A coffee shop is an ideal business for a gregarious person who appreciates fine coffee. To open a successful coffee shop, you will need equipment for brewing and serving coffee, as well as decor and tables to create a friendly atmosphere. The equipment for opening a coffee shop can range from quite inexpensive to extremely costly, depending on the quality of the coffee you want to serve and the type of coffee shop experience you want to provide.
Coffee shops make coffee, so you will need some kind of equipment for brewing coffee in order to open. You may choose an industrial coffee brewer, or an espresso machine or both. When choosing your coffee-brewing equipment, consider the type of clientele you intend to draw. A high-end coffee shop should have equipment to produce good quality coffee, while a coffee shop geared towards quickly serving a large volume of coffee should have equipment that can brew a lot of coffee efficiently.
In order to serve a quality cup of coffee, you will need to grind the beans yourself. Purchase an industrial coffee grinder suitable for the type of brewing equipment that you have, such as a grinder that is typically used for espresso beans. Choose a grinder that can handle the volume of beans that you anticipate grinding.
You will need a refrigerator to hold your milk at a suitable temperature. A small coffee shop can often get by with a refrigerator designed for home use, but if you will be doing a considerable volume of business, you should invest in a commercial refrigeration unit that can hold plenty of inventory and keep your milk cold even when the cooler door is opened every few minutes.
If you will have a self-serve area for coffee refills or milk at your coffee shop, you will need to purchase thermal pots. These thermoses will keep coffee hot and milk cold even when they sit at room temperature. Purchase large thermal pots for coffee and smaller ones for milk.
A coffee shop should have a neon "open" sign to signal to regular and potential customers that they are open. A lit sign makes potential customers who are driving by much more likely to stop because they are not risking taking the time to make a detour only to find that your shop is closed.
Your coffee shop should have a cash register to keep track of sales totals and track transactions by category. You can buy a cash register at an office supply store or at a supplier that specializes in business machines.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.