How to run a successful coffee shop

In a competitive market, it’s important that you stand out against your competition. So, with coffee shops popping up all over the UK, how do you ensure you stay one step ahead?

Our guide looks at five simple steps you can take to ensure your coffee shop is successful. Keep reading to find out more.

Look after your staff

As with any business, your staff are your most important resource. Considering the managerial tasks you have as a coffee shop owner, your baristas and staff are likely to be looking after the day-to-day running of your shop for the majority of the time.

Your customer service staff are the face of your business, your sales staff, and the people who will encourage your customers to come back again and again (or not). They may also be responsible for cleaning, food preparation and, of course, making great quality coffee.

Your key job is to therefore to look after your staff. There’s no point focusing on small bits of detail if you’re not looking at the bigger picture. Staff need to feel valued and engaged, and your responsibility is to inspire them and to make them feel happy and secure in their job.

Do this by listening to them and taking their feedback into account. Make sure they know exactly what is expected of them and make sure they are praised and recognised for meeting your standards. And ensure that they get all the training and development they need to move forwards in their career.

Invest in your shop

You may be keen to try and maximise your profits as much as you can. However, if you fail to invest in your shop then you may find your staff morale slips or your customers go elsewhere.

For example, make sure you buy the best equipment you can afford. A high-quality coffee machine will help you to make the great coffee your customers love. A great till system will help stock control and can speed up the payment process, meaning your customers aren’t waiting as long.

You should also invest in good quality ingredients for food and drink. Your customers will appreciate the effort!

Always seek to improve

Even if your shop is successful and your customers are happy, you can never rest on your laurels. The best businesses constantly improve and innovate – and you should too.

You should maintain a core range of products and keep them as consistent as you can. Many customers know what they like and you need to make sure they always get the high-quality products that they want.

In addition, you should try and bring in new items on a regular basis. Always have something fresh to offer customers, whether that is a new sandwich, different cakes or a new type of drink.

Improving your staff is also critical to success. Helping your baristas to improve will help you keep up with new trends in the industry, and will help them feel valued as members of staff.

If you monitor how your staff are performing you can help them work on the areas you need to improve. They may also have ideas for new products that can freshen up your stock.

Systems for everything

You might like to take a hands-on approach to running your coffee shop, but what happens when you’re not there?

Always make sure that you have sound systems and processes in place. This will help your shop to run smoothly in your absence. Having procedures for ordering, opening in the morning, and cashing up at the end of the day – and everything in-between – can help staff to understand your ways of working.

You should be able to take days off and to enjoy a holiday. So, make sure there are written manuals and procedures for everything, and train your staff in multiple processes so they have the skills needed to step in whenever they are needed.

Look after your customers

Without your customers, you don’t have a business. So, you need to make sure that you’re always looking after the people who are paying the bills!

Give your customers a reason to come back again and again. This may be as simple as producing consistently high-quality coffee that your customers love. As we saw above, innovating in terms of new products also gives customers a reason to return.

You could also consider setting up a loyalty scheme to encourage repeat visits. A stamp card can offer a free coffee after a certain number of purchases, or you could offer free treats or discounts. A loyalty scheme also gives you the opportunity of building up a database of contacts to enable you to carry out targeted marketing.

You could send a regular email showcasing new products, offer discounts to your subscribers, or engage with your customers on social media. All these methods will help you stay close to your customers and encourage them to return again and again.

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