ALEXANDRIA, VA – Starting a new business is always an exciting event in a soon-to-be entrepreneur’s life. Cafes and coffee shops are still a reliable variety of business that’s very straightforward conceptually. Before jumping straight in, however, there are a few considerations before starting your own coffee shop. Namely, it’s important to fully understand the costs associated with the business, having a long-term plan, and planning to serve more than coffee.
Assessing the Startup Costs
While it might not seem like it, coffee shops are quite expensive to not only start-up but also to run. The cost of a few quality roasters is enough to scare most people away. Besides this, you’ll also need a selection of brewing devices such as a large unit for the daily roast and potential individual French presses and pour-overs depending on the menu.
An espresso machine is also standard, plus the all-important grinder. Besides this and other miscellaneous restaurant tools, you’ll also need to plan ahead for the draw on electricity these machines require. Finally, paying for routine maintenance to keep your machines fine-tuned is all part of the coffee business. Needless to say, a complete funding plan is one of the bigger considerations before starting your own coffee shop.
Expanding Your Market Reach
Even if your coffee shop is wildly successful, chances are it’s in a very limited region with a finite number of possible sales each day. Fortunately, many opportunities exist to help take your coffee shop to the next level and become a much more stable venture. One common way cafes expand their brand is by crafting a line of items intended for commercial distribution.
In particular, shelf-stable cold brews turn up frequently on crowdfunded platforms and some even find their way onto retail shelves. Opening additional locations is another common way local coffee shops expand. Finally, there’s always the opportunity to build into an event venue and offer custom merchandise.
Planning a Complete Menu
The admirable logic of the businessperson with their head in the clouds is essentially, ‘I’ll make coffee (which I love) all day, ergo I will never work again.’ Sadly, that’s rarely how it works. For starters, the markup and demand on a plain cup of coffee are not really going to be enough to float an entire business.
Most coffee shops either have an extensive array of coffee products, a more diversified menu, or both. The fact of the matter is you’ll need to plan a complete menu to capture different needs as customers file in at different times. For instance, a simple selection of breakfast and lunch sandwiches is an effective model even name-brand coffee businesses rely on to bump sales.