Updated: Apr 25, 2019
Starting a coffee shop can be expensive. Some estimates of coffee business startup go upto $300, 000. However, starting a coffee shop doesn't have to be pricey if it is planned properly.
In this post, we will be discussing several low cost alternatives to start a coffee business. So, if you’re serious about opening your own coffee shop, this article will serve as a guide that will help you understand what goes into a business, coffee shop or not.
Let's start from the basic.
If you walk into an independent coffee shop anywhere in the world, the menu may change, but the ordering process will be pretty similar. You know you’re going to walk up to the counter to order and pay for your drink, then wait as your order is called. So, it boils down to 3 steps
You need just a few basic things: coffee, water, and some type of brewer. These are basics, but you already get the idea.
“How much does it cost to open a coffee shop?”
There’s no hard and fast answer on how much it costs to start a coffee shop. Your costs will depend upon the type of coffee shop you want to open, the costs of the retail space and many other variables.
Purchasing a franchise
In this case most of the major business decisions will be made for you. For a franchise fee, you will be provided with a turnkey business in a location selected by the provider of the franchise. This requires an initial investment depending on the franchise brand.
Buying an existing business
This is another way to acquire a pre setup operation. However, finding a profitable business for sale is not an easy task.
Starting from scratch
This option requires the most effort but has the most flexibility and the best potential to maximize profits.
There are multiple options available if you want to start from scratch.
Mobile Coffee Truck
Starting a mobile coffee truck is a low-cost way of breaking into the retail coffee industry. Whether you're interested attending concerts, festivals, or other events – selling coffee in a mobile unit can be profitable.
Coffee Business & Co-working spaces
Shared work spaces are often wonderful places for people to work in today’s economy. Clients can work and hold meetings at shared work spaces. A coffee business within a shared work space can work as we have seen it done several times. The benefits are obvious to everyone involved – a shared work space can offer their “tenants” coffee and generate greater income.
You can also tie up with existing co-working spaces.
Cozy 10-15 Seater Coffee Shop
When opening a coffee shop, consider that gourmet coffee/tea drinkers want more than a mug of ordinary coffee or a teabag in a cup. Given the competitive market for this niche, there is little chance a coffee shop business will attract regular customers and thrive unless you can consistently serve the best regular and specialty coffees, teas, and snacks. Succeed in doing this and customers will choose you over the competition.
Online Speciality Coffee Shop
With growing demand and technological advancements, online coffee business has also seen growth in last few years. With a well thought-out social media plan, search-engine optimization and paid media strategies, an online coffee business can thrive and grow much better than any other alternatives. (Read my blog on how to setup an online e-commerce store).
Having a specialised/theme-based coffee shop is seen to have drawn more customers than regular ones. So defining a concept should also be a key element in your business plan.
You might want to open an "old school coffee shop" with traditional brews or expresso-based coffee but an excellent menu for snack and dessert as well or a mordern place experimenting with new tech.
You'll also need to think about who your customers will be ~ office workers, students, seniors ~ and design the place accordingly.
Another key question is what type of coffee you will offer. If you are in a coffee producing country., will you use the national beans. If you want to import beans, do you know how to do that? From where? How often?
These questions are core of your business. Feeling daunted by the amount of work? Don't be. Every step takes you closer to realising your dreams. So start planning and get ready for your own coffee adventure!