Beyond the Opening: 10 Things to Consider When Opening a Coffee Shop

When opening a coffee shop, it’s easy to get caught up in the really big picture and to then overlook some of the smaller, but still important, details. The name has been picked, the logo solidified, and the perfect location discovered, but, now what? Here are ten things that can be easy to overlook, but that are necessary when opening a coffee shop.

  1. Finding Your Coffee Roaster
    1. This may seem like it’s a pretty obvious step when you’re looking into opening a coffee shop, but finding the ideal roaster is a big deal. Obviously, you want to find a coffee that you love and that your future customers will love, but there are other things to consider when picking your coffee roaster. Look into the coffee that is being served in the area that your shop is located. This will allow you to not only have insight into the preferences of the customer base in your area, but it will give you the opportunity to decide if you would prefer to have a coffee that is unique to your area or if you want to go with the flow when it comes to coffee. Another great rule of thumb when picking your coffee roaster is to see what other services they provide. Certain roasters provide resources that will be very helpful in the long run such as tech services or deals on equipment.
  2. Purchasing Your Equipment
    1. You want your customer to have the best experience possible when they are at your shop,  which includes enjoying a delicious cup of coffee. So much of the coffee shop experience revolves around the machines in use, even if your customers don’t necessarily realize it. You want to take some time and do plenty of research about what machines you will need in your space and for the product you want to provide. While it may be tempting to purchase that little espresso machine you found on Amazon that also works as a toaster and a tea brewer, chances are it won’t end up being reliable and finding someone to fix it when it inevitably breaks will be a headache you’d rather avoid. Talk to equipment distributors in your area to see if they have recommendations that will work for you.
  3. Finding a Water Filtration System
    1. When opening a coffee shop, you are making an investment. You are investing in the space and the equipment. Naturally, you want to protect that investment. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find a water filtration system. When you consider that coffee is 98% water, and that you constantly have water running through your machines, it makes sense to think about water filtration. Having the right system in place can produce better quality drinks and can prolong the life of your machines.
  4. Finding Tech Services
    1. Machines require maintenance. Even though you aren’t necessarily thinking about giving your machine a check up during these planning stages, eventually you will need someone to come fix the espresso head that one of your baristas accidentally broke or your machine will just need some general maintenance. The last thing you want is to be stuck calling around trying to find someone who can help and then settling for someone whose capabilities you don’t know. You want to have someone on hand that you already know you can trust to help with your machine. Some technicians can also help with machine installation, making your grand opening that much easier for you.
  5. Deciding Which Products You Want to Carry
    1. While this concept might seem like a no-brainer, there are lots of things to consider. Yes, you’d like to carry coffee, but do you want to serve solely organic milk or is conventional milk more your style? What kind of alternative milks do you want to have available for your customer base? Have you thought about the brand of cups you want to carry? There are so many options available these days that even looking for which brand of syrup you want to utilize can seem daunting. You have multiple choices for every product. It’s important to decide what products you want to have available in your store.
  6. Finding a Distributor
    1. With so many products on the market, it’s important to look into the distributors that are available to you. Check into the areas that your preferred distributor delivers to, when they are available for delivery, and how willing they are to work with you and your needs. For instance, you could find a wonderful distributor who is only in your area on Saturdays after lunch, but your shop closes early on Saturdays, which then leads to further issues and more headaches on your end. Find the distributor that works for you and your needs.
  7. Working with Your Distributor and Your Storage Space
    1. Making sure you have ample storage space available to you is one of those easily overlooked issues. You end up with this huge, beautiful sitting space, and room for only 4 cartons of milk and a single bag of coffee. Take an honest look at the storage space you have available and then contact your distributor about the frequency of your deliveries. If you have plenty of storage space but limited fridge space, you may need to order the shelf stable items such as syrups and alternative milks less regularly, but you may need deliveries of milk and other refrigerated items more than once a week. This is something you and your distributor can work together to achieve.
  8. Deciding on a Cold Case and Grab & Go Items
    1. While it may not be the first thing to cross your mind, having a cold case with ready-to-drink beverages in bottles or cans might be something you end up deciding will be better overall. Do you want to have pre-packaged snack bites available for your customers? If you think about the number of times you have impulse purchased a granola bar or chocolate bar at the checkout stand in the grocery store, you might start to realize that a cold case or grab & go items will be beneficial to both you and your customers.
  9. Finding Reliable Barista Training
    1. You’re getting so close to that grand opening that you can almost taste it. Everything is planned out to perfection and you’ve hired a dynamite staff that will make every customer feel special. But then you realize that most of them don’t know anything about coffee and the few that do know something about coffee have been taught different techniques by different people. You’re in need of barista training. There are many options out there that provide ample training for your baristas. This will help to make sure you and all your employees are on the same page, allowing the drinks you are serving to come out more consistent, even when they’re being made by different baristas every time. Overall, this consistency is something your customers will love.
  10. Consolidating Distributors
    1. There are so many different aspects to a coffee shop, as we’ve mentioned above. You need coffee, cups, milks, alternative milks, tech services, water filtration, grab & go items, barista training, and more. One of the best things you can do is research the distributors in your area and try to consolidate as many things as possible. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to get one delivery containing all your milk, snacks, and coffee? What if you could get all of that and the distributor offered tech services? The more consolidated your distributor list is, the less things there are for you to keep track of. You can check to see if your distributor sells machines or offers barista training or can recommend water filtration systems to fit your needs. The more things you can consolidate to a single distributor, the easier your life will be.

Overall, opening a coffee shop, while it may seem daunting, can be a fun and rewarding process. So, go ahead, dream big, figure out what you want, and then dial in to some of the finer details that you might have overlooked in your initial excitement.

Leave a Reply