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How To Run A Coffee Shop That Makes Money

May 17, 2008
As an experienced coffee shop owner Don Clarke knows that excellent interior design and comfortable surrounding will attract customers who are prepared to pay a little more for their coffee. Equally important is the volume of trade passing through your shop - your objective should be to move as many people as possible through your shop in the quickest time possible.

So if you are thinking of opening a coffee shop, Don suggests you bear in mind the following points:

1. Pay for a professional designer or shop fitter to plan the layout and interior design of your shop. The investment will be worth it in terms of customer volume!

2. Do not entertain the idea of any shop which cannot provide space for at least 60 seats.

3. Buy small tables for 2 people, which you can put together to form larger tables. Customers will often come to your shop in pairs, and the British reserve inhibits people from being willing to share tables. Don't waste space by having 2 people use a table for 4.

4. Look for external seating area - even more important now that smoking in public eating places has been banned.

5. Beware of committing to a full repairing lease if you take on premises in an older building. You really only want to be responsible for the shell that houses your coffee shop.

6. Whatever lease you finally agree to, make time to film the property before you move in. This will avoid future arguments with the landlord as to the state the building was in when you took over the lease.

7. When hiring staff for your coffee shop, do this in two stages. First select the candidates you think will make good supervisors. Then ask them to assist you in interviewing your shop floor candidates.

With a background in shopfitting and design, Don also has these words of wisdom on the importance of good interior design for your coffee shop:

Good design is a major marketing tool. The way your shop looks will determine how many people are tempted to cross your threshold. People will make an instant decision as to whether to will enter a coffee shop based on the effects of the shop's lighting, colour scheme, furniture and atmosphere. Good interior design will persuade passers by to enter your shop.

Interior design will also give a prospective customer an idea of the cost involved in frequenting it - if you visit a 5 star hotel you know that you will be paying a large sum to stay there. Similarly, a customer will enter a well designed coffee shop prepared to pay a little extra for a coffee for the pleasure of being in a comfortable, pleasant environment.

Use an interior designer with a background in catering establishments. They will know how to design your shop to achieve optimum amount of "selling" space.

Shopfitting companies will have in-house designers - this may be cheaper than hiring an independent interior designer.

Give your designer a clear idea of what you want in your shop. If necessary, take the designer to visit existing coffee shops and pick out the design features you want incorporated in the shop you are starting up.

Careful planning and surrounding yourself with good staff and knowledgeable advisors will give you a head start!
About the Author
Further information about coffee shop startups is included in our website http://www.howtosetupacoffeeshop.co.uk where you can download a free newsletter and Don Clarke's top 10 tips. The guide will soon be available in Turkish, and a version is currently being prepared for the US market.
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