Recently we gave you some tips on opening your own coffee shop. While a good idea, in theory, there are some pitfalls you need to avoid. You probably won’t be the only coffee shop on the high street, so it’s important to get things right. After all, you do want customers, right? In this article, we will tell you about some of the common mistakes made by coffee shop owners. Take heed of them and avoid a potential “coffeetastrophe” when you open your own premises.

Choosing the wrong location

You need to be located where the people are, so despite the low price of the building you have discovered, if it’s nowhere near foot traffic, people aren’t going to be able to find you easily. You could lay down signs everywhere letting people know where you are, but generally, people aren’t going to wander too far off the beaten path, especially if they are laden down with shopping. Therefore, find premises as near to a town centre or shopping area as you can.

Lacking variety

Your skills at making coffee may be second-to-none, but the customer needs more from you. For starters, you need to be adept at making different types of coffee, giving the customer the opportunity to test their taste buds on something away from the norm. You then need to cater for the people who don’t actually like coffee, with teas, juices, etc. Last, but not least, don’t forget the food. From sandwiches to cake, you can make a lot of money from hungry shoppers, so don’t limit your coffee shop to… well…coffee!

Not researching other coffee shops

As we said, you are in competition with other coffee shops in the area, as well as cafes, pubs, and other dining places. Find out what other venues are in the locality, and make an effort to be better than them. What does that mean in reality? Well, there are a number of ways. For starters, you might want to undercut your rivals with your pricing strategy.

Let’s face it, many coffee shops and cafes overprice their goods, but you could still sell for cheaper without bankrupting yourself. Secondly, consider aesthetics. With custom-made table tops and a unique colour theme, you can set yourself apart from other venues that are generic in nature. Do your research, and make every effort to surpass others.

Forgetting a marketing strategy

Ignore the ‘if you build it they will come’ strategy adopted by fans of that Kevin Costner classic, as it simply isn’t true, at least not immediately. You need to shout from the rooftops that you are about to open and make a big fuss about opening day. Using social media, putting adverts in the local press, and engaging local influencers, are all ways to attract attention to your coffee shop.

Hey, you might even give special deals to the first ten customers through the door, such as a free coffee and a cake, or hire a band for an opening day party. Do anything you can to get people’s interest, instead of flipping the ‘open’ sign on the door, assuming that is incentive enough.


Follow our advice, and you are giving yourself a good start in this potentially profitable industry. Keep an eye on our website for other advice that may benefit your business.