How to Run a Profitable Coffee Shop

how to run a profitable coffee shop

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly brewed coffee. It is the perfect way to start the morning or cap off a fine dinner. Coffee is also a means of getting together with friends and family members. You have probably heard someone say, “let’s grab a cup of coffee” or “I’m going to a coffee shop” many times. According to Drive Research, more than 49% of Americans drink between three and five cups of coffee every day.

The popularity of coffee shows no signs of slowing down, which is excellent news for coffee shops and espresso bars in the United States. If you own a coffee shop, or perhaps several, you need to keep up with the latest trends to maintain a positive cash flow and keep your best customers. Read this Balboa Capital blog post to learn how to run a profitable coffee shop.

Know what is brewing in the coffee industry.

A simple, no-frills cup of coffee is still the go-to choice for millions of coffee drinkers, but people’s tastes are changing. Introducing new coffee brewing methods and specialty coffees, such as single-origin beans and limited-edition blends from around the globe, is driving the demand for unique coffee beverages.

In addition, craft coffee houses, also referred to as “third-wave” coffee shops focus exclusively on artisan drinks. Look at industry trends online, and check out what your competitors are doing to identify opportunities for your coffee shop.

Consider making additions to your coffee menu.

Today’s coffee drinkers are becoming more discerning. As a result, they enjoy different types of coffee and ingredients. With a small investment, you can add a few new additions to your menu, and if they become popular with your customers, they can be made available daily. Some drinks worth looking at include macchiatos, pumpkin spice lattes, cold brew coffee, ice blended coffees, and flat white.

Next, offering pour-over coffees with Chemex or AeroPress brewing equipment can help increase your revenues due to their higher price points. However, pour-over coffees take longer to make, which can be more time-consuming, so talk to your baristas to figure out ways to keep the line moving swiftly. The last thing you want to do is create long lines and lose customers.

Invest in new coffee-making equipment.

Your coffee grinders, brewing machines, and espresso machines are essential. They produce coffees with good flavor, body, and associated aromatics. However, if your shop relies on old equipment that might not be up to par, it might be time to upgrade. Commercial espresso and brewing machines are expensive, so consider coffee shop equipment financing. This route eliminates the need for a large upfront purchase that uses up a sizeable amount of your existing capital.

Give your coffee shop a fun, relaxing atmosphere.

Having the right atmosphere is key to attracting customers. When your coffee house has comfortable chairs, nice tables, and attractive decor, people will see it as a destination to hang out, do homework, or conduct business. Make sure you maximize your space and have adequate seating space and lighting. It is also good to have furniture and fixtures that mirror your coffee shop’s brand identity.

For example, you will want to integrate the same style and color scheme. Finally, see how much it will cost to offer complimentary Wi-Fi to your customers. This is an added benefit for customers who want to use their laptops, tablets, and smartphones while enjoying a cup of coffee.

Offer a nice-sized selection of delicious pastries.

Muffins, croissants, scones, and cookies go well with coffee and are pretty popular in the morning. Look for a local bakery that offers delicious pastries and can deliver them daily to your shop. Do not be concerned with the relatively low-profit margin on pastries. Offering them is an added benefit that can result in more coffee sales.

Sell bags of whole-bean coffee.

Whether you roast your beans or buy them from a coffee roaster with a private label program, selling them to your customers is a great way to build your brand and generate extra revenue. You can even sell them online through your website. When your customers grind and brew your beans at home, your coffee shop’s name is visible on the bag, which helps create greater brand awareness.

If you buy your beans from a roaster, ensure they are on the same page as you regarding your expectations. You will need consistent quality beans, timely deliveries, and no unexpected problems. Both you and your roaster will succeed and build a successful long-term business relationship.


Balboa Capital hopes you found these tips helpful. We support independent coffee shops nationwide with fast, easy, and hassle-free funding. If you need funding to finance coffee equipment or want to get a coffee shop business loan, we might be able to help.

Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses Drive Research. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.