The Pilot's Blog

Top 10 Things a Great Coffee Shop Must Have

We all have a “favorite” coffee shop.  But why do we consider them our favorites?  Is it the music?  The great coffee?  The friendly baristas?  The warm atmosphere?  As we all know, the best coffee shops have the whole package—but what is the whole package exactly?

If you have ever had the desire to open your own coffee shop, look no further.  We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that will turn your typical, boring coffee shop into a great coffee shop.

1.      Great Coffee Shops Have Great Coffee (Duh)

But the number one thing any coffee shop should have is great coffee—everything else should follow. You shouldn’t open a coffee shop and tout having an awesome smoothie selection. Producing great coffee means fresh roasting and grinding as well as proper brewing and knowledge of what to look for taste-wise.

2.      The Right Equipment

If you have the best coffee beans roasted and ground to perfection (like we do at The Roasterie), brewing in an old fashioned Mr. Coffee percolator will do just fine. But it won’t be efficient; you need equipment that can allow for volume. When it comes to espresso machines, it’s best not to skimp. A world class chef needs a range that can keep up with them, right?  A great barista needs the same.

3.      Your Coffee Shop Environment

What do you envision when you think of your coffee shop? Do you want a modern, young feel? Or do you want something more warm and inviting? These are questions must be answered before you open your coffee shop’s doors. Figure out what ambiance you want to set.  The ambiance will set the tone and can attract certain cliental.

4.      Comfy, Cozy Furniture

Stay and work or grab and go—whatever vibe you feel your coffee shop needs, your furniture will dictate that to your customers. Standard tables and chairs say “order your coffee to go!”  Comfortable couches say “stay for a while, relax enjoy another cup”.

5.      Wi-Fi

What’s the perfect complement to coffee?  It’s actually not a donut—it’s WiFi!  Wireless Internet has quickly risen to the top on the list of things Americans can’t live without. We’re more or less addicted to it. So it is paramount to have a good steady connection for your patrons to connect to.  In fact, providing fast WiFi will have them staying a little longer!

6.      Connectivity

We need coffee to charge and reenergize us…but we also need electricity to charge and reengerize our devices in the coffee shop!  There’s nothing worse than going into your favorite coffee shop with no electrical outlets available.  When designing your dream coffee shop, consider accessibility to electrical outlets to be a necessity.

7.      Outstanding Menu Options

Surprisingly, not everyone that walks through your door is going to be a coffee drinker!  So consider other ways to meet their needs—provide a wide variety of breakfast options like smoothies, pastries, or tea varieties. But don’t forget rule number one—have the best coffee!

8.      Signature Coffee Drinks

Whether it’s creating your own blend or concocting a creation of your very own, you need something that customers can only get from you.   Make your signature coffee drinks unique to you and your coffee shop—people love the personalized touch.

9.      Lots (and lots and lots) of Options

There are millions of combinations for coffee drinks…and it seems everyone has their own specific way they like their coffee. So to meet the needs of your customers, it is important to have a variety of different types of milk, beans, toppings and flavored syrups.

10.   Business! 

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that your coffee shop is a business.   this is a business.  Although it may start as a passion project, no “hobby” should drive you into debt. The best way to avoid debt is by running in the most cost-efficient way possible, without sacrificing quality. Finding this happy medium can take some time, so do as much research as possible!

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3 Responses to Top 10 Things a Great Coffee Shop Must Have

  1. Joel says:

    I tried to think of something to add to your list, but I do believe you’ve including everything from having fresh roasted, good coffee beans to comfortable furniture, ambiance, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The one thing I can think of adding is sandwiches to #7. The Daily Grind, a cafe in Albany and Troy, NY, has a nice selection of deli sandwiches, a full breakfast menu, soups, and salads–all of which helps bring in new customers and repeat business. Actually, they serve smoothies, too.

  2. Falilou Diouf says:

    Great website, and tremendous information/advice/insights. Thx. Thinking about opening a coffee business in Dakar (Senegal), using coffee fromEthiopia, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Burundi. Need advice on equipment, furniture and business good practices. Aslo,would you be interested in exploring possiblities in (West) Africa’a growing markets?

  3. Alvin Payne says:

    Great article, and thank you for posting about all essentials that a good coffee shop needs to have to keep on roasting and brewing that sweet organo gold and other coffees. I really am disappointed when the roasts and beans i need, are not available. Thanks for making this known. Keep posting and roasting.

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