Owning a coffee house and offering an extensive line of espresso-based drinks can be a fun, rewarding career option. A barista is a coffee artist. You will want to make sure that your coffee business has the best baristas, employees who know the difference between a long and a short or what distinguishes a cappuccino from a latte. Before you worry about hiring, here is what you will need to do to get your coffee shop up and running.
Work out all the legal details. Once you find the perfect location for your coffee shop, you will need to visit City Hall to file business permits, plus show proof of insurance. Find out what restrictions are in place. For instance, if you plan to serve food or just beverages, you may have different filing requirements. Keep copies of all your legal filings in a safe place.
Open a business bank account so that you can keep your personal and business income and expenses separate. You should work with your banker to determine what additional services you want them to provide, such as merchant credit card processing and payroll services. Some banks offer attractive small business plans to help you streamline your business accounting.
Purchase equipment and start-up supplies. At this point, you will choose an equipment wholesaler to furnish your shop, as well as suppliers for dry goods, coffee beans and any food and beverage options you plan to offer. If you would like a more turn-key approach, you may consider a franchise barista coffee business, such as the Coffee Beanery, which provides you with suppliers as well as standard menus and operating procedures.
Hire employees to get your business running. Decide whether or not you will work in the shop or if all the workers will be new hires. When starting up your coffee shop, you will want to have the lowest expenses possible, so consider asking friends and family to pitch in for the first few months until you start turning a profit.
Master the machinery. This is where you will learn the art of being a barista. The American Barista & Coffee School offers workshops and training programs all over the country where you will learn barista terminology, specialty drink preparation and key business skills to help make your business a success. The organization also offers "train the trainer" programs so that, once trained, you will be able to train employees that you hire to work in your shop.
Finalize your menu. Create a menu display that invites customers to read about your products and order their favorite drinks. Decide which options for milk and beverages you plan to offer as well as any baked goods, prepared foods or house-made items you will serve. Once you open, you can always continue to tweak your menu, depending on the feedback from your customers.
Host a grand opening celebration. After all your hard work and training, your coffee shop is ready to open for business. Celebrate by inviting the community to see your new shop. Offer drink specials, coupons and treats for kids and adults. The more memorable your grand opening party, the more likely your customers are to come back.
Based in Miami, Kristen Bennett has been writing for business and pleasure since 1999. Bennett's work has appeared online at MarketWatch, The Motley Fool and in several internal company publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.