How to Open a Coffee Shop | A Complete Guide for New Entrepreneurs

The coffee shop business is one of the largest growing business opportunities. After all, almost everyone today starts their day with a cup or two of coffee.

If you have an entrepreneurial mind, you must have thought of tapping into the coffee industry by setting up shop. But, how do you go about that? 

Unlike what you might think, starting a coffee shop involves more than brewing a good coffee and maintaining a nice atmosphere. This article highlights what you need to know, including how to open a coffee shop without prior experience. 

Let's get into it.

6 Tips on How to Open a Coffee Shop

It's easy for new business owners to underestimate what they need to run a successful coffee shop, but every detail matters. There are suppliers to most of the required products and services you need for your coffee shop; however, finding the right ones is key to long-term success.

For instance, a coffee roaster usually supplies the coffee beans used in a coffee shop, so you don't have to worry about them. However, remember that using your own beans can be a unique selling point for your business and help increase sales.

But that's not all that it takes. Here are some tips to keep in mind before opening your shop.

Draw a Coffee Shop Business Plan

The big problem is that people often don't know where to begin, especially when they are new to coffee shop businesses. As such, it's essential to make a solid business plan.

First, you need to understand your budget and how much you can spend on equipment, furniture, drink ingredients, employees, and marketing. Then, if you already have some of the things you need, you must write down everything to help you create a reasonable estimate.

Every business needs a budget; so, the first step is to make one and set goals for how much money you want to spend on certain aspects.

business plan on the tablet screen

Buy Equipment and Furniture

To open a good coffee shop, you need the appropriate equipment and furniture. You'll need espresso machines, grinders, roasters, and blenders. You'll also need to do some decorating and get some nice tables and chairs of high quality.

You can always look for used equipment, but it's best to opt for new ones when possible.

Target the Right Customers

You also need to understand your target customers. Make sure you know who they are and what kind of drinks they enjoy. Learn more about people's preferences, which will help you decide what kind of drinks to serve.

You can also give out surveys and questionnaires about your coffee so that potential customers can offer their input as well.

Find the Ideal Location

Choosing the right location for your new coffee shop is extremely important. You want to get a lot of walk-in traffic, and that will not happen if you're located in an office building or tucked away from all the action.

A good rule of thumb when choosing your coffee shop location is to find the highest traffic area in your city. Then, if there's a bar, large office building, or other attraction nearby, that would be the ideal place to consider opening up a shop.

a woman sitting by the window in the coffee shop

Plan For the Rent

Your rent will depend on where you decide to set up shop, but once you're located, it's time to focus on some more factors that are just as important.

First of all, think about your ambiance. It's essential to create an environment that will be enjoyable for your customers. You don't have to spend a lot on decorating since it's unnecessary. You have to make sure you stimulate people's taste buds before they even get to try the drinks.

Remember the Other Essentials

Apart from the equipment and furniture, you're going to need other essentials to run your coffee business.

First, you'll want to have a good website, so people know everything about your business and they can easily make an order. You'll also need a good logo representing your shop and will stand out in people's minds. You don't have to be a designer to create one; many great online resources will help you with this step.

You can always rely on word of mouth and start with a small budget for marketing, but you must invest in customer loyalty rewards. If people like your coffee shop, they'll come back and tell their friends about it. On a related note, a bed and breakfast business deals with customer expectations, so the most important thing for you is to pass the right message to your customers.

How Do I Open a Coffee Shop With No Experience?

The coffee shop business is excellent, but you need to be prepared for it. If you don't have any experience in the field and want to open up your shop, make sure that you read some books or browse through blogs online. You can also look for consultants who can help with the business plan. 

But, before you get into all that, here are some useful tips to help you get started. 

Start Small

You can always start small by opening a coffee shop in your home and using it as a test run, so you know what to do and how to handle things the proper way. Expand your business if the shop does well with time, but there's no reason to put all your money on the line right away.

The same goes for when you are figuring out who to partner with in your coffee business. When starting small, expert help may be an unnecessary additional cost. However, it becomes a necessity as the business expands.

Increase Your Knowledge Base

There's a lot to learn about coffee, and you can never be too knowledgeable. So make sure you educate yourself as much as possible to have the upper hand over your competitors. What's more, being knowledgeable about this field will help you improve your business strategies and develop new ideas for services or drinks that your customers might find enjoyable.

You can't just open a coffee shop, hope everything works out for the best, and expect customers to come flocking right away. Instead, it would be best if you did some research about your city or town, so you know what's needed to make your customers happy.

a man typing on laptop in a coffee shop

Know Your Competition

Try to learn more about the other coffee shops in the area and determine where yours will fit best. Knowing who you're up against will help you when it comes down to marketing, so make sure you study all the available data.

However, keep in mind that you need a unique selling point. Therefore, studying your competition should not include copying their tactics.

Gear Up for the Hard Work

You might think that operating a coffee shop is a glamorous job, but it's a lot of hard work. Make sure you know what you're signing up for and don't get over your head if you've never worked in the service industry before. It takes time to learn how to handle everything, and you can't expect to be perfect from day one.

Upgrade Your Employees Skills

It would help if coffee shop owners ensured that the people who work for them were properly trained and qualified. Hiring an incompetent staff might hurt your business in the long run because they will not know how to handle customers or create drinks that meet their expectations.

Of course, you're the owner, so you're expected to offer guidance. However, having service-oriented employees is just as important.

two people making coffee in a coffee shop

How Much Do People Make Owning a Coffee Shop?

The answer depends on where your coffee business operates. However, most people think owning a small coffee shop is one of the most profitable small business ideas out there.

A successful coffee shop business can bring in the big bucks. Coffee is a billion-dollar industry, and it just keeps growing. So, both partnership and independent coffee shops can be very profitable businesses. However, being in a partnership involves a bigger initial investment. Still, the second option is riskier since you have to rely on hiring other people and don't have as much control over things.

Either way, you need to have basic knowledge about the market to find where more potential customers are located. You should also have a business plan that caters to marketing and advertising. 

On a related note, if you don't want to do this yourself, you may want to look for a legal advice from some of the best formation services and registered agent services out there. Here are some of the most relevant:

Proven Services to Cover All Legalities of Opening a Coffee Shop

These proven online legal services that we reviewed will help you meet all essential legal requirements if you opt to open a coffee shop. They will also assist you in all legal matters you may encounter in the registration process.

Swyft Filings

Set up in 2015, their positive Swyft Filings reviews are speaking for themselves. Swyft Filings offers one of the best refund policies in the industry. On a bonus side the company also has no processing or cancellation fee for your refund. It is a great company to consider when looking to designate a registered agent service for your coffee shop or any other business.


BizFilings takes you through the whole process from quality check to post-incorporation and also offers on-going support. You can choose various payment plans based on the features you want and your budget. The features in the higher-end packages are also available in the lower-end packages but at an additional fee. With an A+ rating with the BBB, our BizFilings review confirms that it's a trusted online formation service. 

SunDoc Filings

When compared to other formation services, SunDoc Filings provides volume discounts for multiple states and entities and equally amazing customer support. However, if you want a service that will save you money, you may find other services in the online legal niche that will help you open a coffee shop for less money. Also, you may not choose SunDoc Filings if you are looking for a business formation service with payment packages with tons of features and free registered agent service. Their services will suffice for a coffee shop, though.

Inc Authority

This is one of the most reputable companies you can pick as your registered agent service. Inc Authority has enough experience in the business registration niche, having been founded in the 1980s. Its free payment package stands out in what they offer. Loads of positive customer reviews speak for themselves how satisfied and happy with their services and their LLC formation speed their clients are. 


MyCorporation is known for offering a fast LLC formation process. If you wish to speed up the process turnaround time, you can use their expedited service, reducing the process from weeks to a few days, though for a fee which is reasonable for a prospective coffee shop owner. Nonetheless, MyCorporation is an excellent pick as your registered agent. It offers numerous payment packages with various features depending on your coffee shop start-up budget.

two women standing in front of a coffee shop

Opening a Coffee Shop Ins and Outs Summary

Although coffee businesses are profitable, opening a coffee shop is daunting. You need patience, knowledge, and perseverance because coffee shop operations are not easy. However, the most challenging part is to start. It becomes easier to figure things out once you have an existing coffee shop.

The most important thing to remember is that you can always start small. Even then, don't be quick to invest your money in the coffee business without doing the needed research. Once you have all the information you need, it's time to draw a coffee shop business plan and get things rolling.

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