So you just got an incredible idea of opening up your very own coffee shop. You have this amazing concept going on in your mind and you’re pretty confident about it, but the only big problem is that you have no experience in this business at all.
Well, guess what? Nobody is born with the experience of starting a coffee shop business. You think Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO, had it all figured out when he opened up his first cafe.
Starting any restaurant is never just about the food. Infact, experts believe it accounts for only about 20% of the restaurant success equation. Same concept applies for a coffee shop too. Ofcourse your coffee needs to be awesome but remember your cafe is a business first and coffee is just a product you are selling.
Therefore, your cafe’s customer service, management and promotional skills have to be phenomenal in order to succeed.
With about a 100 million coffee drinkers in the U.S. alone, there’s probably no way coffee business is ever going down. There may never be a better time to startup a coffee shop than now! Here are some tips to help you get started without any experience. What you need to do is:
- Come up with a Business plan and a Working capital of 3 to 5 months.
- Increase your knowledge and experience from people thriving in the business.
- Hire a good team.
- Look for the perfect location and create an attractive floor plan.
- Find a reliable Equipment Supplier
- Be patient and passionate!
Table of Contents
The Business Plan
To start any kind of entrepreneurial work, you need a business plan that states your concept. A Business plan is the blueprint created to get started with any business.
This document should exactly describe what your business is, how you intend to make it profitable, what your customer base is, explore competitors, future plans for growth, and should also contain troubleshooting strategies.
Having a practical business plan in place, it is much easier to avoid mistakes and correct your shortcomings.
Your business plan should include the following things:
- Executive summary and cafe description: State clearly the concept of your cafe, your cafe’s vision and mission statement and its location.
- Do a complete SWOT analysis: strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Analyze your competitors.
- Outline your prices and costing.
- Define your strategy for publicity and advertising.
A Working Capital
Finding funds for any restaurant business can be difficult. You need a good investment of money to start with to purchase, lease or rent a suitable place, buy the required equipment, and furniture.
You also need money to get all ingredients, pay utility bills and pay your employees for at least the first 3 months as well, i.e before you start getting profit out of your business.
Consider collaborating with your friends and family in investing in your coffee shop. Present a solid, practical business plan to them and discuss their share in your business.
If your family or friends are not an option, or if you will be needing more money than your family or friends can provide, opt for local loan options. You may be eligible for business assistance programs to offset costs. Research on SBA-backed loan and also look into local bank or credit union.
Make sure you have enough money for your personal expenses for at least six months. Set it aside, or consider working another job or a side gig until your business starts giving you profit.
Gain Knowledge and/or Experience
Assess yourself and the experience or knowledge that you already have. Be honest about where you stand and this will be the first crucial step of launching your own restaurant. Once you know your weaknesses, it’s easier to identify where to invest your time and energy for acquiring knowledge and expertise to start your own setup.
Learn about handling finances, accounts and taxes, even though you’ll hire an accountant for that. Broadening your knowledge base will help you take informed decisions instead of putting your entire business at the risk of others.
Take a course, attend seminars, read books or maybe learn from other restaurant owners that are successful in their businesses. Utilize all available sources to learn business.
Education is essential, but so is the real-world experience. Try working at some café or restaurant. Establish good relations and use the opportunity to visit their equipment suppliers, attend workshops and training programs.
Hire a Good Team
Most common mistake done by new startups is thinking they can do all on their own. Hire a group of professionals that are focused on taking care of the people who come in to your shop. You might think that since you’re just starting, handling the books won’t be that difficult.
Find professionals to work for you. Let a good accountant handle the numbers for you. An accountant will also act as a small business consultant.
They can give you insights to make better decisions. Keep yourself free to take care of other important aspects of your business.
Your cafe’s location has to be the one of the biggest factor of success. Just because there are coffee shops scattered wherever people exist doesn’t mean that they are going to be successful in every location. Make sure you thoroughly survey your desired location before considering it.
There are so many restaurants and coffee shops that run out of business just because there was way too much competition.
Gather as much facts and figures about the area before considering a place there . Research and visit as many places you can before deciding.
Conduct a detailed study and market survey. Always consider the following factors before choosing a location for your cafe:
- Demography of the location
- Purchasing and Residential rates of the location
- Number of competitors in that area
- Local laws of the state/city
- Traffic flow, parking space and crime rate
A Floor Plan
A solid floor plan is of paramount importance for a coffee shop. Make good space for your customers to to form a line, employees to have the materials and ingredients within reach to make coffee, and a very comfortable spacious seating area.
Walk yourself through like a customer in every scenario and visualize how it can be made perfect.
Reliable Equipment Supplier
Finding a trustworthy equipment supplier can be a hassle. If you have enough experience in the restaurant business, you might be aware of some brands out there. Find affordable and quality restaurant equipment and supplies in UAE through UAE Ekuep.
And finally, stay passionate about your startup! There are going to be moments when you’ll be confused. Stay focused and stick to your plan.