There are all sorts of advice out there on how to start a successful coffee café. However, at the end of the day, you realize there is no one straight-forward magic bullet that you can implement to help you setup a successful coffee shop right away. So it’s better to pursue something practical rather than a set or rules written on a tablet. The points highlighted below will help you kick-start your coffee café business.
Be a master of the thing you want to sell and only work with like-minded people
Master everything you need to know about coffee, including the various brewing styles. Learn about the altitude of the plant, the variety, its origin, cupping notes and so on. This information can be found online or by reading books.
And then share this knowledge and passion with your staff. If they don’t feel the same about the subject, they will not be useful for your bottom line.
This means you should not hire sales people for the sake of it. Instead, hire people who are passionate about coffee. Hire people who have smiles on their eyes and lips. Once you have such people to work with, you need to nurture them and also pay them well.
Knowing your competitors and what they do is very essential when it comes to pursuing success in every business. After all, everyone sells coffee around you. Why exactly would someone want to come to your café and not the other one across the street?
To answer this question, you will need to investigate all coffee cafes that are within 50 miles radius. Ask yourself the ultimate question; who else is doing what you’re doing? If no one is offering what you’re offering, then it means you’re on the right track.
Thinking metrics shouldn’t sound like rocket science. People start by figuring out how many cups of coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, or espresso shots that is needed to break even.
Secondly, they figure out how many cups a day should be sold in order to get them paid as well. Once that happens, it’s time to focus on the replacement cost of the product (if you plan for deliveries too. All people will complain when your prices are too higher. If nobody complains about your prices, it means they are too low. Finally, if only a few people complain, it means your products are priced perfectly.
Provided you own the business, pricing should be your number one concern. Your revenue should grow together with total expense.
Think about increasing your prices slowly by a nickel for instance. See if people will realize it as time goes by. If lots of them complain, then it means your products and customer service isn’t that good. But if they don’t care, then it means your products and level of customer service is excellent.
Then there is the perceived value of the coffee you are offering. The question now becomes how to raise this value so that you can even sell a pound of this coffee for $50.
This means providing information to your customers that will communicate the value of the coffee. It may mean having pictures of the farmers who plant it, and also stating whether it’s organic or fair trade. Finally, you may want to highlight the fact that part of the proceeds will go to an organization if you are a well-wisher.
Also, if you’ve been communicating all this information on social media and email, chances are that customers won’t complain when you raise your prices.
Locate the right building to conduct your business from
Coffee restaurants need good location to sell. This means finding a place that is centrally located, where people gather all the time. This place should equally provide space that is sufficient enough to accommodate your vision.
The problem, however, is that finding this ideal location isn’t always a walk in the park. You might want to inspect your city and even record pedestrian traffic. But once you find that spot, rest assured that it will fit well with your vision to succeed in the coffee restaurant business.
Look for a good floor plan
A good floor plan lets customers have space to queue up while still allowing them the privilege of a comfortable sitting area. At the same time, employees must have enough space to render all useful materials within reach.
Picture all ideal scenarios of a coffee café. For instance, if you think about making coffee, what materials do you need near you? If you are the consumer, what exactly do you need to see or experience in the seating area? Once you have visualized the picture, you should put it down on paper.
By now, you should have your floor plan on paper. Now it’s time to take it online and play around with it. Fortunately, there are a couple of websites that let you do this for free.
The Auto-desk Homestyler is a good website for this purpose. It lets you design floor plans from scratch if you want to. But you could also make use of pre-designed floor plan templates and customize them according to your liking.
The website has an option for letting you experiment the space with real world products and brands. This is advantageous because you can instantly see how your new coffee café will look like, even though it’s not yet ready.
Finally, don’t forget a good business plan
In all this, you will still find the role of a good business plan indispensable. A business plan acts as a map that guides your vision.
It is usually a document that will highlight what your business is about, how it plans to make profits and expand its operations and so on. What is more, this document should provide strategies on how to troubleshoot problems when they arise.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be a traditional one that takes weeks to craft together. You could go with the lean business plan strategy. This one takes an hour to make, and it contains all the benefits of a traditional business plan.
In this business plan, you start with a pitch that highlights what your business is all about in one page. Ideally, this is your business strategy put into one page. This page can always be updated quickly and frequently as you learn your business.
With those steps, you can start the road to a successful coffee café. It doesn’t have to be complicated when you have the resources and what it takes to succeed. And do not imagine for a second that you will fail.