Successful Coffee Shop Business Plan

interior photo of cafe

Need a Coffee Shop Business Plan? We’re Here to Help!

Dreaming about opening a coffee shop? Prepare to outshine cookie-cutter corporate chains and franchises! Do your homework and distill everything you learn into a knock-their-socks off coffee shop business plan.

After working with hundreds of entrepreneurs to launch independent coffee shops, we’ve learned that an exceptional business plan sets the stage for success.

The more you put into developing your business plan, the more prepared you will be to open and run a successful coffee shop. 

After all, a lot goes into a great cup of coffee. The same is true for starting an amazing coffee shop or cafe.

The Road Less Traveled: A Dynamic Coffee Shop Business Plan

Business Plan with CompassResearching and writing a strong coffee shop business plan will create a road map for transforming your business idea into a flourishing cafe.

And, if you’re seeking outside financing for your coffee house, a compelling business plan is an absolute necessity.

A dynamic business plan forces you to answer all the questions needed to set your coffee business up to thrive. Done right, your plan becomes a reference manual for running a thriving coffee shop.

Your plan should include six sections, plus a cover page. Most sections should take up a page or two. Financial data takes a few pages.

Section 1: Executive Summary

The first section should be the last page you write. This one-page summary highlights and condenses key points from each section of your business plan.

Devote a few sentences to each section. Make them unique and interesting. Every word counts!

This is your chance to tell the story of your business. Next to the financial data, it is the most important part. It is the first page bankers and potential investors will review.

After you write the executive summary, share it with bankers or business consultants. And then revise your business story based on their suggestions.

Section 2: Business Description

Write a brief description of your coffee business. Include the:

  • Business name
  • Location (physical or online)
  • List of products or services
  • Target market
  • The law firm that reviews contracts, and
  • Pictures of the business, floor plan, leasing arrangements, etc.

Section 3: Management Profile

Coffee shop manager and barista discuss business planDescribe your management team and their qualifications in the management profile.

If you are the primary manager, summarize your resume. Highlight any restaurant or coffee experience you have. If you lack direct experience, emphasize transferable skills and accomplishments.

If you have managers or partners, include their education, employment record, skills and accomplishments.

Don’t forget to highlight business consultants. Investors gain confidence from advisers with a proven track record.


Section 4: Background Information about the Coffee Industry

Conduct market research into the specialty coffee industry and your community. Your marketing analysis should examine major competitors, industry trends, customer demographics and demand, sales sensitivity to economic cycles, what sets you apart and key financial measures in the industry.

Section 5: Marketing Strategy

In your marketing plan:

  • Describe the type and location of your business
  • Specify products or services
  • Identify targeted customers and how you will meet their needs
  • Explain why customers will buy from you, and
  • Outline marketing strategies you will use to attract them.

Balance Sheet Financial StatementSection 6: Financial Data

Your financial plan outlines the assets, liability and cash flow for your business. Bankers will examine this section to determine the financial health of your potential business. This section requires three documents:

  • A cash flow statement
  • An income or statement, and
  • A balance sheet.

Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement helps determine your company’s ability to pay its bills in the short term. It outlines:

  • The initial investment (beginning cash)
  • Level of sales needed to break even
  • Expected expenses, and
  • How much money (if any) you will receive from outside sources.

The cash flow statement also reflects investments. Ending cash is the money you have at the end of the month.

Income Statement or P&L

In simplest terms, the income statement or P&L shows total sales and expenses for the year.

Most information needed to fill out this statement comes from the cash flow statement (sales, cost of goods sold, expenses). You may use tax figures from an accountant.

Balance Sheet

The balance sheet summarizes assets, liabilities and net worth at a particular point of time, using this formula: total assets – liabilities = net worth.

Once you’ve completed the cash flow and income statements, the balance sheet is a matter of filling in the blanks:

  • Total assets include assets (cash and inventory) plus fixed assets (equipment minus depreciation).
  • Liabilities include accounts payable and long-term debt.

A business with high liquidity, low debts, and sufficient working capital has a higher probability of success. Keep enough cash or liquid assets on hand to cover six months’ worth of expenses.

Get Expert Help in Drafting Your Coffee Shop Business Plan

As an award-winning coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup has the expertise to guide you. From drafting a successful business plan through choosing a location and marketing your business, we’re here to help.

In fact, Roast magazine editors cited our education and training programs as a factor in choosing Crimson Cup as their 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year.

We train hundreds of baristas and coffee shop owners each year at our Crimson Cup Innovation Lab – the largest SCA-Certified Premier Training Campus in the Midwest. 

7 Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Business

Founder and President Greg Ubert wrote the book on successful coffee house operations. He’s helped hundreds of entrepreneurs become coffee shop owners.

“For many entrepreneurs, writing their first business plan can seem overwhelming,” Greg said. “We’re happy to share our experience and walk you through the ins and outs.”

You’ll find a full coffee shop business plan template in Greg’s book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry.

Greg has written about coffee business plans for Smart Business Columbus and CoffeeTalk magazine. He also serves on boards of directors for Heartland Bank and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

An Alternative to Expensive Coffee Shop Franchises

Greg’s book became the foundation for our 7 Steps to Success program, which has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs like you.

We provide all the support you need to start a coffee shop – without expensive franchise fees or royalties. You don’t even need to sign a long-term contract to buy our coffee.

More than just a short-term course on drink preparation or running a coffee shop, we offer hands-on training and ongoing guidance for both baristas and business owners.

With decades of experience in running coffee shops, our 7 Steps consultants can help you:

Our 7 Steps consultants have helped shape business plans for hundreds of coffee shops in 30 states, Guam and Bangladesh. Let’s talk about how we can help you!

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