coffee house business plan sample

Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Business Plan Outline

Coffee Shop Business Plan

Whether you are planning to start a new business or grow your existing coffee shop, you’ve come to the right place to create your coffee shop business plan.

We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their coffee shops.

A coffee shop business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your coffee shop business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Sample

Below are links to each section of our coffee shop business plan sample:

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Coffee Shop Business Plan FAQs

What is a coffee shop business plan.

A business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your coffee shop business. Among other things, it outlines the company overview, allows you to conduct a market analysis to identify your target market, includes a sample menu, presents your marketing plan and pricing strategy to attract your local customer base, details your sales forecasts, and provides the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement for your coffee shop.

You can  easily complete your coffee shop business plan using our Coffee Shop Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Coffee Shops?

The different types of coffee shops include cafes, coffee bars and coffeehouses that sell coffee drinks and other snacks. Some coffee shops offer lunch and dinner menus and are close to being full-service restaurants. There are also coffee shops that are more accessible for people on the go or those who want to make their own coffee. These are retail coffee shops, drive thru coffee shops, coffee carts and trucks, and roasters or retailers.

What Are the Main Sources of Revenue and Operating Expenses for a Coffee Shop?

The primary source of revenue for many coffee shops come from its food and drink sales, which includes brewed coffee, coffee beans, seasonal drinks and refreshments, and baked goods. Gift card and merchandise sales like tumblers, mugs, and coffee makers also contribute to a coffee shop’s revenue stream.

The expected expenses for a coffee shop are the cost of coffee and food products, salaries and wages, rent, and advertising costs. 

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Coffee Shop?

Opening a coffee shop business can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 depending on the size and location of the business. Additional costs such as inventory, employee salaries, and marketing expenses can range from $5,000 to $15,000 per month.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Coffee Shop Business?

The best way to get funding for a coffee shop business is through a bank loan or utilizing your personal savings, business credit cards or borrowing from friends and family. You can also look into government grants or loans, or try to find a partner who is willing to invest in your business. Whatever route you choose, be sure to have a solid coffee shop business plan for potential investors including a sales and marketing plan as well as a realistic idea of how much money you need to get started.

How to Start a Coffee Shop?

Learn more about how to start a successful coffee shop business:

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Business Plan for Investors

Coffeehouse Business Plan Sample

DEC.29, 2020

Coffeehouse Business Plan Sample

Coffeehouse business plan for starting your own building firm

You make a great coffee and you want to share it with others, right? Starting a coffee house can be an extremely profitable and exciting venture provided that you do it the right way. To start a coffee house, you need to set up a nice sitting place. Moreover, you need to hire chefs and waiters to serve your customers with the best taste.

The business keeps blooming throughout the year. But still, there are a few challenges that can only be addressed through a comprehensive business plan for coffeehouse.

If you don’t know how to write a good business plan , we are here to help. We are providing a sample of opening a coffeehouse business plan written for the startup ‘James’ Coffee Hub’.

Executive Summary

2.1 the business.

James’ Coffee Hub will be a registered coffee house located in Madison. The business will be solely owned by James Franco who is famous for winning various food competitions around the U.S. The business will serve its customers with various types of coffees, drinks, and eatables.

2.2 Management of Coffeehouse

Starting a coffee house is a slightly difficult venture as you have to procure a lot of furniture and inventory for providing the dine-in facility. In addition to it, you also need to hire staff for managing and maintaining the restaurant.

To make sure that all aspects of your business are taken care of, you need efficient management. In your startup business plan for coffee house, you should define all the ways that can help you in managing your business. If you are making a coffee house start up plan you should be wary about even the minutest details.

James will hire a co-manager for managing the business. However, he will be always there himself to supervise the activities.

2.3 Customers of Coffeehouse

Madison is a city where winters are characterized by chilly and freezing winds. In such weather, the teens, adults, elderly, single, as well as couples, would feel warm and comforted by our delicious servings. We expect people of all ages who are living nearby us to be our customers.

Moreover, there are also several commercial and business centers in our vicinity. So we expect to attract their employees too.

2.4 Business Target

You should include your business goals in your how to start a coffeehouse business plan. This will help you to devise solutions to direct resources towards your business targets.

Our target is to serve our customers with the best taste in reasonable rates. With respect to financial goals, we aim at achieving a net profit margin of $22k per month by the end of the first year, $47k per month by the end of the second year, and $78.8k per month by the end of three years. Our 3-year profit forecast is also summarized in the table below.

3 Years Profit Forecast - Coffeehouse Business Plan

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

James has done his graduation in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin. Throughout his teenage and further, he remained involved with cooking. His specialties are making coffees, chocolate drinks, and sandwiches.

3.2 Why the Coffeehouse is being started

What could be a better way for James to earn profits while doing what he loves? James started a coffee house because he always wanted to have this type of career. He is experienced in making different types of coffee drinks, iced coffees, chocolate drinks, and sandwiches. He just wanted people to relish the drinks he can make.

3.3 How the Coffeehouse will be started

Before taking any steps to start the business you have to create a business plan. For that purpose try to study at least one example of coffee shop business plan. By reading business plans of other startups like this sample coffee house business plan, you can identify the areas where more resources should be invested.

Here we are giving the description of coffee shop business of James’ Coffee Hub so that you can know what to include in starting coffee shop business plan.

James will procure a single floor building that should ideally be located in the vicinity of commercial and business centers. That building will be converted into a coffee restaurant business after the required renovations. James will hire an electrical contractor to install ambient lighting in the dine-in space so that people can enjoy a soothing and peaceful environment.

Moreover, the required staff will be hired and the inventory including different coffee makers will be procured. While establishing a physical presence, James will also start advertising his services. Through social media, websites, and local magazines, the startup will be advertised to attract potential customers.

Startup Cost - Coffeehouse Business Plan

To strive in the competitive market like that of Madison, James’ Coffee Hub had to come up with exclusive features. In this example of coffee shop business plan, we are listing all the services of James’ successful startup. If you are creating a coffeehouse business plan template you can learn what to do to make your startup stand out from the crowd.

No matter how few or how many services you provide, you should include them in starting your own coffeehouse business plan. This can help you in deciding pricing strategy, employees’ salaries, and calculating your profits.

James’ Coffee Hub will provide the following services.

Dine-in/ Takeaway/ Drive Through/ Delivery

We will provide a beautiful seating facility for our customers while following SOPs. Moreover, we understand that many people don’t want to dine-in after the prevalence of coronavirus. So we will also be facilitating them by offering takeaway and delivery services.

Marketing Analysis of Coffeehouse

To make your startup a success, you must have to carefully perform market analysis. In your business plan to open a coffee house you have to analyze the market fluctuations that can affect your restaurant. Besides, you have to explore the strengths and weaknesses of your market competitors so that you can perform better than them.

For if you are not a business expert, you should hire a professional market analyst to gather industry insight. The task of creating a business plan for coffee house should also be done by a professional business plan writer. In the case of James’ Coffee Hub, James knew how to write a business plan for a coffeehouse. Therefore he did the work himself.

5.1 Market Trends

You can learn the important market statistics about coffee houses in this sample of coffee house business plan free of cost.

According to IBISWorld, the number of coffee house restaurants/ shops has increased by 3.2% during the last year. The current number of coffeehouse restaurants in the U.S. is near to 61k. The business is in demand because people love to drink coffee. However, these days due to the coronavirus some new trends should be introduced such as providing drive though and home delivery services.

5.2 Marketing Segmentation

Our marketing experts have identified the following type of target audience which can become the potential customers of our restaurant.

The detailed marketing segmentation comprising the company’s target audience is as follows:

Marketing Segmentation - Coffehouse Business Plan

5.2.1 Local Residents: The primary group of our customers will be the people living near us. Most of the people come out of their homes in the chilly evenings to enjoy the warmth of coffee. Besides coffee, these residents are also expected to relish our sandwiches and pancake offerings.

To make sure we retain them as our potential customers, we will offer them various discounts and gift packs on frequent visits.

5.2.2 Working Class: The second category of our target customers includes the employees who work in the businesses situated in our vicinity. This category is expected to utilize our services because of two reasons:

5.2.3 Passers-by: The third category will comprise passers-by who come to our vicinity for some other works. Such people generally stop to have a coffee break to gather energy for the remaining day. To attract their attention, we will install creative posters in our nearby areas as well as outside our restaurant.

5.3 Business Target

Our business targets are:

5.4 Product Pricing

Our prices of coffee are 3% lesser than our competitors. However, the prices of our pancakes and sandwiches are nearly the same as that of our direct competitors.

Marketing Strategy

In your business proposal for coffee house, you have to also include coffee house marketing plan. A marketing or sales strategy plan helps you target the identified customers. While making your sales strategy plan, you have to keep the following things in mind

In this business proposal sample for coffee shop, we are giving the sales strategy of James’ Coffee Hub.

6.1 Competitive Analysis:

As James’ Coffee Hub, we’ll outperform all of our competitors from the very first day. The reasons are:

6.2 Sales Strategy

6.3 Sales Monthly

Sales Monthly - Coffehouse Business Plan

6.4 Sales Yearly

Sales Yearly - Coffehouse Business Plan

6.5 Sales Forecast

Unit Sales - Coffehouse Business Plan

Personnel plan

While writing a business plan for a coffee house you must include the requirement and job responsibilities of your required staff. The success of your coffee house will largely depend on the skills of your chefs, the honesty of your procurement staff, and the behavior of your waiters. Therefore, make sure that you hire your employees after great testing and interviewing.

In this coffeehouse business plan sample we are giving the personnel plan of James’ Coffee Hub.

7.1 Company Staff

James will supervise everything himself. However, he will hire the following people:

7.2 Average Salary of Employees

Financial plan.

Financial planning is the last and most important part of a business plan. In this, you should identify if you can manage your startup within your investment or if you have to take a loan. Remember, financial planning is not just about starting a business. In this, you also have to include the forecasted financial details when you start running your business. You should have a plan to set your prices in a way that helps you gain customers, manage losses, employees’ salaries and business expenses.

In this coffee house business plan pdf we are providing the financial plan of James’ Coffee Hub. If you need to make a business plan for a coffee house, you can download the documents free of cost.

8.1 Important Assumptions

8.2 brake-even analysis.

Brake-even Analysis - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

8.3.1 profit monthly.

Profit Monthly - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.3.2 Profit Yearly

Profit Yearly - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.3.3 Gross Margin Monthly

Gross Margin Monthly - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.3.4 Gross Margin Yearly

Gross Margin Yearly - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

Projected Cash Flow - Coffehouse Business Plan

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

8.6 business ratios.

Download Coffeehouse Business Plan Sample in pdf

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The Ultimate Coffee Shop Business Plan and Template

If you are looking to write a coffee shop business plan, you have come to the right place.

A coffee shop business plan is an essential tool for coffee shop owners or people who want to open a coffee shop. A business plan will help you plan your strategy for success and act as a guide as you look to build your coffee shop.

In this article, we’ll look at why you should write a business plan for your coffee shop or cafe, as well as provide you with a sample and a template that contains inspiration for the things you should include in your coffee shop business plan.

Table of Contents

Why Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan?

The basic idea behind a coffee shop is simple. The business needs to sell enough coffee products to cover costs and make a profit. However, many variables will define whether your business is successful.

A coffee shop business plan will help you plan a strategy for success. It will consider factors such as opportunities, risks, and how you will market yourself . By having a good idea of this before you start a coffee shop, you will be better placed to overcome or avoid any difficulties.

Here are some examples of how a business plan could help iron out any difficulties:

Without a business plan, you would either not know about the potential difficulties listed above, or you would be aware of them but lacking any defined strategy for overcoming them. By creating a coffee shop business plan, you can tackle issues with a clearer head.

Business plans are also essential documents if you plan to apply for funding for your coffee shop.

You’ll likely need to submit the business plan to the bank when applying for a loan, or to investors when applying for equity funding. Having a well-thought-out business plan shows you have done your market research and analyzed your idea which helps give investors an overview of the risks and potential rewards of investing.

If you are going to use your business plan to apply for funding, you’ll need to go into a little more detail about the financials of your business. This will include your income and expenses and you’ll also need to include a section that discusses how you will use the money you’re raising.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

A Google search will reveal differences when it comes to the exact sections you should include in your coffee shop business plan.

Nonetheless, a coffee shop business plan template will include the sections listed below. In this part of the article, we’ll go through a coffee shop business plan template and discuss what you should include in each section.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is a short overview of your coffee shop business plan. It should include all the important details about your business. When deciding what to include, think about what you would want someone to see if they told you they would only read this one section of your plan.

Open your executive summary with a statement about what your coffee shop business is all about. Talk about what it will offer that is unique and mention why you think it will be successful. Is it the only coffee house in town, for example?

Coffee shop name: AI Coffee Shop

Executive Summary:

AI Coffee will serve high-quality coffee to office workers and business people who work nearby. We will sell espresso-based drinks with a focus on providing quality at speed. We will sell coffee to take away as well as to eat in, with an indoor seating area with space for 25 customers in our coffee shop.

While there are other coffee shops in the area, we believe that there is demand for more — especially ones that focus on a high-quality product. We will also provide a light lunch menu and pastries that we believe will differentiate us from other coffee shops in the area. 

Company Overview

In the company overview section, you should include practical details about your coffee shop business. This will include:

AI Coffee will be a privately held company owned entirely by Mr Smith, who will also manage the coffee shop. We will hire two full-time employees with at least two years of barista experience, as well as four part-time employees to help during busy periods.

Startup costs for the coffee shop will be $70,000, which will be spent on rent, renovations, and purchasing equipment. The owner has put up half the money and has borrowed half from a bank. Based on annual sales of $160,000 and after costs and wages, we expect to be profitable within the second year. 

Market and Customer Analysis

In the market analysis section, you should include details about the local market. This can include information on competitors, such as other coffee shops or any fast-food joints, restaurants, or bars that you think will be competing for your coffee shop’s money.

You should also outline what makes your coffee shop business unique and why you think it can be successful despite the competition. You can also include wider information about the coffee industry.

In the customer analysis section, you need to include information about your target market. Include details on who they are and why you think they will like your coffee shop, with metrics where possible. If you performed market research before starting your coffee shop business plan, include that here.

Market Analysis

The coffee industry is expected to keep growing between 2020 and 2024 in the U.S. Research suggests that coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the country, with the average person drinking two cups per day. We believe that this growth, plus the high volume of coffee people drink each day, makes opening a coffee shop a good business opportunity. 

Competitor Analysis

AI Coffee will be located in a vibrant district that is seeing offices open up and new companies move in. There are currently two other coffee shop competitors in the immediate area, but we believe there is room for more.

Our shop’s main advantages are that it is closer to a new office building than the other shops. We also plan to differentiate ourselves by offering a small lunch menu, unlike any of the existing coffee shops, as well as various customer loyalty schemes . 

Customer Analysis

The location of the coffee shop has high footfall, especially before and after work and during lunchtimes. The area has a high proportion of local professionals who can afford to spend money on coffee and other drinks. 

The office blocks in the immediate vicinity are home to around 2,500 people. There are also other buildings being developed nearby. The location is also close to shopping and entertainment districts. We expect to receive significant revenue from passersby, who will keep us busy during the day. 

Sales and Marketing Plan

Before you start a coffee shop, you should have a clear idea of what your business’s sales strategy will be.

Your sales strategy contains practical details on how you will handle sales. You should also include sales forecasts and how you have come up with these forecasts. In this section, you should include information about the products you will sell and your pricing strategy.

Your marketing plan will discuss the strategies you will use to get customers through the door. Discuss your budget and expected returns on investment. If you have a particularly complex marketing plan, you may want to create a separate document for this and only include the highlights in your business plan.

AI Coffee will open from 7.30 a.m. until 7.30 p.m. seven days a week. We expect the hours immediately before and after office hours, as well as between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., to be the busiest of the day, with much of our sales being to take out. 

We will use a commercial espresso machine and we expect to be able to produce up to a maximum of 70 cups of coffee per hour, which should be sufficient during busy times. 

We will sell our espresso-based drinks and tea at between $3 and $6, depending on the drink and the size. We will sell pastries at between $2 and $5, as well as light meals at between $7 and $12. These meals will be packaged so customers can either eat them on-site or take them away. 

We expect to generate around $730 per day from food and drink sales. 

Marketing Plan

We will market our coffee shop to customers in the nearby area through display marketing in relevant locations. We will also use social media marketing to target people nearby, and we will connect with people through our social media accounts. We will use these accounts to keep customers updated with new menu items as well as offers and discounts. 

We will also create a website and an app, which we will use to run a customer loyalty scheme . We will provide the option to order coffee through the app and pick it up at the shop. We think this will appeal to busy professionals. 

Our marketing will focus on the quality of the coffee we sell, as well as the benefits of our shop to office workers ( in-app ordering ). During the week after we open, we will offer substantial discounts on coffee to attract people to our business. This offer will be central to our marketing during this period. 

We will encourage repeat customers using a loyalty scheme that will give them a free cup of coffee when they buy eight drinks.

Our marketing budget will be $500 in the first two months, but we will cut this down to around $350 a month after that. 

Operating Plan

The operating plan will include details of how you will run your coffee shop. This will include costs, as well as specifics about things like opening times, food and drink production, prices, and more.

It will also allow you to spot any potential conflicts. For example, if you plan to serve 150 office workers between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., can you do it with only two members of staff or would you be better off hiring another employee?

You can also use this section to explain any licenses or certifications you need to get before you open your shop, as well as how you will train employees.

We will open from 7:30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. We will always have at least three staff members in place to take care of making coffee, process sales, and keep the coffee shop tidy.

We will buy our coffee wholesale from a supplier that specializes in high-quality coffee. This coffee will cost $40 per five-pound bag. We will keep enough coffee in stock to last for at least one week. 

In terms of equipment, we will use a commercial grinder to grind beans before making each cup. 

We will buy pastries and light meals from a local supplier who will also take care of the packaging. We will receive a daily delivery at 7 a.m., thirty minutes before the shop opens. 

We will thoroughly clean up the shop after closing to ensure it is ready for the following day. We will build HACCP processes to stay compliant with food safety regulations. All members of staff will receive training so they know about these processes.

Management Team

In the management team section, you should include who the business owners are and who will manage your coffee shop. You should write about any experience or qualifications they have that will help make them successful.

If the owners won’t be managing the coffee shop, you should include details about who will take care of the day-to-day running of the business. In this section, include how much you will be paying each of the management team as well as how any profits will be shared amongst the owners.

The owner will also manage the coffee shop. The owner has over ten years’ experience working in coffee shops, including six years in various management positions. AI Coffee will also hire two full-time employees. These employees will have at least two years’ experience working in a coffee shop. We will pay each full-time employee $22,000 a year.

We will also hire four part-time employees with or without experience to work at weekends and provide cover during the week. We will pay these employees $10 an hour. 

Financial Plan

The final section of the coffee shop business plan is the financial plan. Here you need to go into detail about how your business will be financially successful.

Include operating costs (this includes the cost of equipment), loan repayments, cash flow and expected revenue (in the first year, especially). Also, include a balance sheet analysis that shows how much revenue you need to take in to become a profitable coffee business.

In this section, we will explain our financial plan, including costs, expected sales, and profit. We will also include a balance sheet. We believe this plan accurately illustrates why AI Coffee will be financially successful. 


Wrapping Up

That’s all for our coffee shop business plan guide. We hope that this has equipped you with enough knowledge on how to start a coffee shop and will help you with your business planning.

To find out more about getting a business up and running, check out our guides to writing a business proposal in 2019 and writing a small business marketing plan.

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Coffee Shop Business Plan

Are you thinking of starting a coffee shop We have prepared a solid coffee shop business plan sample that guides you on every stage of your business plan writing

coffee house business plan sample

Starting your day without a cup of coffee is unimaginable. Similarly, brewing a fresh cup of coffee is an enormous challenge as it contains different variables to consider.

The cultural shift around geography affects the consumption of coffee and how businesses redefined their business strategy too. Deep diving into the coffee industry to know what it has to offer supports your startup.

Industry Overview

Coffee is the second-largest traded commodity in the world. In the United States of America, over 50% of 18 years of age drink coffee every day, which means 150 million daily coffee drinkers.

Presently there are 24000 coffee shops in the US, which is expected to increase to 50000+ in a year. The average consumption of coffee in the US is 2 cups a day per capita.

According to research, the US retail coffee market size is $46.2bn in 2021 with a growth of 2.6%.

Things to Consider Before Writing a Coffee Shop Business Plan

Before starting any business, knowing about the latest industry trends is important. What business practices are followed by industry at present and what are the future trends they are planning to pursue.

Decide a theme for your coffee shop

With cafes popping up at every corner, you need to have a theme that’ll help you stand out. It can be anything from having a book cafe, a unique name, or decor that makes you look different from all the coffee shops in your vicinity.

Budgeting and resource planning

Though having a decor that catches attention is essential, you shouldn’t go overboard with it.

Get creative, think of ideas that’ll help you save money in the beginning, and keep updating and building around your theme as your business grows.

Plan your resources, distributors for ingredients at the best possible price.

Target audience and products

Knowing your target audience and what they want. It helps you build a business that serves your customers’ needs better and makes them turn up more often. When you start a coffee shop, pay special attention to the location of your coffee shop and its accessibility, availability of parking space, and so on.

You should also decide upon products by carrying out surveys and taking feedback from your customers.

Competitive survey

Staying updated with what your competitors are doing is essential . It helps you stay at the top of everything and helps you devise business strategies to overcome competition.

As a coffee shop, it is a good practice to know what new ideas are working for your competitors and can be included in your business optimally.

How to Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan

If you are planning to start a new coffee shop business , the first thing you will need is a business plan. Use our sample  Cooper’s Cup – Coffee Shop Business Plan  created using Upmetrics business plan software to start writing your business plan in no time.

Before you start writing your business plan for your new coffee business, spend as much time as you can reading through some examples of the Food, Beverage & Restaurant Business Plans .

Reading some sample business plans will give you a good idea of what you’re aiming for. It will also show you the different sections that different entrepreneurs include and the language they use to write about themselves and their business plans.

We have created this sample Cooper’s Cup – Coffee Shop Business Plan for you to get a good idea about how a perfect coffee shop business plan should look like and what details you will need to include in your stunning business plan.

Coffee Shop Business Plan Outline

This is the standard coffee shop business plan outline which will cover all important sections that you should include in your business plan.

Executive Summary

Business Overview

Products and Services

Market Analysis

Competitive Analysis

Marketing And Sales

Organization and Management

Financial Plan

Putting together a business plan for your Coffee Shop business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the above template, by the time you are done you will truly be an expert. You will understand your business, its competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful Coffee Shop business.

After getting started with upmetrics , you can copy this coffee shop business plan template into your business plan and modify the required information and download your coffee shop business plan pdf or doc file . It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

coffee house business plan sample

Business Planning Resources

We have plenty of  free business planning resources  available to help you with your planning. You can download our resources to learn all about business planning.


Not found what you are looking for? Explore our 200+ sample business plans to find match for your business.

coffee house business plan sample

DISCLAIMER: The business plans, templates, and articles contained on are not to be considered as legal advice. All content is for informational purposes, and upmetrics makes no claim as to accuracy, legality or suitability. The site owner shall not be held liable for any errors, omissions or for damages of any kind.

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13 Tips to Open a Successful Coffee Shop

13 Tips to Open a Successful Coffee Shop

Worldwide, experts estimate that people drink about 2.5 billion cups of coffee a day. Sales in the ready-to-drink market—which includes coffee shops—are forecast to grow by 67 percent between now and 2022. Additionally, coffee and other ready-to-drink shops show incredible resilience in volatile markets, helping to eliminate some of the uncertainty associated with small business ownership. If you’ve been thinking of combining your love of coffee with your entrepreneurial spirit, it may be time to try your hand at opening a coffee shop.

What You Need to Open a Coffee Shop

Aside from a love of that sweet java, you’ll want to get a few things in order to get your shop up and running. To help with this, Jack Wilson, owner of Radio Coffee and Beer in Austin, Texas, and Marc Renson, owner of Ambition Bistro in Schenectady, New York, stepped away from brewing and serving to offer 13 tips to prospective owners. Here’s what they recommend you consider when starting a coffee shop:

1. Write a business plan for your coffee shop

One of the most vital steps you’ll take toward starting your coffee shop is to write a business plan. This document spells out:

Keep your business plan lean

Before you dive into creating a traditional, long-form business plan, we recommend creating a one-page pitch. This will allow you to quickly validate your business idea and get a good sense of who your market is, how you’re going to reach them, and find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Will you serve pour-overs exclusively? Will you only use high-end coffee grinders and bean varieties? Will you include baked goods on your menu as well?

Similar to a thorough executive summary, this one-page pitch or Lean Plan  is a faster, more efficient way to plan your business.

Browse our free coffee shop sample business plans

Need help getting started? Check out our business plan templates for guidance. They’re free real-world examples for you to work from and are available to download and edit as Word documents. Whether you’re starting a little coffee and internet café or a coffee house bistro, there’s a business plan template—a sample business plan—to suit your coffee shop needs.  

Coffee Kiosk Business Plan

Read how The Daily Perc opened drive-thru and mobile coffee stands, serving coffee drinks and other beverages to their target market: daily commuters and captive consumers.

Coffeehouse Business Plan

This sample business plan describes how Dark Roast Java attracted a diverse clientele with its Mediterranean art glass decor.

Internet Cafe Business Plan

The JavaNet Internet Cafe was a true visionary business sample plan when it was written, and with most coffee houses adopting some form of this plan, it’s obvious that it was an idea ahead of its time. 

Cafe Bistro Coffeehouse Business Plan

The Watertower Cafe sample business plan describes how the cafe will establish itself as a “destination” of choice to the many residents of the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, as well as numerous out-of-town visitors by providing affordable high-quality food, coffee-based products, and entertainment.

Coffee Roaster Business Plan

Beanisimo Coffee is a startup coffee roaster in Salem, Oregon. Founder Frank Jones aims to bring old-world Italian traditions and recipes to meet the market need for premium coffees. His target market is coffee houses, restaurants, and grocery stores.

The key to making a sample business plan useful is to take the time to modify it so it’s right for your business. A lot of the benefit of creating a business plan is in the process of thinking through each part of the plan. Not sure if you need a plan? Check out this article on reasons why having a business plan is important. 

Free business plan template

2. Find the best location for your coffee shop

To be successful, you need the right location for your coffee shop. You want something that fits the following parameters:

Jack Wilson, the owner of Radio Coffee and Beer, warns that finding this dream spot won’t happen overnight.

His team scoured city after city, scouting each location, even going so far as to count pedestrian traffic by hand. He was looking for a former restaurant space, so he didn’t have to remodel everything from scratch. Finally, one day when he dropped his keys on the sidewalk he noticed a tiny “for sale” sign in a former tavern window. After months of searching, he’d found his spot.

Keep in mind that effective restaurant spaces are highly sought after and difficult to find. It may take a while to find just the right spot, but for a business type that benefits from ease of access and casual traffic, it’s worth taking your time to find the right spot.

3. Create a floor plan

A solid and welcoming floor plan is vital for a coffee shop. You want customers to have space to form a line, employees to have the materials they need within reach for quick access and a comfortable seating area. As with finding a location, it will take some time to produce a good floor plan. 

According to Wilson you should, “walk yourself through every scenario you can think of,” he says. “If you’re making coffee, what needs to be near you? If you’re a customer, what do you want in a seating area? Visualize everything you can and start putting those ideas down on paper.”

Working on the floor plan of your coffee shop not only gives you a vision for branding and layout, but can also be an effective piece of your pitch to investors.

Demo floor plan via RoomSketcher.

Design your cafe floor plan online

Here are a few free websites you can use to kickstart your planning process. Once you’ve drawn up an initial sketch on paper, get online and make it a reality.

Autodesk Homestyler (free): This is probably my favorite option. You can either start designing your floor from scratch or choose from a gallery of designs to personalize with your own look and feel. In fact, there’s even an option to experiment with real-world products and brands. When you’re done, you’ll be able to share the design as part of your planning process. It can even be used as part of your pitch to potential investors.

Floorplanner: This software is clean and simple to use, with plenty of drag-and-drop furniture and other items to fill out your design. It allows for both 2-D and 3-D visualization of your designs and can be easily printed out if needed.

Gliffy: While it may not be the go-to floor plan solution, I’ve included Gliffy on this list anyway, due to it being a well-known diagram and flowchart application. If you’ve used it before, you may want to give it a try to minimize the learning curve and jump right into designing. While you’re at it, you can even plot out your SWOT analysis.

4. Hire an accountant

One of the best pieces of advice Wilson says he can offer a new coffee shop owner is to turn your books over to an accountant. Aside from taking valuable time away from the business, having a numbers expert works in your favor.

“You won’t be as hard on yourself as you sometimes might need to be,” Wilson says. “Plus, you will make assumptions that an accountant wouldn’t make.”

In reality, your accountant is really your small business consultant. Make sure you find someone who believes in you and can help accomplish your business goals. If you’re unable to hire an accountant right away, you can also look to an online option like QuickBooks . The benefit of online accounting software is that you’ll have direct visibility into the day-to-day finances of your business. As an added benefit, it also directly integrates with the LivePlan business planning software, allowing you to actively compare forecasts and actuals on a dime.

Both are great options for managing your finances, and the decision fully depends on your situation and level of expertise.

5. Attain funding from local sources

Finding startup funds for a coffee shop can be difficult. Renson suggests talking with friends and family about investing in your coffee shop first. Present a solid business plan to them and ask them to invest in your business.

If funding via your family isn’t an option, or if you need more cash than your family can provide, Renson suggests looking into local loan options. In some cases, cities offer business assistance programs to offset costs. Consider an SBA-backed loan or see if a local bank or credit union is an option. Keep in mind that any bank loan will require you to show evidence that your business has some traction already. They want to know you’re a reasonable risk. So if you’re not up and running yet, there are other options for bootstrapping your business that you might consider. 

6. Save money for your personal expenses

When identifying startup costs , don’t forget that you need to consider your own personal expenses alongside your business. All of your time and energy will be devoted to your new business, which potentially won’t be profitable for around six-months, even if you start bringing in revenue immediately.

So, plan ahead. Renson suggests making sure you set aside enough money to cover your personal expenses for at least six months if not longer. You’ll need to decide whether it’s possible to run your coffee shop while working another job or side gig or if you’ll be able to solely focus on your new business.

You will also want to understand the concept of cash flow . Considering that over half of the businesses that fail are profitable on paper when they fail, you’ll want to be sure you understand how much cash you’ll need on hand. 

7. Shop around for everything

While you’re in the planning and funding stages and working through your finances,  keep a list or spreadsheet of all the startup expenses you’re looking at so you can compare prices.

Before you buy, try to get at least two price quotes for every item so you’re not losing money on basic necessities or recurring costs. Use the internet to your advantage and look for the best prices on everything from comfy chairs to espresso machines.

8. Network your heart out

Having a hot location and brewing superior coffee will only get you so far. You need to network to maintain a connection to the area and to attract more customers. Look into joining the local chamber of commerce, a business association, or partner with a local charity. Be visible in your local community and get dedicated partners long before you open your doors.

Business planning shouldn't be complicated. Plan, fund and grow your business with a simple, all-in-one platform. Get LivePlan.

9. Develop your marketing plan — before you open

If you start marketing the day you open, you’re already behind. On opening day , you want people excited to come in. You’ll want to develop your marketing strategy and begin advertising to potential customers several months before opening.

Affordable marketing options to consider:

Don't forget to show some love to the exterior of your business. This can be a simple marketing tool that not only drums up excitement, but establishes a brand for your location.

Image via Radio Coffee and Beer .

10. Don’t just focus on the interior of the building

It’s likely that you’ll stress over every little detail of your shop, from what paintings to hang on the wall to the point of sale system (POS System) you’ll use. That being said, it can be very easy to ignore the exterior of your shop or coffee cart which directly contrasts with choosing a location with heavy foot traffic. 

According to Wilson, you’ll want to “pay attention to the landscaping, signage, and exterior appearance because that’s the first thing people see.” Some people decide whether or not to come in based on their first impression of the building, so make it count.

By creating a clean and unique exterior, you’ll begin to create a buzz in your community. People will start to wonder, who is setting up shop there? Every little thing you can do to attract attention to your coffee shop can serve as a marketing tool.

11. Have a positive attitude

Like every business, you’ll face challenges to get your shop off the ground. Renson says keeping a positive attitude when things aren’t going your way is a must. Not only does it benefit your outlook, but it showcases strong leadership to your employees and a welcoming presence for customers.

Fake it if you have to. If you get in the habit of keeping an optimistic attitude, even if it’s less than genuine to start, you’ll eventually teach yourself to stay upbeat and will keep those around you optimistic and ready to work.

12. Hire slowly

You need help manning the register, waiting on customers, and making drinks, but don’t hire too many people too fast. Renson suggests hiring a few friends, or neighbors who will volunteer to help you out for the first few weeks. Slowly, bring on staff as needed.

Hiring trusted staff can be tough. No matter how well someone does in an interview, you don’t know how well he or she fits until they’re on the floor. Keep a close eye on the register, Renson suggests, and don’t be afraid to let people go if they are hurting the business. 

13. Set high standards

It’s okay to set high standards for your employees and overall business. That’s not to say that you should micromanage your employees. You’ll want to focus on effectively training your staff at the start and building an effective workflow that encourages collaboration and high-quality work. Their ability to make good coffee drinks quickly will have an impact on customer loyalty and satisfaction. 

Starting an independent coffee shop is hard work, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a long-term struggle. If you focus on establishing these core pieces while developing your coffee shop business plan, you’ll set yourself up for success early on. 

Learn more about running a successful coffee shop:

This article is part of our Cafe Business Startup Guide —a curated list of articles to help you plan, start, and grow your cafe business!

AvatarCandice Landau

Candice Landau


Candice is a freelance writer, jeweler, and digital marketing hybrid.

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coffee house business plan sample

Plan, fund, and grow.

Easily write a business plan, secure funding, and gain insights.

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coffee house business plan sample

Coffee Shop & Cafe Business Plans

Did you know each of these plans was created in LivePlan? Learn More

Cafe Bistro Coffeehouse Business Plan

The Watertower Cafe is a start-up restaurant/bistro/coffeehouse, offering food, coffee, and music; it is located in Atlanta.

Coffee Kiosk Business Plan

The Daily Perc will open drive-thru and mobile cafes serving coffee drinks and other beverages to the commuter and captive consumer markets.

Coffee Roaster Business Plan

Beanisimo Coffee is a start up Salem, Oregon based coffee roaster that has developed a line of premium coffees and espressos.

Coffee Shop Business Plan

Java Culture is a coffee bar providing high-quality gourmet coffee with great service.

Coffeehouse Business Plan

Dark Roast Java is the newest coffee house/cafe to open in downtown Pleasantville, offering a uniquely flavorful coffee drink in a comfortable, upscale environment.

Convenience Store Cafe Business Plan

Luna's Convenience Store is an upscale convenience store with a small 20-seat cafe.

Internet Cafe Business Plan

JavaNet is a start-up business that will provide a unique forum for communication and entertainment through the medium of the Internet.

Religious Coffeeshop Business Plan

Inspirational Grounds is a start-up Christian Cafe selling specialty coffee drinks, food, religious books and music in Minneapolis.

Sports Equipment Cafe Business Plan

The Boulder Stop is a start-up retail business that will offer high-end rock climbing gear and classic Northwest coffee.

Tea Room Business Plan

Jasmine Teahouse is a new upscale teahouse in Simsbury, CT, serving over 52 kinds of whole-leaf teas, pastries, and premium chocolates from around the world.

Wake up and smell the opportunity! Do you make a mean cup of joe? A love for quality coffee and a desire to create a warm, cozy coffee shop or cafe could blend to create the newest caffeine hub for your community. Plan for success with our coffee shop business sample plans.

If you’re looking to develop a more modern business plan, we recommend you try LivePlan . It contains the same templates and information you see here, but with additional guidance to help you develop the perfect plan.

coffee house business plan sample

Plan, fund, and grow.

Easily write a business plan, secure funding, and gain insights.

Achieve your business funding goals with a proven plan format.

coffee house business plan sample


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    Network with lenders and other coffee makers. Develop your marketing plan. Focus on the Exterior. Remain positive. Hire slowly. Set high standards. 1. Write a business plan for your coffee shop. One of the most vital steps you’ll take toward starting your coffee shop is to write a business plan.

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    Plan for success with our coffee shop business sample plans. If you’re looking to develop a more modern business plan, we recommend you try LivePlan. It contains the same templates and information you see here, but with additional guidance to help you develop the perfect plan. Plan, fund, and grow.