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How to Run a Coffee Shop

Whether you’re new to the industry or you’ve been operating for 10 years, there are certain techniques that can help refine your operations or reduce unnecessary costs.

Stay innovative, preserve your core business ethos and motivate your staff to keep your coffee shop running like a well-oiled machine!

Here are some helpful tips for running your coffee shop just as well as or, hopefully, better than any of your competitors: 

Your team

The people that you bring on board to work with you at your coffee shop will play a major roll in its success.

John Richardson is an industry expert and regular Boughton's Coffee House contributor. He agrees with this and says, "You’re not going to be able to do this alone – that’s a fairly obvious fact. Regardless of the quality of your coffee or how delicious your buns are this business is ultimately about 'People employing People to serve People.'

"To build a business that will sell well you must have a loyal team that can operate the business effectively and really cares about what they produce – regardless of whether you’re there or not. This is about a lot more than just having great recruitment, induction and retention programmes in place. Although all essential, it’s also about great leadership and building a business that people can buy into.

"In the current uncertain economic climate, you don’t need me to tell you how hard it is to employ great people. They have more choices of where to work than ever before and we now have large sections of the work pool feeling unwelcome and leaving the country. To counteract this you have to create a workplace that they’ll actively want to join. Ideally somewhere where they feel they’re doing something useful and part of something great – a workplace they can be proud of.

It’s not easy but it is an essential part of growing a business for a strong exit."

Keep your finger on the pulse

The coffee culture in the UK has been the fastest growing in Europe – so keeping up with the surge of competition is vital! Even if your coffee shop has a queue out the door and healthy profit margins, don’t let the ball drop.

As James Dickson, the founder of Workshop Coffee Co. in London explains:

“The coffee industry in the UK is growing at a quick rate - that is, British consumers are drinking a lot more of it at an increasing rate. The downside of that is that you have to be very, very good at what you do. I don't think you can just open a coffee shop now and just say 'oh, we sell coffee'.”

So, keep up-to-date with new products and different strategies to streamline your operations.

Regularly check the quality of any food and cakes you stock, and carry out spot checks to ensure your baristas are brewing coffee to perfection.

Owning a business in a flourishing industry means that competition is fierce, and although you could be the best coffee shop on the street right now, that could all change very quickly if you don’t evolve your business to keep it fresh and interesting.

Still, remember to uphold your brand’s identity and make sure your loyal customers feel a connection and a sense of community within your coffee shop.

When you first set up your business, you should have created a mission statement which encompasses the heart and ethos of what your company is all about; whether it is operating a green business or sourcing local produce.

When you make any decisions or changes to the business, make sure they are in line with your mission statement; this creates cohesion and a clear focal point for the company.

Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.


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