The British may be known for their love of tea, but the reality is that 70 million cups of coffee are drunk every day by Brits across the country. And with coffee being the second most desired commodity behind crude oil, it’s clear there is a lot of money and potential in the industry.
In today’s society, coffee-drinking can range from being a daily necessity to kickstart the morning or boost concentration, to being a sophisticated luxury – much like drinking wine. Wherever it lies on the spectrum, and if you’re looking for your next business venture, the coffee industry is a promising place to be.
Want to own and run a successful café? This is what you need to know.
It’s impossible to start any business without a solid ground of research. Fortunately for you, information on this particular sector is abundant and positive. The UK has enjoyed 17 consecutive years of growth in the coffee shop industry with no end in sight, and has proven to be a recession-proof investment as people often tend to give up on other purchases before their daily cup of joe.
The palate for coffee, however, has broadened over the past decade. Tastes have become more sophisticated and the range of coffees consumed has expanded; no longer are people simply content with an average cup of coffee as preferences have become more refined and global.
Before opening a store of your own, your research needs to encompass the following things.
Go into a store and ask for a coffee, and you’ll be met with the question: “What kind?” There are espressos, ristrettos, cortados, lungos, macchiatos – the list goes on, and it’s vital that you know what kind of coffee you can create and offer in your store.
You'll also need to consider the market around you to see what your potential clients are like. Are they young working professionals who need a quick pick-me-up in the morning and afternoon, or is the neighbourhood a well-to-do area where people are looking for a fine sit-down coffee? Maybe the area a trendy, artsy one which prefers more niche and artisanal blends from around the world, or is it an industrial or residential area with simple preferences?
You need to keep these things in mind to tailor your café experience to the right crowd. After all, you don’t want to go in with all guns blazing to receive little-to-no footfall as a result of targeting the wrong market.
As profitable as this business may be, the coffee shop industry is heavily saturated and some caution is required. When choosing a location for your café, consider your neighbourhood and competitors – what are they offering, what are they doing wrong, and how can you introduce a unique selling point?
Your café will need to strike the right balance of affordability and artisanal coffee experience. Your own range of coffees and services will need to have that niche edge to divert the crowd from your competitors.
Having friendly staff and great customer service is an added benefit and will ensure that you have a loyal customer-base.
Gone are the days when drinking coffee was just about the taste; nowadays, it’s about the experience. The café is the new pub - a social space for friends and families to meet and bond.
Beyond the mug of brew you provide, the aesthetic of the shop also needs to match and create a certain atmosphere. Consider the interior design, any potential events you could hold in the space, and amenities like Wi-Fi, comfortable couches and a well-stocked bookshelf – you want to entice customers to return in due time.
The coffee-drinking experience is far more sophisticated than it was a decade ago, and it’s prime time to enter the market. Of course, the above factors are merely starting points when thinking about diving into the industry. There is plenty more to consider and great rewards to be made – do you think you've got what it takes to run your own coffee business?