No matter where you are in the coffee journey, 2023 could be a game-changing year for your coffee shop. From brand new Coffeepreneurs® to tenured cafe owners, everyone has more to learn when it comes to succeeding in the industry. That’s why we’re bringing you our best business tips for coffee shops in 2023—and beyond.
Here’s what you’ll learn how to do in this guide:
- Get your finances in order.
- Create a functional floor plan.
- Dial in operations.
- Pay attention to coffee shop trends.
- Consider a hybrid business model.
Sound like a tall order? Don’t worry. Many of our resources are free and available to you. Let’s get started.
1. Get Your Finances in Order
Many Coffeepreneurs® come to our classes asking, “Can a coffee shop actually be profitable?” The answer is yes—with the right funding and a financial plan. And how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, anyway?
If you’re starting a traditional coffee shop, expect to invest $350,000 to $625,000 before opening your doors. Coffee businesses that require less in startup funds include a mobile coffee cart ($12,000 to $25,000) and a coffee truck ($50,000 to $125,000).
But not all that money has to come out of your pocket. Grants, crowdfunding, private investment, and partnerships can help you tap into deeper financial buckets.
And whether you’re a brand new coffee shop owner or have a few years under your belt, it’s worth creating a 5 Year Financial Plan. This should include the total start-up investment amount, budget, annual projected sales, five-year growth, and return on investment (ROI) timeline. As for ROI, we tell our students that the first year of running a cafe will be challenging. Expect to break even or become profitable in about three to four years.
2. Create a Functional Floor Plan
It might be time for a little furniture rearranging to create a functional floor plan. If the work station is cramped, storage is taking up valuable seating space, or customer lines are out the door, your coffee shop’s layout might need a little work.
Here are a few quick tips for maximizing the shop layout:
- Finish planning the menu before you build out anything. The menu will dictate what kind of equipment you need.
- Provide baristas with enough space to rotate 360 degrees and reach everything.
- Store upwards, not outwards with vertical storage.
- Opt for smaller tables to maximize seating. And depending on how long you want customers to stay, couches may not be the best choice.
- Design a circular, not linear, customer flow.
- Consider drive thrus, walk-up windows, and curbside pick-up to get more drinks out the door in a convenient way for customers.
3. Dial in Operations
One of our top suggestions for preventing burnout in 2023 is by fine-tuning coffee shop operations so that you, the owner, don’t have to micromanage. We understand that good entrepreneurs are able to roll up their sleeves and make a latte or sweep the floor if needed. But ideally, you can put a system in place for that.
Start by focusing on your team. Hiring a manager and training a trainer can keep a team of baristas functioning smoothly. Next, make sure every employee is clear on their role and what they should be doing every hour of the work day.
There are also several resources you can create to summarize operational standards and identify inefficiencies. These include a deployment map, cleaning checklist, and budgeting guidelines. Then try visiting the shop as a customer to notice any surface-level inefficiencies.
4. Pay Attention to Coffee Shop Trends
Are you up to speed with the latest coffee shop trends? Coffee consumption is on the rise, cold brew is in, and young Americans are drinking more coffee than ever before. Even if your seats are full now, the industry changes quickly. Successful coffee shops continue to innovate and bring new customers through the doors.
A few ways to appeal to a younger generation—and stay relevant in the market—include:
- Updating your coffee shop menu
- Ramping up or investing in your social media presence
- Becoming a responsible brand that aligns with a cause
5. Consider a Hybrid Business Model
Finally, the anthem we won’t stop singing is that of a hybrid coffee shop business model. Coffee plus a primary or secondary revenue stream can help increase the number of transactions and the dollar amount of the average transaction. This equals more revenue and even a larger target audience.
We’ve seen coffee + beer, coffee + floral arrangements, coffee + motorcycles, coffee + barber shops, and so many other creative models. Coffee drinkers in your area will be eager to see what you come up with!
Learn More Business Tips for Coffee Shops at Texas Coffee School
If you found this guide helpful, just wait until you attend our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class! We give students hands-on training for every step of starting their own coffee shop business. Ask your burning questions, get more business tips for coffee shops, leave with a 200+ page binder of notes, and come back to us anytime with real-world scenarios you need help navigating.
People need great coffee in 2023. Don’t wait any longer—invest in your success with a comprehensive coffee education.