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How To Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan

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Opening a coffee shop is an exciting endeavor. But before you can open your doors and pour that first cup of joe, you need a coffee shop business plan.

But what is a business plan? Why is it important? And do you really need one?

We’re breaking down everything you need to know so you can brew up your own coffee shop business plan with ease.

What is a business plan for a coffee shop?

A coffee shop business plan is a document that covers your business goals and everything you’re going to do to reach them. 

A business plan goes into all the details about your business, from the location of your coffee shop to where you’re going to source your coffee beans. Put simply, it breaks down how your coffee shop is going to be a success.

The importance of a coffee shop business plan

Writing out a coffee shop business plan can feel a bit tedious and unnecessary. And we won’t lie, they do take a bit of time and effort. 

But every business, no matter big or small, should have a business plan in place. A business plan for your coffee shop will help you:

  • Set business goals and keep you on track to reach them. A business plan acts as a roadmap to help your coffee shop business become (and stay) successful.
  • Identify any gaps in your business ahead of time. We’re only human. We all miss things from time to time. A well-written business plan can help you catch any mistakes or potential problems before they cost you.
  • Manage your to-do list before opening your coffee shop. Opening any business is a huge undertaking. A business plan covers all your bases from location to hiring, so you don’t miss anything before opening day rolls around.
  • Secure any financing or loans you might need. Banks or investors often want to see a business plan before they’ll offer you loans or even financial products like a business credit card.

Things to consider before you start writing a business plan for your coffee shop

Now that you know that you need a business plan, it’s time to grab your favorite cup of coffee and start thinking about the important stuff.

To help, here are some things to consider before you start writing your business plan.

  • What will make your coffee shop business successful? Will you offer a unique specialty coffee selection? Are you going to open in a location with a high demand for coffee?
  • Who is the target audience for your business plan? Different stakeholders will likely have different goals when reading your business plan. Banks and investors might be more interested in your financial forecasts. Meanwhile, potential suppliers might care more about your product offering to make sure that your coffee shop is a good fit for their products 
  • What information or research will you need to create an informed business plan? A coffee shop business plan will look different than that of a salon or even a bakery. Take some time to think about what information you’ll need to research. For example, before you can write your business plan, you’ll likely need to know the cost of a coffee maker or the average hourly wage of a barista.

How to write a coffee shop business plan in 7 steps

If you’ve never written a business plan before, it can feel more complicated than a grande mocha frappucino with extra whip, hold the syrup. But don’t worry, we’re breaking down the key sections of a coffee shop business plan so you know exactly how to get started.

Here are the 7 steps and sections you’ll need to write your coffee shop business plan.

1. Executive summary

This is a high-level overview of your coffee shop business plan—the TL;DR of the business plan if you will.  Here, you’ll want to outline the important details in your business plan, but also tell an engaging story that makes the reader want to dive into the rest of your business plan.

Tip: This is the first section someone will read—but you don’t have to write it first. It can be helpful to come back to this section once you’ve finished the rest of your business plan.

2. Company overview and description

This next section in your coffee shop business plan is an overview of your business and your goals. 

In this section, you should answer questions like:

  • Who’s the founder or business owner? (AKA who are you and what is your background?) 
  • Why did you decide to start a coffee shop?
  • What’s your vision for your coffee shop?

3. Market analysis

A market analysis in a business plan helps position your coffee shop against other coffee shops, You want to show how you measure up to competitors or similar businesses. 

For example, as a coffee shop owner you might identify competing coffee shops in the area, or even other competitors like fast-food chains. In your market analysis, you might even look at other successful similar businesses that you can use to show why your coffee shop will be a success. For example, let’s say you’re opening a coffee shop that’s open 24 hours. You can use examples of other 24-hour coffee shops in other areas that you can model your business after.

4. Business offerings

This is where things start to get exciting—you finally get to talk about coffee! 

The business offerings section of your business plan should include everything that you’ll offer to potential customers. For a coffee shop, this will likely include your potential coffee menu. But if you have other products or services—like selling coffee beans or offering coffee machine repairs—you’ll want to include those here too.

5. Management and operations

Here’s where you’ll cover the day-to-day management and operation of your coffee shop. For example, you’ll want to outline details like: 

  • The expected costs of operating your business 
  • How many employees you’ll hire
  • Your point of sale (POS) system
  • How you’ll manage inventory

6. Marketing and public relations strategies

In this section, you should explain how you plan to spread the word. 

Will you hire a marketing agency? Will you mail out flyers? Do you have any media connections that will help you earn PR?

Basically, you need to show that you have a plan for promoting your business.

7. Financial projections

Last but not least, it’s time to talk money. 

Financial projections provide insight into your revenue and expenses over the short and long term. They aren’t an exact science, but you’ll want to provide an educated estimate. Your financial projections should typically include:

  • Your start-up costs: This includes any one-time costs that you’ll incur to open your doors. For example, renovating the interior of your coffee shop.
  • Operating costs: This includes expenses like rent, marketing, and utilities. You’ll also need to consider materials and supplies, such as coffee and cups.
  • Labor costs: This is the cost of employing any baristas, hosts, or cashiers. For example, wages, cost of employee benefits, and hiring costs.
  • Forecasted revenue: This includes any money you’ll earn from coffee sales or any other products and services you might offer.

The goal is to show that your coffee shop business will be profitable.

The top tool to get your coffee shop running smoothly

Business plan written and ready to go? It’s time to start growing your coffee shop. From hiring your first employee to opening your second coffee outpost, Homebase is here to help.

Homebase is an all-in-one employee management app that helps small business owners manage hourly employees better and smarter. 

With Homebase, you can:

Ready to level up your coffee shop? 

Get the all-in-one employee management that’s stronger than your favorite cup of coffee—or at least just as powerful. Get started with Homebase today.

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