Coffee culture is booming in the UK – and what better way to take advantage of that than by starting a coffee shop?
Whether you’re a small business novice or a serial entrepreneur, there are specific things you need to know when starting a coffee shop. Here, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to get you on your feet.
To get you started, we've created a quick step-by-step guide to setting up your own coffee shop. Read on for more details on each step.
Finding your niche is important for a market as crowded as coffee.
Depending on where you are in the country, it could simply be that your niche is that you are the only specialist coffee shop in the area. However, in busier areas, you’ll need to differentiate yourself: for example, do you specialise in V60 and Aeropress? Or, like Black Sheep, do you use a specific kind of bean?
It'll take some research, but finding a unique take on coffe ahtat you - and your potential customers - are excited about is the first step to building a thriving business.
Location, location, location – it’s a crucial consideration for consumer businesses with premises.
You’ll want to look for somewhere with a good amount of passing traffic, close to other businesses and amenities. If your search area is broad, you should also think about the locations in which you’re most likely to be able to secure the best staff.
Finally, you need to think about budget – and don’t forget business rates.
A great coffee shop needs great produce. You’ll need to pick your suppliers carefully, and you’ll need to look after those relationships carefully.
Remember that your choice of supplier might also be connected to your specialism – for example, if you choose a specific type of bean, you’ll need to find the best supplier in that category. You’ll also need to think about things like credit and payment terms, which will be especially important in the early months as you are building up custom
Staffing is crucial. You’ll need specialist baristas and potentially front of house staff.
Coffee is now such a big business that there are several specialist barista recruitment agencies, but you should make sure that you understand the costs of using recruitment agencies.
There are some key steps you need to take immediately in order to be on the right side of the law. You’ll need to choose a legal structure, and register with HMRC. After that, you’ll need to pay Corporation Tax, and you may need to register for VAT.
You’ll also need to think about insurance. Simply Business offers specialist coffee shop insurance, which includes covers such as public liability and employers’ liability insurance.
Once you’re set up, you need customers! Marketing your coffee shop is one of your most important priorities in order to make sure people start coming through your door.
Your marketing efforts will likely be split across multiple channels, both online and offline. This could be as simple as a great A-board outside, or as advanced as a complete Google My Business strategy.
It’s also useful to learn what not to do, so check out our 7 common small business marketing mistakes.
Now that you have customers, you need to encourage them to keep coming back. Repeat custom is the most valuable kind, and you should take all the steps you can to make sure you build it.
Many coffee shops operate loyalty schemes, or you might also investigate ‘local currency’, depending on where you’re based.
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