6 Tips to Starting a Coffee Shop


The coffee shop market is booming with two billion cups of coffee sold in the UK each year. Good news for anyone looking at starting a coffee shop is that the market is still growing. Coffee is a massive part of UK culture with coffee shops offering social space with quality bean to cup coffee. Brands such as Starbucks, Costa and Pret continue to lead the market. The good news is that the coffee market is buzzing with independent coffee shops. According to recent numbers published by the London Coffee Festival, Independent coffee shops out number big brands by 2 to 1 which is great news for new business owners. Coffee sells and the GP% made per coffee is excellent at around 65% to 80%. The coffee shop market is a growing and healthy market which continues to see new coffee shops opening each week across the UK.

Check out our 6 steps to opening a coffee shop

  1. Get Some Know How

Making a quality cup of coffee is crucial to the success of any coffee shop. The millennial generation know their coffee and as we have seen, consumers are not price sensitive to the price of coffee. So if you are looking to a start a coffee shop then it would be advisable to get some experience of working in a coffee shop environment. Do you know how to make the perfect Latte or cappuccino? This will also give you the perfect opportunity to view your market, consumer spending and come up with ideas for your product offer.

  1. Stand out from the competition

    starting a coffee shop

With so much competition in the high street, trying to compete with the largest global brands will only make your efforts that much harder. The reason why there are so many successful independent coffee street brands is because they develop a unique identity that sets them apart from the normal high street brands. You will want to give customers a reason to choose you over the competition. Décor, ambience, image, your menu, food offer, promotions and sourcing of your coffee can all be ways to help you stand out from the crowd. Maybe your coffee shop has an Edwardian Tea room décor or you serve afternoon tea or offer a homemade cake selection. These can be unique selling points that will help draw customers to your coffee shop. Do your market research to identify what your customers want, find out any gaps in the market and help shape your own business identity?

  1. Location, Location, Location

Having a location where there is plenty of foot traffic will be important to the success of any coffee shop. According to research, two thirds of people will buy coffee when they are out whether on their way to work or shopping. Alternatively towns with residential areas and schools close by can also be a great location for a coffee shop. Remember it will be costly to have premises in a busy location but the footfall will be larger. A good benchmark will be to see where the large coffee shop brands are located as this will give you a good indication that the location will see a large footfall of customers. Do your research as choosing the wrong location will easily see your business fail.

  1. Size of premises

Consider the size of premises that you want to rent. Are you looking to have a large coffee shop with plenty of space for seating or maybe a quick style kiosk or mobile van for customers looking to grab and go on their way to work. Again cost will come into any decisions you make.

  1. Food Offer

    starting a coffee shop

Having a food and snack offer is a reason why many customers will also look to visit your coffee shop. The big high-street brands have crafted and developed their range offering breakfast and snack ranges available to eat in or takeaway. Healthy salads, fruit pots, breakfast items including bagels, Danish and croissant selection, hot lunch offers such as pasta pots, easy grab and go meals to extensive selections of cakes, snacks and retail are some of the food offers available in your high street cafes. As well as attracting customers to your coffee shop, having a good quality food offer can help boost your sales significantly increasing your average spend per head and boosting your overall profit. Look at the major high street brands, their food offer is convenient, high quality, well branded and packaged and constantly evolving with customer tastes and trends. Some of the successful independent coffee shops will have homemade cake selections or a Mediterranean deli offer which are again unique selling points that can help make you stand out from the crowd and attract customers to your business.

  1. Food Safety and Health & Safety Compliance

Compliance with food legislation will be a necessary requirement for any food service establishment. You must register your business with the local authority and your working practices should meet national food safety standards. A HACCP system better known as Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points, will need to be in place which will help identify the most common food safety hazards and the necessary controls for prevention.




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