How to create a business plan for a coffee shop

Written by jennifer elrod
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How to create a business plan for a coffee shop
Owning a coffee shop may just be the business venture for you. (coffee and coffee-beans image by Dmitri MIkitenko from

A coffee shop is a small establishment where beverages like coffee, lattes and cappuccinos are sold. Some coffee shops also sell pastry items or offer lunch specials like soups and sandwiches. Coffee shops have popped up all over the place. This is mainly due to the business being a simple, yet dynamic venture that holds a steady income. It's a great business to start, especially if you are an amateur. Keep in mind, however, that opening a coffee house takes much planning. A business plan is often one of the first steps when it comes to starting your own business. Research shows us that creating a business plan can make your business more productive and profit bearing.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Write a description of the coffee shop. Include what the business does, where the shop stands in the market, local competitors, operating procedures, number of employees and insurance. Describe what the coffee shop will offer (food, beverages, periodicals, Wi-Fi, etc.). Check out the local competition to gauge how well your coffee shop will do in the area. Research operating procedures and use the best methods to decrease customer wait time. Know how many employees to hire and what types of business insurance you must carry.

  2. 2

    Write the financial data and planning information. Include the coffee shop equipment and supply lists, loan applications, balance sheets, profit and loss statements and income and loss projections. Find a coffee shop supply list, either from your franchise packet or come up with your own. What you decide to sell will determine the kind of equipment and supplies you need. Calculate the estimated total to start the business, then project your loss each month in order to run the coffee shop. Project an estimated income and have a backup stash for when profits are low.

  3. 3

    Gather all the documents necessary to run a coffee shop. These are legal papers, insurance forms, franchise contract if the business is a franchise and your business license. Store the documents in a safe location such as a bank safe-deposit box or store safe. Certain documents need to stay on site. Your business license and franchise contract need to be close in case an inspector asks to see them.

  4. 4

    Prepare for stop-by inspections from the state. This is to ensure that your coffee shop is upholding to state standards for cleanliness and proper operating procedures. The coffee shop needs to stay as clean as possible at all times. All equipment, tables, floors and bathrooms should be thoroughly cleaned each day. There are regulations about water temperature, types and amounts of cleaner to use in order to keep the shop germ free. If you own a franchise, this information is in your franchise packet. Otherwise, check with the state to receive a list of regulations.

Tips and warnings

  • Hire an accountant and lawyer to help you with your tax work and liability issues.
  • Business ventures always come with risk of loss.

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