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What Makes a Coffee Shop Successful: 10 Must-Have Habits for Success

What Makes a Coffee Shop Successful?

Running a coffee shop is a tough business. With 70% of sales in the industry coming from the top 50 coffee shops, being the new one on the block can put you at a serious disadvantage.

Success doesn’t come easily. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort to achieve it.

But with some smart strategies, planning, work, and time, you can make your shop successful, too.

So what makes a coffee shop successful? In this guide, we’ll examine ten different habits that top-notch shops use around the world.

Habits of Successful Coffee Shops

Offering Quality Drinks

Obviously, coffee is going to be the foundation upon which you build your business. What sets successful shops apart from others, though, is that they don’t just use average ingredients to make so-so drinks.

Establish yourself as a cut above your competition by ensuring each beverage on your menu is the absolute best it can be. Start with your components – use high-quality ingredients that won’t hold your baristas back.

Examine your recipes themselves, too. Confirm that the measurements and ratios are correct in your gourmet or specialty drinks for the optimal taste.

Last, take a look at the equipment your staff is using to prepare everything. Do you have a good espresso machine and grinder?

If you’re in need of a new espresso machine, take the quiz at the bottom of this article. We’ll help match you with the perfect machine for your business.

Providing Top-Notch Customer Service

Baristas, as the face of your shop, will function as your customer service on a day-to-day basis. That’s a big part of how your customers will come to perceive your shop.

If you think customer service isn’t as important as providing quality drinks, consider this: 80% of customers say the experience provided by a company is just as important as its product. Your employees are a massive portion of that experience.

Crafting tasty drinks is only one facet of your barista’s job. Establishing rapport with people is another, and one of the reasons customers might feel inclined to recommend your shop to friends or family.

Selling More than Just Coffee

It's a wise idea to have a few other options on your menu.

It’s half of the phrase “coffee shop.” Because of that, you could be forgiven for assuming that one should sell only or even mostly coffee in one.

Yes, the coffee is essential, but there’s no reason to restrict yourself to it. Not everyone drinks it, after all, and you want to be as welcoming to as many people as possible.

Because of that, it’s a wise idea to have a few other options on your menu. Consider adding things like smoothies, teas, pastries, and sandwiches.

Aside from food, you could even sell your own store merchandise. We have a few suggestions on potential merchandise you could sell here. 

Rewarding Customer Loyalty

Attracting new customers is always a great thing, but so is keeping old ones. Don’t abandon your most loyal guests in favor of drawing in new ones constantly.

How do you keep people coming back? Reward them for their continued patronage.

Over half of customers have said that rewards and loyalty programs can affect their buying choices. Many actively seek out businesses with these kinds of incentives.

Strive to make loyal customers welcome. Extend rewards to them such as punch cards or loyalty points programs.

Creating a Pleasant Environment

Create a place that relaxing and welcoming, and you won't find your customers dashing out the door at the earliest possible moment.

What’s the main reason you’d stop in a coffee shop for a while instead of getting a to-go cup and heading out the door ASAP? It’s probably the environment.

Students and business people often go to coffee shops for work and studying. Coffee shops are also a popular place to go for dates and meetings.

Keep this in mind as you curate your settings. Create a place that’s relaxing and welcoming, and you won’t find your customers dashing out the door at the earliest possible moment.

A few factors that make the environment more palatable are wi-fi, suitable decorations, and even potentially the background music. Take all these things into consideration, but also make sure to create a space that fits your business’s personality, too.

Becoming Involved in the Community

Coffee shops are terrific locations for meetings and hang-outs. You can promote this image by integrating yourself into your community.

How? Host all kinds of events in your shop.

Because coffee shops are such great places for socializing, you’re in a unique position to have a wide range of events in yours. Game nights and art shows are two examples of what you could do.

If you need some more ideas, click here for our list of potential events to have in a coffee shop.

Using Effective Promotional Strategies

You can't just sit there and let the customers trickle in - you need to sell yourself to them.

Putting your name out there is a gigantic part of any business. Generally, you can’t just sit there and let the customers trickle in – you need to sell yourself to them.

The best coffee shops know this, and promote themselves accordingly. Sales, promos, and varied advertising campaigns are all things that the biggest companies in the world do.

Social media marketing is especially pertinent right now. In fact, ¾ of marketers believe that it’s been somewhat or very effective for their business.

So there’s no reason why it couldn’t be effective for yours, too. Think about building a solid presence on social media.

We’ve also got more ideas for promoting coffee shops here.

Listening to Their Customers

If you’re looking for ways to improve your business, why not ask the people who actually go there? People love to feel heard, and your customers are no different.

Ask them for their feedback. Figure out what sorts of things they’d like to see, or what they think you could make better.

To accomplish this, you could have polls or posts on your social network accounts asking followers for their opinions. Or you could have surveys printed at the bottom of your receipts, like many chains do.

Another option is to have opinion cards to hand out to customers. You’ve probably seen these at your table at some restaurants, where you’re able to fill out any comments you have about the experience.

Engaging Their Employees

We’ve all had jobs that we didn’t like. Do you remember how much of a drag it feels to go to a job you’re dreading?

You probably did the bare minimum at that job, or counted down the minutes until you got to clock out.

This isn’t the kind of environment you want to put your baristas in. Successful businesses realize how crucial their employees are, and take steps to keep them safe and happy.

It’s not just beneficial to the employees when their employer is on their side, either. Some studies have shown that happier salespeople produce up to 37% more in sales.

Have meetings with your team to listen to their ideas and feedback. Help foster their professional growth.

Another option here is to provide a free meal or drink to them on their shift. Over half of full-time employees who had access to free food at their jobs said they were happy at work.

Keeping Up with Trends

In an industry where survival of the fittest is a real concept, adaptability is a great quality to have in your arsenal.

Don’t let yourself fall by the wayside. Keep your eyes out for any changes in the industry.

And that doesn’t just mean stay on top of coffee trends (although that’s important, too). Look for any changes in marketing, social concepts, entertainment – anything.

Many trends you might not think are useful initially could potentially be used to increase awareness of your company. A business that keeps on top of these changes is an adaptable one.

In an industry where survival of the fittest is a real concept, adaptability is a great quality to have in your arsenal.

Wrap Up

When you’re the owner of a coffee shop, you know you’re in an incredibly competitive business. A large number of independent coffee shops simply don’t survive because of the intense competition.

It won’t be easy, but you can make your own shop successful, too. Time, effort, and careful planning can all lead to you becoming a lasting fixture in your city.

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