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written by
Charlotte Harwood

Setting up your own coffee shop

Setting up your own coffee shop

You’re a coffee connoisseur. You know your Cubano from your cortado, and you refuse to even consider instant coffee to be ‘the real thing’. 

If you scoff at the tepid offerings that well-known chains like Starbucks serve, starting your own coffee shop could give you the chance to provide a more authentic experience to the more selective caffeine drinkers out there. And there’s never been a better time to get in on it, with the UK’s café culture having witnessed a resurgence in recent years. 

Following this comeback, the industry continues to grow year on year. In fact, a high street without a coffee shop is essentially unimaginable. So if you have aspirations of serving your own speciality coffee concoctions to the public, here are some tips to help you get started.

Do something different

With so many chain stores, it’s important to find a way to stand out from the crowd if you want to make it as an independent coffee shop. It’s no good offering the same as Starbucks – you need to give people a reason to choose you over the Java giants. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invent your own flavour of coffee (although if you want to then feel free); it’s more about promoting your independent status or putting a unique blend on the menu that you won’t find anywhere else. 

It could even be much simpler than that if you focus on the environment and ambience of your coffee shop, creating a more homely feel than you’ll find repeated in countless chain stores up and down the country. If you offer better quality than the high street coffee shops, you’ll find a steady stream of customers coming to your door. 

Get the experience

Running a coffee shop might seem easy, but the reality is that it’s hard work. If you’re working front of house, you’ll spend most of the day stood up, and that’s no mean feat if you’re not used to it. 

Getting some experience in a coffee shop beforehand is invaluable as it’ll give you the chance to see what it’s really like. You’ll have the opportunity to develop your customer service skills and find out where your strengths lie, as well as get a feel for how to cope when things get busy. 

Choose your location carefully

You want to make sure that you get as many customers through your doors as possible, so it’s important to pick the right location to set up. The majority of people pick up a cup of coffee on-the-go, which is why every other shop (or in some cases, every shop) is a coffee shop at train stations and travel interchanges across the country. 

Town centres and areas with a high density of workers seeking a caffeine hit are a good choice as there’s naturally a high footfall anyway. But if you need some guidance, look out for spots where the big chains have already set up. They don’t pick these locations by chance – they’re carefully chosen to maximise customer numbers. Starting up your own coffee shop alongside will give the more discerning customers a viable alternative.

Market yourself

Every business needs a website. Even if it’s just a basic page with opening times, the address and a few arty pictures of your premises, a web presence will help get the word out about your coffee shop, and it’s inexpensive to set up. You could go even further by offering your menu online or creating an email marketing list to send vouchers and deals out to customers who sign up. Whatever you decide to do, find out about our business broadband and phone packages to see how we can get you connected for a fraction of the cost. 


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