Are you a current or aspiring Coffeepreneur® with plans to grow your coffee shop? Do you dream of multiple locations and a team of employees to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine? Here’s some good news. We believe if you can successfully launch one storefront, you’re not far off from scaling into many more.
Intuit predicts that 17 million new small businesses will launch in 2022. Your coffee business can sail ahead of the crowd with these three tips on how to grow:
- Refine your coffee shop operations
- Invest in your people
- Create a memorable brand
We teach coffee shop managers critical business operations and management skills to effectively run a coffee shop.
Refine Your Coffee Shop Operations
To scale your coffee shop, start with operations. A tightly-run coffee shop can be more easily replicated. A common mistake that many coffee shop owners make? Putting the cart ahead of the horse by hiring a manager too soon.
Before bringing in another pair of hands, you—the owner—are responsible for putting a system in place. In other words, start by working in your business. Later, you can work on your business. “Your job is to prepare yourself and your business for growth,” writes Michael E. Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited.
Setting up coffee shop operations best practices includes:
- Delegation. Decide what employees’ roles will look like on a daily basis. In addition, you can write an employee operations manual with standards for opening procedures, down-time, cleaning, and closing.
- Organization. Your back-of-house inventory needs organization and labels. When everyone knows where everything is, ordering and operations run more smoothly.
- Cleaning schedule. Set a schedule for staff to dust, scrub mats, clean equipment, and so on.
Once you’ve built a strong foundation, you can hire a manager externally. Look for resumes with experience (ideally in a large fast-casual dining establishment, or a coffee chain). Thus, you can welcome someone who’ll apply their learned skills to the system you’ve created and make it even better.
Set a Timeline to Grow Your Coffee Shop
Now that you have a competent manager running operations, you can set a growth timeline. A reasonable initial goal is to open one store per year. And the profitability tipping point happens at four stores. At this point, you have enough volume to buy supplies in greater bulk (lowering your costs), and you can justify roasting your own beans with much less risk since you have sales volume and sales data.
Once you’re an established brand and you have a solid infrastructure in place, you can consider bringing in a strategic partner to help you scale from four stores to dozens of stores. The possibilities are endless.
Invest in Your People
The success—and ultimately, growth—of a business depends on two groups of people: its customers and employees.
Loyal customers are your sweet spot when it comes to a target audience. One returning customer who tells their friends about your shop is worth dozens of one-time visitors. And you can build a loyal customer base by starting with a niche segment. Do you plan to serve stay-at-home parents? Remote workers? Early risers? Whoever it is, create an experience just for them.
Next, focus on other parts of the business that impact a customer’s visit. Your business concept, menu, and shop location matter. By getting these things right, you’ll meet people where they are with a user experience they’ll love.
Successful coffee shop managers have a plan to help each team member grow. And investing in the future of your employees might even make them more loyal to the company, thus reducing turnover. Quality barista training can teach or refresh baristas on how to make great drinks, track inventory + waste, and offer customer service.
It also helps to communicate clearly with employees. Give positive feedback, share staff schedules early in advance, encourage promotions, and offer constructive criticism when needed. This kind of clarity will ensure no employee is in the dark. Moreover, it builds trust and teamwork.
Create a Memorable Brand
A unique, memorable brand will endure as you scale with multiple locations and managers. A coffee brand strategy needs quality products, growth opportunities, and strong visuals.
Financing a coffee shop is hard work, but you don’t want to skimp on quality. Invest in ingredients, menu items, and aesthetics that represent your brand’s excellence. Also consider ways that your shop can increase revenue, whether through a portable point of sale (like a coffee cart), merchandise, and events. And create a brand that’s worth remembering. Your logo, colors, and interior design will shape how people talk about your shop.
Try out marketing tips that can help your business grow in brand awareness. Social media is one major way to connect with your audience. Social media tips for coffee shops include using video, behind-the-scenes, and paid marketing content.
Learn how to open—and grow—a coffee shop when you attend our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. Our modern approach to training enables our students to achieve more capability in less time than any other coffee business course.
Ready to get started? Register for an upcoming class today.