Can anything be more exciting than waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee? If you, like myself, are a hardened, dyed-in-the-wool coffee addict, you might just be thinking as Jennifer Beals puts it in Flashdance, of “taking your passion and making it happen”! If that’s you, then this little piece on what all it takes and exactly how much does it cost to open a coffee shop and how to start a coffee shop, is just for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Open A Coffee Shop?
Think of any business and the first thought that strikes any budding entrepreneur is “how much will it cost”? in our case – “how much does it cost to open a coffee shop?”. Cost is a generic word and entails many variables. So let’s break down our thought process into categories that can be labeled and priced. If you have been wondering for some time how to start a coffee shop, well, of course, the first thing you need is coffee shop equipment. And when one begins to plan out equipment details, without going into the nitty gritty’s, here is a list of basic equipment that you will need and this will give you an idea of how much does it cost to open a coffee shop
Coffee Shop Equipment
- Automatic drip coffee makers
- A high-quality espresso machine
- Curbside pickup supplies
- Milk and water
- Ovens and toasters
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Industrial blenders
- An industrial coffee grinder
- POS system and website
- Containers and Pumps
Your list might vary depending on the scale of your business, how many customers you want to cater to, and how large an area you have selected in which to operate. But those listed above are more or less, a must-have list to get you started and thus would require a good portion of investment of how much does it cost to open a coffee shop in totality.
Now let’s take a quick look at some of the features of this equipment which will help you decide whether the purchase is worth it or not.
Automatic Drip Coffee Makers
There are several of these in the market, but when procuring one you should make sure that it (a) is tough enough to produce a high amount of coffee per day and (b) that it is sufficiently fast to meet demanding schedules, and lastly, that it is able to produce large batches of coffee, should you have large foot traffic at any one given time.
An answer to how much does it cost to open a coffee shop requires you to take many different aspects into account. An excellent espresso machine is a given since nearly all coffee drinks contain expresso. These machines mainly come in four flavors i.e super-automatic, full auto, semi-automatic, and fully manual. Out of these, unless you enjoy overcoming problems as challenges, you should just ignore the manual option. So let’s consider the next three.
In 1938, an Italian barista by name of Achille Gaggia filed a patent for “Lampo”, which used hot water pressure instead of steam, resulting in an espresso whose taste was exquisite. This invention led to the rise of semi-automatic machines which are still ruling the roost today. If we talk of fully automatic espresso machines, they are similar to the “semis” but the amount of water entering the espresso is electronically controlled, which results in a predictable and repeatable blend of coffee. Super-automatic machines have all the above-mentioned features and in addition, have a built-in grinding apparatus and some other devices that automate the coffee-making process
Ovens And Toasters
It stands to reason that a coffee shop will not be providing just coffee. There are bound to be other supplements like perhaps sandwiches, bagels, pastries, and similar items. So naturally, you need to invest in a good oven and a toaster. The link below provides a quick buyer’s guide to some durable and also fast heating ovens that will speed up deliveries when the heat (on the tables, and not in the kitchen!) is on…
Not only do you need to set aside a considerable amount of space and thought to storage but you also need to organize it ergonomically. Else, there will be a lot of wastage, and the risk of supplies going stale, which can effectively kill your business, should it eventually find its way to your customer. Both containers and pumps are needed to store toppings, syrups, and other perishable items.
You will also need to take security systems into account when you ask how much does it cost to open a coffee shop. Understandably, if you have invested a lot in your passion-cum-business, you would want to ensure its safety. A well connected and linked, preferably electronic surveillance system needs to be installed to keep the intruders away. There are many other losses that you might have to deal with. Unreliable staff siphoning away some of your precious supplies, unsold and unused raw material that is past expiry dates, etc. The last thing you would want is prying eyes on your cash register, which finds itself in the wrong hands. If you plan ahead, are alert, and follow best practices with employees, the risk of losses due to internal and external theft is considerably minimized.
If you are wondering how you will find the time and budget to factor in all these costs, remember if you are wondering how much it costs to open a coffee shop, all these are to be considered by the intrepid entrepreneur, before the launch! Now that we have taken a good look at the standard coffee shop equipment, let’s review other considerations.
The Right Business Plan
No business be it a sole proprietorship, SME, or a Large Enterprise can be begun or sustained, without a proper business plan. Now you don’t have to kill yourself to come up with a tailor-made, unique business plan. There are many templates out there in the market that can be adopted just the way it is, or be adapted to suit your individual requirements.
So there are plans like the coffee roaster business plan, the Coffeehouse business plan, the Coffee Kiosk business plan, just to name a few. There are numerous plans out there in addition to the ones already mentioned. You just need to Google and download them. But when you are figuring out how much it costs to open a coffee shop, the cost of setting up and implementing a good business plan needs to be included too.
Finding The Ideal Location
When you ask how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, all will agree that it is absolutely imperative to find the right location. Most of the successful coffee shops are located at street corners, at intersections, and at highly accessible locations. So of course, there is a trade-off. The more ideal the location, the more you will have to pay for it. But this is another one of those inevitable costs that you have to keep in mind when you are estimating how much it costs to open a coffee shop
Hiring An Accountant
How much does it cost to open a coffee shop? When you are investing so much time and money into the business and are running the figures in your mind of how much it costs to open a coffee shop, doesn’t it make sense to hire an expert who can take care of the financials? giving your mind already overburdened with anxieties like what coffee shop equipment to purchase, whether it should be an outdoor coffee shop or a coffee shop interior, some much-needed rest? Don’t think of him or her as an added expense. If you consider the accountant not so much as an employee, but rather as a business consultant, your approach will be different, and you will not feel the pinch of another salaried employee
Opt For Local Funding
When asking how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, the worst possible decision would be to put all your hard-earned savings into this venture. Mark Renson, owner of Ambition Bistro advises “talk with friends and family about investing in your coffee shop first. Present a solid business plan and ask them to invest in your business”.
Try and see if you can get an SBA-backed loan. Another option to explore is a credit union or perhaps you could even approach the local bank. You need to stop thinking so much and get your feet moving. If the bank feels that you are a low-risk liability, they may be willing to back you up.
Interior And Exterior
How much does it cost to open a coffee shop? Yes. Of course, your customers are coming in for a taste, quality, and exquisite aromas. But aren’t you overlooking something? Big-time Hoteliers have known for ages that ambiance is the magic word that can quell many storms of indecision outside swinging glass doors. And what you might lack by way of having a varied menu, can often be compensated by a soothing, yet contemporary ambiance. So do up your coffee shop interior. What color schemes you will use, the kind of paintings that spruce up delicate wallpapered interiors, the flooring, and of course, the furniture – all of these should complement each other adding up to a unique customer experience that is almost as exotic as the coffee that s/he is sipping! An atmosphere that is trendy, contemporary, and at the same time, relaxing is what you should go for.
No doubt you will spend a lot of time and effort decorating your coffee shop interior. But remember, that while what’s in the cup is important, the cup itself is equally important! We all know that for most people, the first impression is the last impression, so make one that lasts! Pay attention to the landscaping, signage and if you can customize it, then that is best. There is an ancient science in India called ‘Vaastu Shastra’ that devotes volumes to landscaping, architecture, layout, and spatial geometry, and it would not be developed to the point of being a science if it were not important. Landscaping becomes of paramount importance if you are contemplating having an outdoor coffee shop
Shelving And Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
When trying to work out how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, along with food, drinks, equipment, the coffee shop interior, and whether it is an indoor or an outdoor coffee shop, what POS you have installed, matters a great deal. It’s not just in formula car racing where speed is the name of the game. It is equally important for the successful running of coffee shops with large turnovers.
You need to give serious thought to all the above-mentioned factors when considering how much does it cost to open a coffee shop. But what if the economics of figuring out how to start a coffee shop, what coffee shop equipment to use, and how to do up the coffee shop interior is becoming too complex for you to handle? Then perhaps you should look at an outdoor coffee shop, rather than an interior one, and also if there is a coffee shop for sale, maybe an easier option would be simply to purchase a ready-made setup instead of you attempting daredevil pioneering ventures.
An outdoor coffee shop in many ways is a different beast altogether. And here extraneous factors like climate are a major game-changer. Imagine setting up an outdoor coffee shop in a mountainous terrain where it is constantly raining. No doubt you will have shelters, but the costs of maintenance of these shelters will run high. Wear and tear will be much more, and landscaping and preparation of the land outdoors is a major consideration. So keep in mind all these variables when dwelling on how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, especially an Outdoor coffee shop.
Coffee Shop For Sale
Perhaps the cheapest and best option would be to take over an existing coffee shop for sale. But before jumping at the opportunity, give it a thought as to why is the sale happening? Is it just that the owner has to relocate for some unavoidable reason and hence is putting it up for sale, or is there more than meets the eye. How have sales and customer footprint been over the last six months? What is the location like? Is there a controversy surrounding it? Go over the material carefully, make inquiries, do your own homework before taking the plunge.
Coming back to the tantamount question, which we began with initially and that is – how much does it cost to open a coffee shop, there are varying estimates (mostly guesstimates really) as to the cost, but most say that it can vary from $80,000 for a small kiosk or a drive-through, and can go all the way up to $300,000 for a proper sit-down establishment with the services that are expected from such a place. By now you have perhaps more than enough information about how much it costs to open a coffee shop. Now you make the call!