Coffee House Business Plan: The Big Picture

Marketing 22 minute read 16th May 2024

A business plan is one of the most valuable things you can have when running a coffee house. Everyone knows how start-ups are. You always miss the budget, splurging on those precious extra funds or cutting operations short of your original plans. Having a coffee house business plan totally transforms your approach.

Instead of scrambling through the dark, you approach your business streamlined. This helps keep you on a budget and reach specific milestones more effectively.

For instance, your business plan would have set actionable goals to expand to a second chain within two years. These smaller steps make you move towards a bigger picture or business vision. It’s fantastic for moving forward with purpose.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the concept of business plans for the bigger picture. We’ll cover why this is so vital in the coffee house industry.

And we’ll share insights into how you can make a start strategizing for the future. Are you ready? Let’s go — we’ve got coffee houses to scale.

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Why Use a Business Plan for Your Coffee House?

Business plans are vital for coffee houses because they give you direction and force you to evaluate your approach.

A huge reason why coffee houses fail is because they are generic. That sucks to say, doesn’t it? But in such a saturated market, you’ve really got to have a master plan to stand out.

Sure, this could be your location. But chances are, if you’re a small business just starting, you can’t afford the best location. It should definitely still be a consideration, but you can’t let it be the only consideration.

Instead, you must consider your USP (unique selling point) and branding. What makes your coffee house special? Is it your coffee beans? Insanely creative loyalty programs? Your business has to offer something that others don’t; otherwise, there’s no reason for potential customers to visit.

A coffee shop business plan also helps you to stay financially sound. Having a budget means you can safely invest in your business over a long-term basis, understanding risk versus reward. Running out of funds isn’t going to impress anyone or build the foundations of a successful business.

Finally, having a business plan sets you up for progress. Having a reminder of those steps you want to achieve is a fantastic way to promote growth and direction.

In summary, these are three key reasons that all coffee shop owners should have a business plan:

  1. To help with branding and a USP so you stand out in a saturated market.
  2. To ensure that your financial plan is feasible.
  3. To prioritize direction and actionable growth.

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Finding a Coffee House Business Plan Sample

It can be daunting to create something with zero information. In fact, the best way to create a business plan for a coffee shop is to look at others. So, here we go: How do you find a coffee house business plan sample?

In short, hit Google. There are tons of templates available online. Writing a business plan is tricky until you know how, but you’ll be flying once you get the inspiration.

We love good business plans, and we actually have a specialist coffee marketing plan and more on our website. The best advice we can give you is to use Google to see what’s out there. There are government websites offering templates and even business plan builder tools.

The industry is generous with its free resources. 62% of coffee shops fail in their first five years, and we don’t want you to be one of them. There’s a real sense of community in the coffee industry.

If you’re in a rush and need an instant cafe shop business plan, check out our sample below. Here’s a rough plan you can copy or tweak to suit your business:

Business Name: (Insert here)

Mission Statement: (The “why” you’re running your business)

An Explanation of the Business: (What’s the idea itself? Breakdown the products and services)

Business Model: (What will make you financially viable, and where will your profit come from)

Target Market: (Who is your target market? What’s your ideal customer?)

Market Analysis: (Who is your competition? What’s already out there? Include a detailed competitive analysis)

Marketing Strategy: (How are you getting your business out there? Will you use social media marketing or something else?)

Timeline: (What’s your timeline? How quickly before you build a loyal customer base? How long before you expand?)

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Can You Get a Coffee House Business Plan Free?

Yes, you can absolutely get a coffee house business plan for free. All you need to do is Google “business plan builder tool,” and dozens of free templates will pop up.

If you want to draft one independently, just use the rough questions above. You can then make it look aesthetically pleasing, adding it to a PowerPoint if you’re pitching investors. If it’s just for your own sake, you can set it out aesthetically to boost your motivation. Or you can keep it as a basic list — whatever suits your needs.

Coffee shops don’t need expensive business plans. Setting one up is free and only takes a bit of time. Amazingly, such a low-cost planning strategy can greatly radicalize your business success.

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How To Develop a Successful Coffee Shop Business Plan

It’s great to glance at those business plan templates. However, if you’re taking this seriously, you will need more information than that. After all, some people don’t feel confident conducting marketing analytics immediately. So, how do you develop a successful coffee shop business plan? What goes into collecting all those details?

We’ll explain the simple steps and processes behind every successful coffee shop business plan.

1. Establish Your Business at Its Core

Establishing the basics of your business is vital. Until you know your values, you don’t have anything to “stand for.” Of course, this makes it hard for potential customers to “know” your business. How can they possibly begin building positive associations when there’s nothing consistent from which to create them?

Establishing your business at its core (think mission statement, future goals, and USP) is a vital foundation for branding. Without this foundation, you’ll be floundering later.

The first step of any successful business plan is establishing your coffee shop’s core. What is your “why,” where are you going, and what exactly do you offer customers?

2. Get Realistic With Profitability and Budget

Without knowledge of your expenses, you can’t possibly establish profitability and a budget. Pricing up the average cup of coffee isn’t as simple as that. What’s your financial plan incorporating things like maintenance repairs for coffee roasters and social media marketing?

Establish margins for unforeseen expenses and budget for long-term investments like marketing strategies. Operating costs aren’t always predictable.

Your business plan should include a thoughtful financial plan and business model clearly stating how your venture is financially viable. You may think these details will “sort themselves,” or you can approach them in real-time. However, a lack of financial preparation and budgeting could cost you your business later down the line.

Start financially strong, as you mean to go on. You can’t build a profitable success while ignoring this side of your business.

3. Do Your Market Research

Market analysis is so valuable. The last thing you want is to target an invisible customer base. You need to prove that there’s a loyal customer base ready and waiting for a coffee shop like yours. Invest in getting to know your target market beforehand, and then you will know you can attract the right people later.

This research also helps you choose your products and shape your services in a way that will go down a treat. Shaping your business helps it appeal to the customers you want to target.

For instance, you could offer a co-working space with a refill coffee package to remote workers in Sydney CBD. Or you could sell babyccinos and an enclosed kids’ play area at a cafe for young mums.

Doing that market research beforehand ensures that you’re barking up the right tree. This way, you won’t have to invest even more money later to make it a better fit.

You can also use market research to check out your competition. What’s already working? What’s the gap in the market?

4. Stay Forward Thinking

Above all, your business plan should be very forward-thinking. If you want success, great! How are you going to get there?

The best approach is to break things down into steps. For instance, what’s your ultimate goal for your coffee shop? If you could get there in just four steps, what would those four steps be?

An example might be that your goal is to have a coffee shop chain catering to young mums. You specifically want these to be girly and trendy but still offer a supportive, child-friendly atmosphere. You might design coffee shops with a play area and meet-up groups.

Your four steps might be:

  1. Establish great branding through regular meet-up events and document these to create a social media presence for marketing.
  2. Grow brand awareness and provide a tasty menu to make the coffee shop number one profitable.
  3. Use the profit from coffee shop number one to invest in coffee shop number two.
  4. Invest in brand awareness and events for coffee shop number two.

Realistically, your main steps will have little extra steps as well. For example, creating a social media presence will involve setting up accounts and committing to daily engagement. However, having these main steps helps you to focus on progress. Staying forward-thinking is a spectacular way to commit and invest in your business.

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5 Marketing Strategies To Help Your Coffee Shop

As you now know, marketing is a huge part of coffee shop success. It brings brand awareness and emphasizes your USP (unique selling point). In this section, we’ll help you with the marketing section of your business plan.

No matter your budget, there’s a form of marketing for you. Simply put, you just cannot rely on word-of-mouth marketing and the power of your location alone.

Even a coffee shop outside NYC’s Grand Central Station or London’s Buckingham Palace would be wise to invest in extra marketing. You must be active when approaching marketing strategies in your coffee shop business plan.

With that said, these are the five strategies that can utterly transform your business.

1. Email Marketing

Email marketing is such a regular strategy that you might not think it will be helpful for coffee shops. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Email marketing is nowhere near as corporate as you think it is.

You can use email marketing to create a loyalty program and send out emails that are actually fun. For instance, you could run monthly competitions and giveaways. Or you could send out birthday emails offering exclusive discounts.

You can make email marketing appeal to your target customer in so many ways. It doesn’t have to be for crisp-collared business people.

Emails are easy to collect, too; just wait for our final section on utilizing WiFi in coffee shops.

2. SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is much more casual than email marketing, which is perfect for those wanting a low-key approach. SMS marketing also has a great opening rate.

Consider it if you want an effective campaign with minimal effort, as incidentally, SMS messages have a low word count. Fewer words to write and better opening rates? It’s an easy sell, isn’t it?

3. Proximity Marketing

A big part of customer service is itching a scratch that needs itching right that moment. This is what makes proximity marketing so brilliant.

Anyone using general WiFi (like mall WiFi) or Bluetooth can trigger a proximity marketing notification. This is a little pop-up that encourages the recipient to visit right now, usually emphasizing how close they are.

After all, if you’re so close already, why not bite the bullet and visit? Especially if the pop-up is offering you 50% off for the next hour. Investing in proximity marketing is fantastic, especially if you’re in a mall or built-up retail area.

4. Social Media Marketing

This is the holy grail of marketing in the modern age. Short, snappy videos and reels that can go viral from a funny trend or audio are the key to success. Your main choices are Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

We’d advise you to pick Instagram or TikTok to make a start on this. However, you should remember the ongoing controversy around potential TikTok bans in certain countries. It might be better to keep two as insurance.

5. Events Marketing

Events marketing is excellent for coffee houses. You set up fun occasions to entice new people over your threshold. This helps you profit on the day through ticket selling or product sales and network with new customers. Afterward, it’s your responsibility to convert these attendees into loyal customers, so have plenty of initiatives available on the day.

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Beambox: Utilizing WiFi for Your Coffee House

Speaking of long-term results from minimal investment, have you heard of WiFi marketing? Coffee shop WiFi can be a real game changer for your business. And if you don’t believe us, just check out the international coffee shop chains offering WiFi to their coffee drinkers.

Offering WiFi to your guests is as important as investing in great-quality coffee grinders. How crazy is that? In the modern day and age, WiFi can make or break whether a cafe survives. Guests want to stay connected to friends and family (and even strangers online), so your cafe needs to enable connection.

Luckily, this can work beneficially both ways. By investing in a captive portal software system, you can use your WiFi as a method of customer data collection. When guests click to join your WiFi, it triggers a web page pop-up that shows them a form.

To fully access your WiFi, guests must enter their details into this form (which collects information of your choice). Your captive portal shuttles these details into a large database for future reference, and your guests get WiFi access. It’s a win-win. You’ll also get to use contacts for marketing strategies like email and SMS marketing in the future.

Much like a business plan, captive portals are a passive way to optimize your business for success. Once you have a captive portal, the road toward success and tangible business goals is smoother.

At Beambox, we provide all-in-one WiFi marketing software that can transform your coffee shop. You can set up a slick captive portal system, personalizing its design and the information it collects. Start your Beambox free trial today and finalize your coffee house business plan.

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