Things to Think about Before Opening a Coffee Shop

If you are thinking about opening a coffee shop here are few things about the location and customer behaviour you might want to take into consideration.

Whilst many food and drink outlets can be found in high traffic locations it’s not essential that a coffee shop needs to be.  Naturally you will want enough people coming through the door to buy your coffee but there are good reasons for not being in the high street or a massively busy shopping centre; and here’s why:

Rent – can be higher than you ever imagined, indeed astronomical in shopping villages or malls.


Competition – high traffic location retail outlets are usually snapped up by franchise chains, designer clothing businesses, banks and other top notch tenants.  This means that you’ll find it almost impossible to secure a tenancy, let alone afford it.

In addition, a crowded coffee environment may have a negative impact because unlike most businesses you will be selling more than a product or commodity.  Coffee shops are destinations that people visit to enjoy and savour what you have to offer and to relax. If they look out of the window and see high volumes of people rushing to one place or another, or your shop is crowded, they will consciously or subconsciously believe that they too should be in a hurry, or doing something more productive than drinking coffee.

What are you really selling?
You might think it’s obvious what you are selling, ergo coffee, but actually you should consider the many reasons why people visit coffee shops aside from drinking and eating.  They are looking for a place to:

  • Get away from the stress of their offices
  • Have a meeting with friends
  • Work out some ideas away from the workplace
  • Negotiate with business contacts in a friendly environment
  • Have a chat with a familiar coffee shop owner or manager when they are lonely.
  • Meet up with a clandestine lover

So you a providing all of these things, in addition to food and drink, that are extremely important to your customers.  If they can’t comfortably achieve them, they’ll find a place where they can.

Coffee to go
Spend a large part of your marketing budget on promoting “Coffee to go”.  Customers who buy their coffee to take out are paying the same price as those who prefer to enjoy their coffee in your shop. You are likely to serve at least eight coffees to go for every coffee drinker sitting in the shop, and more if your furnishings are too comfortable!

Whilst you want to make sure that your customers’ needs are satisfied, they are not going to pay your rent by sitting for hours using your free WiFi, chatting with their mates on Facebook or Twitter all morning, having purchased a lone cup of coffee. Avoid soft furnishings if you don’t want to encourage this!

Why coffee shops are successful in Europe
If you go into any coffee shop in Spain, Italy, Portugal or anywhere else in Europe you will find that customers chat with the shop or bar owner. Part of the ritual of their coffee drinking is to discuss current events and family with the same friendly face.

Unlike many businesses it’s expected that the owner is front of house in a coffee shop so if you can be hands on and engage personally with your customers, you’ll find your business will prosper and be more profitable.

There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil
Everybody knows that right? Well there is a lot of coffee in The Coffee Wholesalers too, from single origin coffee beans from around the globe to mixed blends, all providing the ultimate in coffee drinking experience. Call us for a quote before Opening a coffee shop.