To start a successful coffee shop, you need more than delicious coffee (although that helps!). You need a business plan that includes market research, organizational structure, goals for your coffee shop, and methods for achieving your goals. When you want to secure funding for your new coffee shop, your investors need proof that your business will succeed.
In this guide, you will learn about:
- Why you need a business plan for a coffee shop
- How to start a business plan for a coffee shop
- An opening a coffee shop business plan sample template to help you start writing your own
Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Coffee Shop
A business plan takes your idea for a coffee shop or café and puts it on paper. It helps you determine what you need to do to make your coffee house come to life, how to maintain it, and eventually let it grow. Business plans are like roadmaps — they help you see what to do next.
A business plan can help you learn about and plan for the following:
- Potential competitors in your city or town
- How much you spend on supplies
- How much to charge customers
- Hiring staff and their wages
- Whether the location for your coffee shop supports your activities
- How to promote your coffee shop and products
With no coffee shop business plan, you are more likely to make costly mistakes that could end up closing down your business.
How to Write a Business Plan for a Coffee Shop?
Your business plan should be clear and concise. Make it easy for potential investors and partners to read by splitting it into sections. Writing a business plan is less intimidating when you use a template and take each section step by step.
1. Executive Summary
The first part of your business plan is your executive summary. It should not be longer than a page. The executive summary gives a high-level overview of your entire business plan, letting readers know what they can expect to find. Your executive summary is like the front of your coffee shop — it’s the first thing people see and your chance to make a good first impression.
Tailor your executive summary to your audience by mentioning concerns that may be more important to them. Tweak it slightly if you are presenting your business plan to a business landlord as opposed to a bank loan officer. As the executive summary covers everything in your business plan, it’s best to write it last.
2. Management Team
In the second section of your coffee house business plan, describe your business and the management team. Business details include:
- The name of your coffee shop
- Physical location
- The products you offer
- Your target market
- The name of the attorney helping you set up the business
- Photographs of the business
- Leasing arrangements and floor plan (which you can add to the appendix)
After you describe your business, explain who will run your coffee shop and how. If you are the manager, provide some details on your professional background and consider including a resume in your appendix.
If you don’t have experience in the coffee or restaurant industry, explain how your other skills will help you run your café. Describe the profiles of your assistant managers or partners as well. If you are working with any business consultants to start your new coffee house, include their information as well.
3. Products and Services
In the products and services section of your business plan, explain what your business sells. Include prospective menus of all the drinks you plan to offer, and other food items such as pastries, sandwiches, etc. When you design your menu, try to select items that use many of the same ingredients so you can buy your supplies in bulk.
Plan your menu strategically, because you’ll have to justify it in your business plan. Investors will want to know why you decided to offer both soy milk and oat milk as vegan alternatives, rather than one or the other. Also, consider if you plan to sell products that cannot be consumed on-site, such as coffee grounds and beans, or non-consumables like branded coffee mugs. When developing your menu, you should think about a pricing strategy and how you will turn a profit.
This section would also be a good place to put an industry overview and market analysis. Use authoritative statistics and data to give a snapshot of the coffee industry in the US today and, if possible, in your city. Talk about your coffee shop’s position in that industry and why your city, town, or location is an ideal spot for a coffee shop. Also, mention existing coffee shops and how successful they are, and distinguish your business by stating what makes you unique.
4. Customers and Marketing
Your coffee shop business plan should have an overview of your target market and a plan for promoting your café. Firstly, which demographic are you going after, and why? How will this specific demographic benefit from your products?
Next, consider how you’ll promote and sell your products to these customers. Will you offer both counter service and to-go coffee? What kind of payments will you accept? Does your coffee shop offer a loyalty program to incentivize returning customers? For advertising, will you focus mainly on digital or do print as well? Name the top three marketing channels your coffee business will utilize. Examples of marketing channels include:
- Offline ads
- Social ads
- Content marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Customer engagement
- Direct outreach
- Public relations
- Offline events
- Targeting industry blogs
5. SWOT Analysis
The SWOT analysis covers your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Use this section of your business plan to identify your assets and resources, and what obstacles might stand in the way of your success. Strengths could be what makes your products unique or the years of coffee industry experience your management team has.
Weaknesses are factors that you can improve upon or things that might prevent your business from being successful. If you didn’t get your ideal location or you choose to set higher prices than your competitors because you will only use ethically-sourced coffee, those might be weaknesses. When thinking of strengths and weaknesses, use an outsider’s perspective as well.
Point out opportunities for your coffee shop by looking at new trends and identifying how you might take advantage of them. Find threats to your business by considering what your competition does better than you, or how external factors may harm your business.
The financial section is one of the most important parts of your business plan, especially if you’re asking investors for funding. Your financial plan should prove that your business will be profitable and can grow. Some important documents to include in your coffee shop’s financial plan are:
- Income statements: Projected revenues, expenses, and profits, month-by-month.
- Cash flow projections: How much cash you anticipate you’ll earn and how much you’ll disburse for expenses.
- Balance sheet: Summary of assets, liabilities, and equities of your business at a given time. Include income tax, pensions, and medical insurance for employees if your business is incorporated.
The operation section of your coffee shop business plan details how you will sell your products to your customers. This part isn’t a high-level summary. Include details that are as specific as possible. Use numbers and figures to outline the physical requirements of your business, such as equipment, inventory, and retail space. How big is your space, and who owns the building? Is it zoned for use as a restaurant? How big is your interior and exterior space? How much will rent and utilities cost you per month?
The operations plan should also cover staffing, equipment, supplies, and how you will meet regulatory and compliance requirements. List how many employees you have and how often they work. Will you pay for barista training? Include the equipment you need and how much it costs, such as a commercial-grade espresso machine, coffee grinder, refrigerator, microwave, and anything else you need to prepare and serve your products. Also, detail where you will get your supplies, such as a local coffee roaster or catering company if you plan to sell food.
The products and services part of your business plan is the “what” and the operations plan is the “how.”
The appendix is the final section of your business plan and includes supporting documentation. Anything that seems too long or disrupts the flow of the body text of your business plan can be included in the appendix. Examples of documents you might include are:
- Credit histories for the business owners
- Market analysis
- Resumes for the owner and management team
- Financial documents
- Floor plans and building plans
- Marketing materials
- Links to your business website and social media profiles
- Further information about your products
- Regulatory and Compliance Requirements
Coffee Shop Business Plan Sample
Writing a coffee shop business plan is easier when you work from a template. Download a free coffee shop business plan template from LegalTemplates and get started writing your business plan today.
You can download a business plan in Word format here, or start creating your coffee shop business plan using our document builder.
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