The Business of Making Coffee: 3 Tips on Running a Successful Café

The Business of Making Coffee: 3 Tips on Running a Successful Café

The following article is a guest post.

Before anything else, let us define what a successful coffee shop means. For the benefit of this article, success will be defined as getting a steady profit and being financially stable.

Success is attained either through hard work or luck. If you came across a weird business model or a quirky product (like fidget spinners), its success is probably due to luck.

While there are others who clearly worked and elbowed their way through success, some of which only succeeded after years of struggle. However, there are times when success is a combination of both, and hopefully, your coffee shop is a product of that.

Whether you just had the idea while maneuvering your Nespresso coffee machine this morning or it has been a plan for many years, you can’t go wrong with starting a coffee, tea, and pastry shop. Pass by any popular coffee chain or even small, independent ones, there will always be customers filing in to get their cup of joe. But its success is dependent on how you can maximize the tried and tested business model, pioneered by Starbucks and replicated by other successful coffee chains around the world.

1. Buy the best equipment.

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People rarely care about a product being 100% of the quality you are marketing it to be. There are just some items that are better with less of what you are offering.

Take shirts, for instance. Some people prefer a cotton-polyester blend than a 100% cotton shirt because the latter is thicker and the former holds color longer. The same is not true for coffee.

If you do not serve the best espresso, coffee consumers will most likely walk past your shop. To do this, other than knowing how to create espresso, you have to use the best equipment for it. Additionally, get only the best Arabica beans or a mixture of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta beans.

2. No need to be in a high traffic location.

One of the top worries of independent coffee shop owners is not getting as many customers as cafes like Starbucks. So they choose high traffic locations, hoping that the exposure would get the word faster than waiting for coffee enthusiasts to recommend it to their friends.

This kind of strategy does not exactly work for coffee.

Remember that drinking coffee is more of a lifestyle rather than just some product people can buy on impulse. They have to choose to be there. Not to mention, being in high traffic locations mean higher rent and more intense competition.

Think back on the independent coffee shops you have visited before, how did you find them? You found them because of coffee enthusiasts spreading the word and on social media.

There is a reason why ‘aesthetic cafes’ are getting so much attention, and it isn’t just for Instagram. It’s because they were able to create an atmosphere of casual relaxation through their decor, and it just happens to look great.

So don’t focus too much on getting high traffic. Instead, show them that you have the atmosphere they are looking for as well as the best coffee they’ll ever have.

3. Make sure the workstation follows a smooth flow.

One of your concerns isn’t just the design you’re going to have, but the placing of chairs and tables as well.

Again, cafes are supposed to be the perfect place to work, have a conversation with, to meet with friends, and so on. It has to be relaxed, and you can do this by knowing where to put your couches and tables in the store.

To borrow a term from digital marketing, you can do an A/B testing for this.

You just can’t assume that big groups of friends don’t like being sat in the middle of the cafe (even if this is a common behavior), you need to test it out. You can do this by situating big tables or couches at two places: one in the middle and one at the corners of the cafe, and then observe where your customers are sitting.

The workstation layout is also important. You don’t want your baristas fumbling and bumping into each other, especially during the rush hours. Make sure that everything is accessible, from the coffee machine up to the bins underneath the counter.

Go back to your business plan and keep these tips in mind so that these can guide you while you’re making improvements. Good luck on your coffee shop!

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