You’ve received loan approval, signed your building contract, and started promoting your business. Opening a coffee shop involves many detailed steps to have a successful business. Here are some things to keep in mind before opening day.
Make a detailed list of required business supplies. Then, speak with a mentor, or visit one of your competitors. Make notes on the variety of utensils used. Compare your list to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Set aside cash to cover last-minute trips to a local department store to refill supplies. Have these items on your grand opening supply list:
- Custom disposable coffee cups, lids, and straws
- Napkins and napkin holders
- Trays and tray liners
- Washable plates and utensils
- Sweetener, sugar, and dairy packets
Will you be roasting proprietary coffee or grinding beans from a local supplier? Will your supplier be able to meet your demand? Running out of coffee during the opening week can make you lose customers before they even walk through the door. Consider building relationships with two different vendors to prevent supply issues. Small businesses are more susceptible to supply concerns than larger businesses. Family emergencies, power outages, or natural disasters can affect smaller businesses.
Make sure you have enough ingredients for the first month. Calculate how long it takes you to receive a supply order and base your order on that timeframe. Be prepared for unique requests. Do a quick search for unique coffee orders. Ask yourself how you handle these requests. You may need to add salt, pepper, or citrus fruit to your supplies. Don’t forget to treat the pooches and add dog-friendly treats to your menu.
Investing in commercial equipment will save on future replacement costs. While you may want to serve pastries on delicate dishware, the excessive heat and repeated use shorten the life of the dishes. Look into commercial quality dishes, utensils, blenders, and appliances. Many coffee roasters can loan or rent coffee equipment. Keep in mind these items are expensive. Equipment leases, rather than purchasing appliances, may be more financially beneficial.
Revisit your interior design. Focus on your theme and make sure that your décor reflects it.
- Build a pleasing color palette that will not reflect unattractive colors on your products.
- Create a lighting system that matches your design plan.
- Use seasonal table centerpieces that complement your theme.
- Make sure the bathroom is aesthetically pleasing.
- Use sound masking to create a soothing environment in your café.
Next, focus on the exterior. Customers should be able to identify the atmosphere by looking at the shop front. If you are leasing the space, you may have limitations based on your lease or ordinances. Be creative by choosing signage that reflects your theme. Freestanding signs or menu kiosks can help draw customers in without making permanent changes to your building.
Determine how many employees you need to keep your coffee shop operating efficiently. You and your employees are the faces of your business. Baristas and counter attendants are responsible for your customers having a pleasant experience. While you may want to save payroll expenses and put more responsibilities on yourself, burnout is real. Hiring an additional person can help you maintain a work-life balance.
Always look toward the future. Many people use vision boards to determine how to expand their business. Some owners want to add new locations. Others want to add new products. Take some time to write down short- and long-term business goals. Those goals will help you grow your company.