How to start a fantastic coffee shop

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A new cafe in Pondok Indah Mall, Jakarta. Image: Komang Setiabudi

Are you a true coffee connoisseur? Do you understand the robusta and arabica coffee taste?  Perhaps you also understand about organic coffee and had also enjoyed a delicious of Kopi Luwak (civet  coffee) in Bali or Jakarta.  

 It turns out you also know how to mix coffee at home with a traditional coffee machine or your home, so you will not be disappointed if served a delicious coffee from the barista at the coffee shop that you visit. Therefore you get inspiration and ideas to build your own cafe business.
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German soldiers sit outside a Paris cafe on the Champs Elysees on Bastille Day in 1940. Image:

Have you wondered what it might take to open a coffee stall,  a drive-through kiosk, or your personalized version of a Starbuck’s cafe or?  Many people can't imagine starting their day without a cup of coffee. With the right planning beforehand, opening a cafe can become highly profitable. 

The demand for specialty coffee is growing every day. This is true because there are many young people also start drink coffee, cappuccino, or cafe latte in their campus or coffee shop. Fans of espresso coffee, kopi luwak, as well as the increasing number of various coffee recipes, served either hot or cold also attract the attention of new fans

Coffee shop or cafe business is a business that has occupied thousands of people since ancient times. Coffee is present in the human race at an event, tragedy and war. A cup of coffee is also always present in politics and business meetings, even a cup of cappuccino or cafe latte can be a witness to those who are in love.
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Funny coffee presentation. Image:

Starting a small business cafe is a microcosm of starting a restaurant. You may have less space than a restaurant and offer fewer menu items. A cafe is a business that requires capital. Unless you can find investors to provide funds for you or a bank that can give you a loan, this is not a business that you can start for only $5,000.

How to start?

Learn about the industry before starting a new business. Get your information from a reputable company like Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup or you can talk with a profesisional Barista. You can also start by taking a job as a barista in a coffee shop to learn the ropes, practice making different coffee drinks, and test if you have the right personality to handle the ebb and flow of clientele.

You may consider purchasing an existing coffee shop before you open your first  cafe on your own.  Why?  Because you can study the financial statements of the existing coffee shop and see that it is profitable and sustainable based on the current customer base. If you have extra money, you can buy a local or international franchise. Don’t forget to arrange a meeting with an accountant to discuss tax strategies and ways to maximize your tax deductions.

Identify a location for your coffee shop. Take time to find the right location, even if it takes six months or more. One factor common to all desirable locations, however, is the proximity of a large population of potential coffee drinkers. Your business needs to be in a convenient location for customers - on their way to work in the morning, around the corner from where they work, or in the mall where they shop. Office building sites or campus also great for your first cafe.

Before you start your business, please create a business plan and marketing plan. Please make sure that you determined how much funding you need to start a cafe business. Plan to finance your cafe with your savings or retirement account. You may need financing help from someone  or obtain a bank loan if necessary. Obtain licenses and permits to comply with restaurant regulations and also learn the tax regulation before you start your business.

Are you ready?

To start your cafe you can employ a spouse or family members to help you with your cafe. Hire an extra person if necessary. Make sure all family members and employees are trained on food preparation and the register before opening day. You can hire a professional Barista to train yourself or someone who will create black coffee or cappuccino for your customer. Remember to stock your coffee and other food in supplies. Get your tables, chairs and bar stools set up in your dining area.

Don’t forget to create special menu and provide unique bakery such as cake, donut, croissant and so on. Call your grand mother to help you.  Put up your menu board and offer something different from your competition. Customers will remember your business if you serve them beautiful cappuccinos presented with flair.
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A customer relaxes in a Cat cafe in Chongqing, China. Image:             
Knowing how to pour latte art also assures your baristas are steaming milk properly, a necessary element of the technique and style. 

You can emulate presentation of the Asian coffee such as coffee presentation of Singapore, Medan (Nort Sumatra), Java or European style coffee eg Italian, French, Russia or Vienna. You can also create your own style, or combines with coffee drinking traditions from other cultures.

Maximize the social media network, word of mouth, posters, and any other method you can think of to help people learn about your new cafe business.  Advertise your cafe business in coupon magazines that are distributed by mail. You can create a blog to promote your cafe. It’s a great idea if you using customer feedback to grow your business, develop a "Frequent Customer" program and reach coffee drinkers through the internet.

The coffee shop business can be regarded as a combination of culinary arts and business skills plus your love for the true tradition of drinking coffee. If you appreciate coffee as a source of inspiration for human life, then you will be successful in this business.