by Richard Lowry, Head of Coffee

5 considerations when setting up your coffee concept

5 considerations when setting up your coffee concept
Are you considering opening up a coffee concept, but not sure where to start? I’ve worked in coffee for many years and have helped lots of customers set up their own coffee shops and concepts within their business. I’ve found that before you start there are 5 key considerations to think about to start you on the right path to success. So here they are:


1) Location, Location, Location

You could have the best coffee and food in the world, but if you are in the wrong location you may not get the sales. Look at where you are opening your concept. If it is quiet it’s probably not the right place, but if it is crammed full of people, is it already surrounded with coffee offerings? Are you going to have to compete with the key players – Starbucks, Costa, Nero, Blacksheep, 200c and McDonald’s. There’s a lot of them.


2) Research, Research, Research

Drink lots of coffee, drink lots of coffee in different places, drink lots of coffee at different times. Learn what the best outlets do. Is the coffee a blend? Is it 100% Arabica? Is charitable? Is the charity advertised? What makes one outlet busier than the other. Constantly question everything – When, why and how?


3) People, People, People (Watching)

Hopefully people will turn into your loyal customers, but before you open your doors, do your research. If you think you have found the right spot, sit in that area at key times – breakfast and lunch, Monday to Sunday. Count how many people walk past you. What kind of people walk past? People rushing to work? Families? Kids on their way to school? Do they hang around? Are they looking for somewhere to stop for a drink?

All future customers… so the more the merrier. Are they holding a hot drink? Are they holding the same brand of hot drink? Do you recognise the brand? Go and look at the popular brand and see what they are doing, see what people like about that coffee shop. Again When, why and how?


4) Practice, Practice, Practice and get the basics right

When I worked in the beer industry we use to say “People won’t tell you it’s a bad pint, they just won’t come back” Coffee is exactly the same. Try numerous coffees and get people to try numerous coffees with you. Find a coffee that will work for the masses – Good taste, easy to drink and great ethics. Once you have found your coffee, don’t worry about latte art or sparkly bits. You could take 5 minutes putting an owl on a latte and someone will put 3 sugars into it and smash it up.

Learn how to make an exceptional espresso, a lovely latte, a fantastic flat white and classic cappuccino. Make coffees that customers will come back for.


5) Copy, Copy, Copy – Walt Disney

“Do what you do so well, they will want to see it again and bring their friends” Make sure you have the right team working for you and make sure you have invested in their training. Don’t ever forget the basics – Be polite, be friendly, be well mannered, be smart, be the best barista. Customers will come back if the product is good, if they feel welcome, if they are looked after, if they get value for money and most important of all “They will want to see it again and bring their friends”


So that’s it. My 5 key tips to starting up your coffee concept. It’s all about the coffee and getting the basics right. Make sure you know your location, audience, your coffee and your team. Be friendly and welcoming and that is what makes a coffee shop a great one.

To learn more about how we can support you with your coffee concept, click here.

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