How to open a coffee shop?

We live in a world obsessed with fast rhythm of life and it certainly impacts our habits. A mobile street-food is no longer a wonder; it became an essential part of the city life just like gadgets. If you think how to open a coffee-shop following by it’s customers, have a pleasure to read our guide.

But despite a strongly competitive market, this niche hasn’t been completely filled yet. Opening of small and cozy coffee shops is still a great option to invest to and to get steady incomes from this investment. So, what do you have to do at the beginning?


Before starting your coffee business, think about preparing all necessary certificates, like registration of entrepreneurial activity. You will just need to get a state registration as an entrepreneur to open a small mobile coffee shop.

Besides, if you are intending to sell alcoholic beverages, you will need an appropriate license. Once you have all your documents on hand, you need to submit them to the Tax office. In addition to these documents, you will also need to attach a notary-certified copy of your passport and some other papers, namely:

— Copies of a rental contract or of a purchase contract to run business activities;

— Reports of Health Inspection Services and State Fire-Fighting Service Department. These inspections occur prior to the establishment opening to ensure its compliance with state regulations;

— Contract with a waste company to haul your organic garbage away as well as to recycle mercury bulbs;

— Contracts with laundries and with security organizations, and the like.


Before starting your coffee business, you might need to determine its location. To do this, we advise you to use such tool as geomarketing. This kind of service is available for a small fee, some thousands of hryvnas, instead they will find for you an ideal place to open a loss-free establishment.

The basic idea of the geomarketing is simple enough: it defines delivering services to users based on where they are, the number of competitors, staff expertise and human flow (up to the square meter). The average check will be calculated accordingly to this information. The only thing you will need to do is to make a decision to open or not to open your establishment.

If you have decided to trust your gut, then it’s worth considering locations:

— situated close to the roads where people often linger around (near bus stops, hospitals, educational institutions and so on);

— road intersections where there are lots of transports and crosswalks; interchange stations;

— leisure zones.

Small coffee shops are often open next to the:

— railway stations;

— large shopping malls;

— establishments of higher education.


The next step to know how to open a coffee-shop in your country consists in picking the right equipment for brewing and serving coffee. This task can be successfully solved by professionals having a high expertise in this area. They take into account the specifics of your business and its eventual load, that’s why they will be able to offer you the best equipment and supplies from the reliable brands.

First of all you will need:

  1. An espresso-machine (automatic or semi-automatic);
  2. A semi-automatic machine will require a coffee-grinder;
  3. A table to slice or to cut on;
  4. A microwave;
  5. A refrigerated display case (at early stages of your business it is optional);
  6. Roomyfridges, 2-3 units;
  7. A bar counter;
  8. Some simple furniture for customers;
  9. A water filter.

Obviously, you will also need kitchen supplies such as vessels, cutlery, serving dishes, disposable cups with your original logo or design on. If you don’t reach the limit of your budget, it would be a good idea to purchase some decorative elements, for example, small pictures and a few lanterns.

By the way, there are entrepreneurs who purchase additional equipment to offer such service as espresso machines for rent. The payback time is approximately 4-5 months per a device, and that is a good result.


Focus on menu variety that suits all appetite: Espresso, Americano, Mocha, Latte, Cappuccino and different types of tea.

You can also offer some goodies in addition to the ones described above: buns, cakes, donuts, candies and so on. The owners of small or mobile coffee shops usually order pastries at nearby cafés or restaurants since it requires separate premises to make desserts of one’s own.

To create a menu that will appeal to your clients and to analyze your best selling menu items, we advise you to use special POS applications.


In Poland, for instance, small business owners operate on cooperative basis. For example, you came in for a sandwich and then you wanted some coffee – you would be advised to visit the nearby coffee shop. You won’t probably get crowds of clients but it’s surely worth to make friendly relationships with your “neighbors”

Begin to build your brand as early as possible so that by the time you open, you have already customers. So, think about an advertising campaign in advance. Obviously, it won’t make any sense to order a huge advertising campaign on TV or on big boards. You should take care about your target audience. The simplest way is to distribute leaflets. However, the efficiency of this method has been questioned for a long time. It probably makes sense to buy an advertising space. Or you can form your core audience by offering a buy-four-get-one free deal.

Certainly, the best advertising of all times and nations is the word-of-mouth one. To fully promote your business, it’s important to tell people about its advantages. And here is our essential advice – TALK to people. Tell them about your coffee, where it comes from, how you brew it or you can also tell them some interesting or funny stories if it’s appropriate.

The last, but not the least, is the building of your customer base and its maintenance. Again, nowadays there are multiple easy-to-use applications for smartphones which will help you to organize the customer base.

Espresso machines: pros and cons

Wherever you are, it is almost certain that you will find an espresso machine within a couple hundred meters from you or so. The fast-coffee culture is rapidly diffused around. In this concern, the next question has become especially vital: what do I have to do before purchasing an espresso machine and starting my business?

It’s not quite as difficult as it sounds. You pass the state registration as an individual entrepreneur and receive several permissions allowing to run this activity.

Have you bought an espresso machine – make it bright and, above all, comprehensible: it’s a coffee shop.

Here are the business benefits:

— minimum financial investments;

— no need to hire many employees;

— may have good profitability (especially in summer);

— the registration procedure is more simple comparing to fixed coffee shops.

Unfortunately, there are also downsides:

— you can offer visitors only items that they can take with them;

— the season of the highest profitability is summer;

— low income comparing to the establishments serving coffee.

Coffee shop management

Experience has shown that if you wish your business to be successful and profitable, you need to choose wisely a management system. For example, the modern mobile applications enable to efficiently control sales and start implementing automation in many areas. In that case, you will always have the most recent data related to products movements, sales level, incomes and so on.

All new entries will be immediately registered in the system. The person responsible for receiving goods can carry the gadget around and he will be always informed about hired employees, successful items of the menu, cash expenses and soon.

It turns out that POS systems allow business owners to be more accurate and more focused.

Therefore, the starting of small and mobile coffee shops is considered to be a wonderful option for entrepreneurs-beginners having a limited budget. This kind of business doesn’t require huge financial investments, experience or special knowledge, that’s why it’s in great demand.

In our next article, we’ll tell how to automate a café and how to increase your customer base.


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