
Never stop product innovation and promotion. Have a budget for new offerings and marketing. Time will come when people will tire of the usual stuff; you must have something that will continue to interest them. Also, never stop promoting your coffee shop.
Establish a good control system from the start. Get the help of an accountant with experience in control systems for stores similar to yours. Install a POS (point-of-sale system) and CCTV’s. Do this when you open the business so that you will encounter less resistance from your employees.
The coffee shop business has a very promising future because of the strong and steady growth in demand. But with more competition today, you must strive to learn all you can before investing your hard-earned capital.
BusinessCoach, Inc., a leading business seminar provider, conducts seminars on Starting a Coffee Shop Business with Barista Training. You may contact them at 727-5628/727-8860/0915-205-0133, email, or visit their website for details.
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*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.