The global market for coffee is valued at more than $450 billion. If you want a piece of that, then you might be interested in opening up a coffee shop.

How to Start a Coffee Shop

How to Start a Coffee Shop

But if you’re new to the world of business, then this can feel like a daunting task. That’s why we’ve put together this article. It provides step-by-step instructions for starting a coffee shop that can thrive for years to come.

Let’s get started.

1. Research the Local Market

The first thing you’ll want to do is make an assessment of your local coffee industry. Which companies are doing the best? Why do customers enjoy visiting them? And what can your business do to emulate this kind of success or stand out with its own unique and valuable offerings?

In order to test the market, you can open a liaison office also named a representative office through which you can research the business opportunities and close deals with local partners. 

These are the kinds of questions you want to ask while figuring this out. The goal is to let your research guide you to the ideas that will allow your coffee shop to thrive.

For example, you might find that adding a drive-through would help you stand out. Or maybe serving a certain type of food would help you get more traffic through the door.

2. Source Your Coffee Beans

Next up is identifying a source for your coffee beans. Brazil is the leading coffee-producing country, but options like Vietnam, Columbia, and Indonesia could also make sense for your customers’ taste preferences and the goals of your business.

Make sure to try a wide variety of options before finalizing your decision. That way, you can be sure that you’re making the most informed choice possible.

3. Write a Business Plan

You’re ready to write your business plan at this stage of the process. This is an official document that details what your business will be, how it’s going to make money, your marketing plan for it, vendors you’ll need to work with, such as for your custom printing needs, and your ownership and management structures.

Your business plan is the blueprint you will follow to make your new coffee shop profitable.

Someone with no previous knowledge of your business should be able to read it and see what you’re selling, your profit margins, and your shop’s unique value propositions to determine how you will be profitable.

4. Get Funding and Licensing

It will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars to start a coffee shop (if not more). You may need to get a loan from a bank to gather these start up funds. You will need your business plan to do that, which is why we told you to create it in the previous step.

Your coffee shop is also going to need various local, state, and federal licenses and permits before being able to serve customers. Make sure that you apply for these early so you can begin serving food and drinks as soon as you’re ready to open your doors.

If you want to know more about starting a business, you can find relevant information at

5. Manage Your Risk

Before taking another step forward, it’s time to start managing your risk. For example, you can get workers’ compensation for retail business to help cover unexpected expenses from workplace accidents, lost wages, permanent injury, and other kinds of employer liability.

Having one of these insurance plans in place will allow you to move forward without worrying about what would happen in a worst-case scenario. In addition, you’ll be able to execute your vision more effectively once you know that you’ve managed your risk properly.

6. Order Your Equipment

Now you’re ready to begin purchasing the equipment you need to run your coffee shop. This will likely include the following:

  • Coffee Brewers
  • An Espresso Machine
  • Coffee Grinders
  • Hot Water Dispensers
  • A Reach-in Refrigerator
  • An Ice Machine
  • A Bakery Display Case
  • Frothing Pitchers
  • Tea and Coffee Mugs
  • Espresso Cups
  • Cup, Lid, and Straw Organizers
  • Aprons
  • And more

7. Hire Your Employees

With your coffee shop stocked and nearing completion, you’re ready to begin hiring the employees who will work the shop. You can find qualified applicants by posting about your open positions on online job sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and others.

It’s also a good idea to advertise that you’re hiring on the doors of your still-closed coffee shop.

People often stop by to look and see what you’re building when they pass by an under-construction retail location. If they see help-wanted signs when they do that, they may tell their friends, family members, and other job-seekers they know.

8. Open Your Doors

At this stage, all that’s left to do is complete the finishing touches and open up your doors. You may want to market your grand opening in local newspapers, television commercials, and billboards to generate some excitement.

You could even run a special opening promotion to really get people in the door. The key to keeping customers who try your shop will be ensuring that you always provide great food, coffee, and service.