Cafe SWOT Analysis

by Erica Tambien; Updated September 26, 2017
Performing a cafe SWOT analysis can help coffee shop owners.

A cafe SWOT analysis can help you identify lucrative customers, overcome a competing coffee shop and strengthen your marketing plan. SWOT stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats"--the internal and external factors that can help or hinder a business. Specific SWOTs vary for each cafe, but this guide gives you the necessary tools to develop your own SWOT analysis.

Strengths Section

Strengths are internal marketing factors that give you an edge. The ultimate goal of the strengths section is to highlight positive qualities relating to the cafe staff, how you do business, the restaurant’s location or the menu. Current customers and employees can help you identify strengths.

Examples: A large selection of homemade pastries A unique house blend
Convenient cafe location

Weaknesses Section

Weaknesses are places where the cafe falls short. Weaknesses stem from flaws in your company’s culture, poor training practices, financial limitations and other sources. When drafting the weaknesses section of a SWOT analysis, turn a critical eye to the cafe and highlight your coffee shop’s shortcomings.

Examples: Higher prices compared to the competition Outdated decor or equipment A reputation for slow service

Opportunities Section

Opportunities are external marketing factors that bode well for you and your competitors. Social and financial trends related to current and potential cafe customers create opportunities. Because they are external factors you can not create marketing opportunities, but you can walk through the door they present.

Identify promising trends that may be beneficial to the cafe in your SWOT’s opportunities section. The following examples are not based on actual figures but you can use them at a guide to help you identify the kind of information needed for a cafe SWOT.

Examples: Longer lunch breaks that allow workers enough time to visit cafes Growing preference for independent cafes over large nationwide franchises

Threats Section

Threats are potentially dangerous marketplace conditions that the cafe has no control over. The threat section of a cafe SWOT must discuss important financial and social trends that endanger the cafe as well as the well-being of other competitors.

Examples: Due to a failing economy families trim their dining out budgets A health report is released revealing that coffee is bad for your health

SWOT Applications

Use your SWOT analysis to pinpoint customers that will be attracted to your strengths and will not be as turned off by your weaknesses. For example, customers with higher incomes may not mind paying more for coffee, especially if they value the danish selection. If you have the time and money, rectify the weaknesses so you can appeal to a broader group.

Study opportunities and threats so you can capitalize on trends before competitors or create a strategy to lessen the effects of threats. For example, if there is a push to buy locally, you can include your ties to the community in your advertising efforts. If the recession is hitting people’s coffee budgets, develop a discount program or offer inexpensive coffee pairings that are gentle on the wallet.


  • "Principles of Advertising and IMC;" Tom Duncan; 2005

About the Author

Erica Tambien began writing professionally in 1999. She is a freelance writer and communications consultant living in Reno, Nev. Her work has since appeared on various websites and for KOLO-TV. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Nevada-Reno.

Photo Credits

  • sign. sign of cafe. open. access to cafe image by L. Shat from
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