Running your own business can feel utterly exhausting and, at times, hopeless. At the end of the day, as you look at your books, you might be thinking that it wasn’t worth it.
Coffee shops especially can result in these kinds of thoughts and feelings. Considering that more than 50% of independently owned coffee shops fail within their first five years, running one is a daunting prospect.
But you can make a coffee shop profitable. With planning, effort, and time, you can turn your coffee shop into an essential part of your community.
How? Keep on reading, and we’ll show you ten different ways to make your coffee shop profitable.
Best Ways to Make your Coffee Shop Profitable
Consider Buying a Franchise
If you haven’t opened your coffee shop yet and you’re just looking for where to start, buying a franchise could be a good option for you. The benefits to this are numerous.
You’ll have the reputation of an established brand at your back, you will be less likely to fail, and many of the toughest business decisions will be made for you. It’s a bit like dipping your toes into the world of starting your own business.
There are drawbacks, however. Because you’d be a franchise owner, you’d have to follow the franchise’s rules and you’d have less authority.
Purchasing a franchise can also be expensive, depending on which one you’re interested in. These are all factors you should weigh in your mind before making the decision.
Choose a Good Location
Real estate experts everywhere will tell you that the three most important parts of a property are location, location, and location. You’ve probably heard that exact phrase before.
The right location will bring your business huge advantages. If you were surrounded by offices, for example, you’d be in a ripe position to secure patronage from employees on their lunch breaks.
What makes a location worth choosing? Aside from what’s around it, think about the cost of rent and whether or not there’s sufficient parking nearby.
If it’s not a hassle for customers to get to you, you’ll find them coming more often.
Have Well-Trained and Knowledgeable Baristas
Have you ever experienced bad customer service? It probably made you think twice about returning to whichever business you experienced it in.
Your baristas are the customer service of your coffee shop. As the face of your business, you’ll need to ensure they have the adequate training to provide a positive experience for your customers time after time.
And it takes a lot of skills to be a barista. Tamping, grinding, steaming, and creating recipes are just a few of the things they do daily.
And a talented barista will do all this while providing excellent customer service. This is a pretty big deal, since 77% of customers have said they’d recommend a brand to friends after having a positive experience with it.
Provide a Relaxing and Unique Atmosphere
Many people go to coffee shops to get their work done. Plenty of others go just to sit and bask in the relaxing ambiance that they have a reputation for.
Make sure you can provide the right atmosphere for your customers to savor. If customers feel welcome and comfortable in your business, they won’t hesitate to come back again.
But also try not to lose yourself by creating an atmosphere that doesn’t mesh with your company. Think about the kind of moods and memories you want to inspire in your customers, and blend those factors into the air of your shop.
If you make the atmosphere both relaxing and unique to your business, you bet customers will remember it.
Expand your Menu
When a tool has more than one niche use, it gets used more often. The same idea works for businesses, too.
You’ve heard of one-stop shops. These are places that pride themselves on being businesses where customers can get everything they need without having to go to several different stores.
Your coffee shop can be the same way. You don’t need to provide just coffee – you can also expand your menu to include other types of popular drinks, desserts, and meals.
If a customer can get more than a cup of coffee from you, then they’ll come to you for more, too. Ensure you have these additional options available to cast a wide net.
Host Memorable Events
The most important aspect to profits in a coffee shop is your customer. You’ll want to bring customers in the door, and not just always the same ones (although regulars are certainly nice, too).
One method of achieving that end is by using your space to host an event of some kind. It’s remarkably effective, because 70% of attendees report becoming regular customers after an event.
There’s a ton of fun events you could have to bring in crowds. Live music, games, charities, and open mics are just a few of the things you could do.
Need some event inspiration? Click here for our guide on possible coffee shop events.
Sell Coffee Shop Merch
Drinks and food aren’t the only things you have to sell. Over time, your very brand and name have the potential to become marketable qualities.
You can expand upon this by selling merchandise in your coffee shop. People who come to your shop regularly might absolutely love the thought of being able to wear a hat with your name on it, or of drinking from a mug with your design on it.
Selling merchandise doesn’t need to be expensive, either. You can always have small and inexpensive things for sale, like stickers, key chains, or buttons.
Take Care of Your Employees
One of your greatest resources will be your employees. Too often, companies lose sight of this fact, resulting in expensive turnover and a quickly burnt-out staff.
It takes time to train a new employee adequately. You can reduce this time by providing a workplace that employees will feel comfortable in, lowering your need to train new ones as old ones stay on your payroll longer.
If it doesn’t sound as important as other factors, consider the fact that employees who are properly engaged have 21% greater profitability. Furthermore, when they feel like they’re being sufficiently heard by their employers, employees are 4.6 times more likely to feel motivated to do their best work for you.
Have meetings where you listen to what your employees’ concerns are. Take their suggestions into serious consideration.
And make sure you give them a welcome and safe place to work – one that they can feel proud of.
Maintain a Presence on Social Media
Nowadays, if you’re not online at all, you’re behind the times. Various social media platforms are the perfect scene for growing your business through raising customer awareness.
Transparency is the key here. In fact, 53% of customers have said they’re more likely to buy from a company that they feel is transparent on social media.
These customers reported videos among one of best ways of being transparent. In keeping with those findings, you could post videos of how to make recipes crafted by your baristas.
Or you could post videos of what a day is like in your coffee shop. Really, there’s so many things you can share with the world, and the easiest way to do it is online.
Offer Free Wi-Fi
Imagine what the average coffee shop looks like in your head. In your vision, think about the customers scattered around the chairs and tables.
Chances are, quite a few of the people you’re picturing are on their phones, typing at a laptop, or tapping on a tablet. Studying and working are two big reasons people hang around after buying their drink.
Cater to the business and college crowd by having free wi-fi for your customers. It’s part of a welcoming environment, and could keep them coming back when they need a peaceful place to work.
Owning a coffee shop can seem really intimidating. There are so many factors to consider, and there’s so much competition out there.
But with the correct combination of qualities, you can transform your shop into one customers will remember fondly. And what they remember fondly, they’ll want to keep coming back to over and over again.