How to start a coffee shop business in US?

This question is for my boyfriend. he is interested (after his enlistment is up) in starting a business. This business is a coffee shop business. he's thinking chains across the US....eventually.

But he has NO IDEA where or how to start a business. i told him to pursue and obtain his degree in business (any specific course)?

When should he sart (really) pushing towards his goal...when he gets out..or a little before?

Know any good books on how to start a business (small/ large/ chain) etc.? oh...and where I could order one. I want to help get him going.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Starbucks proved that coffee is one hot commodity (literally and figuratively!) that many would-be business owners are planning to start their own coffee shop business. People are making it a habit to visit their favorite coffee shop everyday to get their latte fix.

    One important note, though -- this is a business that requires capital and can hardly be started on a $5,000 budget. In fact, according to Bellissimo Coffee Infogroup, you will need the following amounts to start your coffee shop business:

    Coffee Cart: Usual start-up cost is $20,000–$25,000 to open and stock.

    Kiosk: Depending on the size and what menu items are offered, it will usually cost between $50,000–$60,000.

    Coffee Drive-Thru: The cost of opening a drive-thru espresso business operation can vary dramatically, from the the very small units for less than $30,000 to anywhere between $80,000–$180,000 depending on how the shop looks.

    Sit Down: The cost of opening a sit-down coffee shop is comparable to the cost of opening an upscale drive-thru. Start-up costs for most 1200 sq. ft. coffee bars average $150,000 to $300,000.

    You may want to read the following articles:

    So, You Wanna Open a Coffee Shop (has a nice section on what to avoid in terms of coffee shop business)

    Links to various resources on starting a coffee business

    Coffee Shop Sample Business Plan (free)

    For in-depth information, you may want to read the following books (I have included the link to to make it easier for you to look up the books):

    Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Coffee Bar (The Complete Idiot's Guide)by Linda Formichelli

    Start and Run a Coffee Bar (Start & Run a)by Tom Matzen, Marybeth Harrison

    How to Open a Financially Successful Coffee, Espresso & Tea Shop by Elizabeth Godsmark

    FabJob Guide to Become a Coffee House Owner (FabJob Guides)by Tom Hennessey

    ESPRESSO! Starting and Running Your Own Specialty Coffee Business by Joe Monaghan and Julie Sheldon Huffaker

  • 1 decade ago

    Getting into business for yourself is a great thing, and I'm sure your boyfriend will find what he's looking for. However, if this is his first time in business (which it sounds like it is) and he doesn't have any family members who have ever ran a business before, it would probably be best for him to speak with a business broker, & several business owners before getting into new venture. Also, as a business broker, it is usually wise for someone getting into business for the first time to buy an existing coffee shop as compared to opening one from scratch. There are several advantages:

    1) The current owner will have bought all the necessary equipment to run the business and he won't have to worry about running out of money due to underestimating equipment costs

    2) The business is already up and running and he can decide whether the revenues/net income justify the purchase price

    3) It's easier to learn a business if it's already running, he'll make less mistakes, and he'll be able to make changes much smoother.

    If your in California and interested in discussing this further, please feel free to visit the Allure Financial website at and click on Contact Us. Hope this helps.


  • 4 years ago

    Well, it really depends on the coffee shop. It can be very annoying to have to listen to one half of a phone conversation. So if you're going to be making many long calls, I think you should find a coffee shop that is large, where there aren't many customers. Sit yourself away from people, speak as quietly as possible, and you should be fine. Here is what would be considered rude to the coffee shop managers and other customers... If there were many customers (for example, at rush hour or lunch time) and you took up a table for a couple of hours, preventing casual customers from taking a seat. If you were loud on the phone. If you sat down next to people working/sitting quietly. If you got annoyed at interruptions to your work (like glaring at the people talking at the next table--some business-people actually do that). As long as you're not too loud and you always have something left in your cup, you can sit for a couple of hours and work and that is totally fine. Good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    University is simply going to get you in debt and teach you a bit about business theories, but what you NEED to start up and run your own business in hands on experience...

    - Get into a small/medium sized coffee shop company now. learn the ins and the outs of a coffee shop for at least 18months. You then want to get promotion at least to supervisor. After 2 years ask for a management position at any of your companys chains - if you cant get it, (first ask why as it may be a lack of skills you need to work on) move on to another company in a management position in a coffee shop for at least 1 year.

    Now you should have around a year experience as coffee shop assistant, 1 year at supervisor and 1 year at management which is essential before you start your own shop. Skills need to run yor own cafe include knowing actually how to do the job (like an assistant), how to organise the staff and solve common problems (like supervisor) and how to organise stock, ordering and the business at large (management) which is essential knowledge to get this working!

    Do your prep to fulfil your potential, far too many people rush into ventures and are ruined for life - especially in such a competitve industry playing with big boys such as Starbucks!

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  • 1 decade ago

    A coffie shop business is great. but I hope he knows that Starbucks seems to have that market covered...... Starbucks on every corner...not a business to compete with. Unless he can come up with and Idea to suck those trendy Starbucks people over to his coffiee place....

    What is Starbucks missing???

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