Know exactly the answer why most coffee shop startups having a failure here and there? We provide an answer to why some of them are exceeding quickly in the market and succeed.
Honestly, there’s no secrecy when it comes to a successful coffee shop. Most of them include either hard word, a lot of experience, some luck as how people believe it, or the combination of all three of them. And also, not giving everything the customer wants from us.
I have established and managed more than fifteen coffee shops with varying degrees of success. While there may be hundreds of reasons why a coffee shop might succeed (including luck), here are the ones that I pursued in Australia that led to successful outcomes for me.
Here are some suggestions, advice or however you wanna take it that makes a strong foundation, keys to outstanding and successful coffee houses in Australia. It’s what they do and how they do it.
1. Serve the best espresso, consistently: the key here is to be consistent. Consistently serve everything you got, the best you got, in every cup of coffee you sell, to everybody. It’s not often that a product could consistently give 100% quality every time. It could probably be only 80% because espresso is like the main coffee of everything, the base of cappuccinos, lattes and others. If one doesn’t like your espresso, one could simply not visit your coffee house anymore for there are lots of other coffee houses they can try and see which one he or she likes best. In this factor, you clearly don’t need a very visible location or expensive and fancy location. Pick a good espresso machine (the right pump, the right temperature, etc) and choose the perfect coffee. We recommend Arabica than Robusta. Make sure every cup is made with the effort of a trained barista who always seeks the perfect shot.
2. Ergonomics are important: The bar or the workstation needs some space such as the barista could hardly move their feet to perform their job and make sure they wouldn’t be competing for space with other baristas or runners working. With lots of orders for coffee, high coffee sales, the workstation needs to be laid out nice and easy to access. For example, the place of the bins, beans storage, fridge milk in the bar, cups, grinders, and supplies. Everything should be reachable and not left out. Cash register on the front, but not far from the barista toys so they could work quickly. Never forget about the sink, a near sink at the bar make things a lot easier for the barista to clean and at the same time hear what the customer wants. Multitasking in a busy time is essential.
3. Start reward cards or loyalty cards: This is one of the sales promotion methods, also one of the oldest and may sound ineffective, old, and not innovative. But this really works! It’s gotta be a good card that’ll make the customer wants to keep it! It always makes a customer’s day a little brighter when they get their free coffee from buying ten get one bonus because they’re loyal to us. This is the most effortless and cheapest customer acquisition you could do.
4. Apply numerous sales: We must face it, a coffee house will never make enough money to cover all the bills by just selling coffee alone. Yes, coffee is the ultimate weapon we sell to motivate customers to come to us, but numerous sales will make your growth faster. If most customers order more than one menu on their list other than coffee, then you’re getting this correctly. Add muffins, cookies, banana cakes, croissants and other things that actually match with coffee to lighten up and to add as essentials. You could also add hot food or cold food on the menu to raise numerous sales.
5. Limit the collection or menu: Lots of startups coffee shop think that it would be great to have a wide range of menu where people can order whatever they like and the more products they sell, the more competitive they are. Actually, a customer is just simple hungry or thirsty or both. Too many choices will only create anguish. Limit the menu, choose only the necessary products. For example, three flavours out of five would be enough, three types of hot food and cold food. Another category will cost you more money and more management effort (taking care of the supplies, storage, etc) with only a little customer experience or income.
6. Line your margins: Set the price based on customer value, not based on accounting determined markups. A really well-known item need to be sold just the same or around the coffee market price or maybe slightly below the market price. You can cover up the loss with high margins on other items you sell at the coffee shop. Don’t line all of the products the same or in high margins, go with the customer’s expectations and what the market will convey.
7. Get and do your strategies right: The competition in the coffee shop is real and vital. You have to see clearly your target, the people you want, how to get the customers to visit your place not only once but to keep them coming over and over again and be loyal to your coffee house and to the point where they become friends with you and get to know a little bit about each other.
8. Counter service: Thanks to McDonald’s widely known counter service system! This is the cheapest, effective and efficient ways to give service to the customers. It will make both the worker and the customer a lot easier and save you from your bills too. The customers will come to you and you’ll take the orders, give them a number to wait and once their orders are fulfilled you’ll call them or you take the orders to where they are. It can give you a lot of pressure during the peak time of breakfast, lunch or dinner but you can offer a friendly nice service to them which is a plus.
9. Pre-make while you can: Custom made collection assume that customers know what they want. Truth is, not really. They think they know what they want, but they could change their mind once you start suggesting something for them because they expect you to know and think of you as the expert. In a coffee shop, it’s best to pre-make the food and leave the custom coffee making. Custom food cost option and you’ll be unable to get the making-order economies of scale. Also, in the peak periods of time when you’ll be a busy bee you can pump out all the sales or the pre-make you prepared instead of spending time making custom orders.
10. Know and understand what you sell: Some coffee shop owners don’t really understand that their coffee houses are more than a place where people only drink and enjoy coffee. To customers, it’s more than just getting coffee and food. It could be a place for them to escape the busy office and superficial people around them, really get their work done and be alone, getting their ideas explored while in their me time or the opposite, they want a new place to meet people and socialise or do business and find a new networking place. Truly know and understand the customer’s needs to keep them coming back and maintain it!
11. All of your friends will comment your place and tell you to get a comfy couch, free Wi-Fi, maybe a TV or anything that could entertain the customers. However, those people who enjoy your facilities for hours won’t help the margin at all. The takeaway customers pay exactly the same as the customers who have their coffee at your place without any costs. Here’s a tip: a place doesn’t have to look all fancy and nice, a place that looks live and loved win everything. It’s alright to have limited seats and whatsoever wood bench that’s not very comfortable as long as the place look taken care of, loved and living.
12. Coffee shops are like restaurants. It serves on the front line and more like a service and people place, than a goods or transactional place. Goods and transactional business can still win people over and can run without the owner’s present, but coffee shop oh it’s like a fragile baby. It still needs to be taken care of by the owner. It needs attention and engagement. The staffs are the hands of the owners and active care and involvement of an owner is important to the staffs as well so they will know how it’s gonna be done.
A strategic location is also important. A place with high traffic location won’t promise you an outstanding coffee shop, although it could help. An area where there are effective and sufficient people in there would be enough. For starters, a location with high traffic will cost you more, expensive rent, and you will compete with the bank, and other chains near you. Somehow without realising it, buying coffee is not an impulse buying like clothes or shoes. It’s a place where people can get something off their mind and enjoy a good cup of joe. If the place is too crowd and cause traffic, people will probably look somewhere else for coffee and the lower the rent is, it will make the coffee house more financially stable.
Before you start your own coffee shop, keep this in mind. First, it should be started with a passion for coffee. Whether you’re talented in this industry or you have a passion for it. Not just because you wanna start a business. A product with quality and taste better is important. Other things will take care of themselves as if nature will help you out!
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