How to Start a Coffee Brand

Starting a Coffee Brand

At Texas Coffee School, we know we can teach anyone to make an excellent cup of coffee. But, it’s a strong brand that will keep customers coming back. Your coffee brand is the way people perceive and experience your business; such as the look, feel, values, and personality you offer. New streams of revenue like products, merchandise, coffee trucks and carts, multiple locations, and other brand extensions come to life from a central brand. But how do you establish a coffee shop brand as you’re starting or growing your business? 

Read on to learn our tips for a coffee brand strategy that include:

  • Staying power
  • A target audience
  • High quality
  • Growth
  • Priorities
  • Visuals
  • Loyal customers

Building a Coffee Brand With Staying Power:

A well-built brand can endure for decades. The Coca-Cola Company began in 1892 and acquired a number of companies to build its global brand value of over $70 billion. Harley-Davidson was birthed in 1903 and adopted by a niche group of motorcycle riders. And the green mermaid coffee company opened its doors over 50 years ago in 1971, offering an innovative experience to neighborhoods. Even Texas Coffee School is over a decade old, with brand awareness growing daily!

Your coffee shop brand has the potential to last as long as your business keeps brewing. Here are a few coffee business branding tips to get you started.

Unique Business Concept + Knowing Your Audience

kind cafe

Building a unique business concept is a pillar of our curriculum. It’s one of the first things we teach Coffeepreneurs® like Megan and Alex, who built a coffee brand on the concept of kindness. The Kind Cafe resides in the small town of Fairhope, Alabama. The cousins and co-founders focus on offering a kind interaction to each customer. And in a small town like Fairhope, their hospitality will encourage customers to become regulars.

Successful coffee shops identify and understand their target audience. These people live, work, or drive near your store’s location. And building a coffee brand that’s tailored toward a niche group is more effective than a catch-all approach to branding. Therefore, take time in the early stages of your brand development to hone in on your ideal customers.

Start With Quality

Although financing a coffee shop is hard work, you don’t want to skimp on quality. Invest the money and time to develop excellence around the following aspects of your cafe:

  • Products: Well-brewed coffee, diligently-sourced coffee beans, and properly-steamed milk are musts.
  • Services: Identify what drinks, food, and merchandise you plan to offer and set effective menu pricing. Menu pricing should not be arbitrary–it should be profitable enough for your business while still matching the audience’s expectations.
  • Customer Experience: Customers should feel valued, respected, and excited to visit your shop. Any experience that’s negligent or less than top-notch risks driving away potential regulars. 
  • Aesthetics: Lastly, don’t forget the importance of a high quality aesthetic! Invest in coffee equipment, furniture, and decor that represents your brand and emulates value.

Consider How You Want Your Coffee Brand to Grow

The beauty of a reputable brand is that it’s also replicable. Whether you introduce coffee brand extensions or even a coffee franchise, consider your business operations several years down the road. Ways to grow your coffee shop brand include:

  • A creative or alternate location to your coffee shop. Drive thrus, curbside pick-up, and outdoor seating can be incorporated into your preexisting design to grow your coffee business.
  • Portable points of sale. Coffee trucks and coffee carts are an on-the-go, affordable option to serve beverages to a wider audience. Thus, explore local options for locations and events!
  • Retail or point-of-purchase displays. You can generate extra revenue for your coffee business by offering coffee beans, branded merchandise, gift cards, and even grocery items to customers while they visit.
  • Events and experiences. These could include art installations, coffee tastings, yoga classes, study sessions for college students, live music, and fundraisers for local nonprofits.

oak cliff coffeeOak Cliff Coffee Roasters, founded by Coffeepreneur® Shannon Neffendorf, began as a coffee roastery before launching coffee brand extensions. Shannon and his wife, Jenni, roasted green coffee beans on a gas grill and sold coffee to people in their greater neighborhood area before they began selling wholesale to coffee shops. Eventually, they opened a brick-and-mortar coffee shop called Davis Street Espresso.

These days, Davis Street Espresso sells a simple menu of coffee drinks, freshly made bread and baked goods, t-shirts, home coffee brewing equipment, and their original products of coffee beans and chocolate. As a result, the company’s success is propelled by their constant growth and strong brand presence in the community.

Focus on What You Do Best

Your coffee shop can’t be all things to all people–and it doesn’t have to be. A watered-down brand inspires no one. Instead, consider your passion: your why behind starting the business. Whether it’s concocting specialty lattes, selling snacks to busy professionals, or even hosting a neighborhood library, identify your niche and perfect it.

Create a Visual Brand Worth Remembering

flat track

There’s a reason that a brand logo is the MOST recognizable brand identifier. According to RenderForest, 75% of people recognize a brand by its logo, 60% by visual style, and 45% by the signature color. Retail stores like coffee shops also have to create in-store visuals. Here are some coffee brand design considerations:

  • First impression
  • Lighting
  • Seating
  • Big statements and small accents 
  • Spaces

Stay Connected With Your Loyal Customers

The success of numerous popular coffee brands ultimately lies within loyal customers. Focus on a niche customer segment, choose the right location, design a menu with your customers in mind, and create a rewards program to keep regulars coming back.

Building a coffee brand is a key component to our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. Join us for a weekend in 2022 to receive professional guidance on launching your future coffee shop brand!

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We’ve helped hundreds of students successfully launch their own coffee shop businesses. Join us in our 5-Star Rated Coffee Classes, whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to open a coffee shop, a manager, a barista or home enthusiast looking to sharpen your skills.