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10 steps to opening a coffee shop

How to start your coffee shop

View from empty coffee shop looking out on to high street

Your niche

The key to success is going beyond what you would expect from a regular neighbourhood coffee shop. You need to offer more than just lattes and cappuccinos; provide everything from fresh pastries made onsite to freshly baked breads for sandwiches, soups for lunch and dinner, and even specialty drinks like smoothies and shakes made with fresh ingredients that you wouldn't expect in any other restaurant or bar around town.

Also offering free Wi-Fi access in all areas of our store so that customers can work while they enjoy.


When you're looking to open a coffee shop, location is one of the most important factors.

You need to find a location that has foot traffic and good visibility. This will help ensure that people will come into your coffee shop on a regular basis, and it will also give them confidence that they can find you easily.

Your ideal location should be close to places of employment, so that you can attract people who work in offices nearby. You can also set up tables outside and offer free wifi access for meetings or during their breaks.

The legal stuff

When you set up a business, there's always paperwork to do. You need to find the best legal structure for your business. You need to make sure that your location is properly licensed and that commercial insurance covers your property and customers. You also need to make sure that your health and safety paperwork is all present and correct.

One of the first things to do is register with HMRC and Companies House. Registering as a limited company is probably the best way to go for a business like a cafe or coffee shop, as it lends you credibility when you come to sign leases and deal with banks.

The look

The way your coffee shop looks says a lot about you and your business.

A great cafe has an inviting atmosphere that makes customers want to come back again and again, but it also has to stand out from the crowd. That's where decorating comes in. You need to design a space which is inviting and comfortable, but still gives off a message about who you are as a business, so that people know what they're getting into when they visit your place.

Don’t forget! The menu is the main attraction of your restaurant. It should be attractive and easy to read, with a clear list of items and prices.

Get the right equipment

At the heart of every coffee shop is a good espresso machine. But, you shouldn’t just go for any espresso machine — or even necessarily for the most expensive one. Instead, you need to make sure that your espresso machine fits in with your business.

You need to look for a coffee machine that’s the right size for your space and is powerful enough to handle your customers.

Other equipment you will need:

  • Coffee Grinder

  • Hot Water Boiler

  • Flow Jet

  • Water Filter

  • Till

  • Card Payment Facilities

  • Sink / Cleaning facilities

Beans, beans and more beans!

It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're trying to figure out what coffee beans are right for you. But don't worry! We're here to help.

Here at Coburg, we do all the hard work. This will allow you to get the perfect shot of espresso every time.

We can help you to start experimenting with different blends and flavours. You'll notice that specific blends work better than others in different circumstances; this will help guide your future purchases.

The maths

How much will you charge for coffee?

This is a good question and one that every barista strives to answer. The first step in answering this question is to do some research. Go to other coffee shops similar to what you are looking to offer and check out their prices. You need to be competitive.

Next, work out how much it cost per cup, staffing, rent, electric etc. and how much profit this will leave you with.


Hiring people is a big task, especially when you’re just starting up. You want to find people who can approach things with the same level of dedication that you do, and can serve up coffees with a smile.

So how do you find the right staff? Here are three steps:

  1. Look for passion

  2. Look for personality

  3. Look for adaptability


You’ll need to devote quite a bit of time and effort to marketing your coffee shop, especially when you’re just starting up and you don’t have a well-defined brand or loyal customer base to draw on.

Once you’ve set up your cafe, making sure people can find you is possibly the first thing to do online. It’s very common for cafe-goers to search for places nearby and it’s important for your cafe to show up in the top results.

Setting standards

The first step in great customer service is your staff. A well-trained front of house staff will keep customers happy and coming back for more.

A coffee only tastes as good as the person who has made it, make sure you invest time in training your staff so that they can deliver consistently high-quality drinks.

Not sure where to start with coffee beans?

Give us a call today on 0845 355 3388 or email and we can discuss all the different options available. Our team are friendly, and no question is too stupid, so ask away!

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