Successful Coffee Shop Business Plan

interior photo of cafe

Need a proven Coffee Shop Business Plan? We’ve got it.

Want to know how to open a coffee shop the right way? Want a solid answer to questions like “how much does it cost to open a coffee shop?” Before you begin the process of opening a coffee shop, you need to do your homework and distill everything you learn into an exceptional coffee shop business plan.

After helping entrepreneurs in 30 states (most with little or no coffee shop experience) to open more than 300 independent coffee shops, we know that a business plan is essential for success so we include an editable business plan template with every purchase of 7 Steps to Success in the Specialty coffee Industry, the proven guide to coffee shop startup success.

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

The Elements of a Successful Coffee Shop Business Plan

Researching and creating an exceptional business plan will create a roadmap for transforming your coffee shop startup idea into a flourishing reality.

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

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

Your plan should include the following six sections plus a cover page. Most sections should take up a page or two but not much more – you’re not writing a book! Financial data, however, often takes a few pages.

Section 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary should actually be the last section 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 that bankers and potential investors will review.

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

Section 2: Business Description

Write a brief description of your proposed coffee shop. Include the:

  • Business name
  • Location
  • List of products or services – draft a potential menu
  • Target market
  • Law firm that reviews contracts
  • Pictures of the space
  • Floor plan
  • Leasing arrangements

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 shop 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: Information about the Coffee Industry and Your Competition

The coffee market in the USA continues to grow with many potential customers underserved, especially in rural areas! Conduct research into both the coffee industry and your community. Your marketing analysis should examine:

  • Industry trends
  • Key financial measures in the industry
  • Local competitors – not only other coffee shops (both chains and independents) but also potential substitutes for coffee (ice cream, smoothies, etc.)
  • Demographics and demand in your community
  • Consumer coffee sales sensitivity to economic cycles

Section 5: Marketing Strategy

In your marketing plan:

  • Explain what will set you apart and why customers will choose to buy from you (your unique selling proposition)
  • Describe location of your coffee shop and the type (walk-in, drive-thru, kiosk, etc.)
  • Identify target customers (geography, age range, income, interests, etc.)
  • Outline marketing strategies you will use to attract customers

Balance Sheet Financial StatementSection 6: Financial Data

Your financial plan outlines the assets, liability and cash flow for your coffee shop. 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 business’ ability to pay its bills in the short term. It outlines:

  • The initial investment (to help determine this, be sure to read about coffee shop startup costs)
  • 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.

Any business, including a coffee shop, 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.

The Proven Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

As an award-winning coffee roaster with a team of coffee shop startup consultants, Crimson Cup has the expertise to guide you from drafting an exceptional business plan through choosing a location and marketing your coffee shop. 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. 

Founder and President Greg Ubert wrote the book on successfully opening and running a coffee shop. He and the Crimson Cup team of have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs become successful coffee shop owners.

“For many potential owners, writing their first coffee shop 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 complete coffee shop business plan template available for immediate download with Greg’s book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry.

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

Going Beyond the Coffee Shop Business Plan

Greg’s book became the foundation for our 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Startup Success process which has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs open and run successful coffee shops.

We provide all the support you need to open 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 coffee shop startup consultants can help you go beyond the business to plan to:

Through our proven process, we have helped shape business plans for hundreds of successful independent coffee shops in 30 states, Guam, and Bangladesh. Can we help you too?

Buy 7 Steps to Success (business plan template available for immediate download)

More Information

  • Testimonials

    Successful independent coffee shop owners recommend the 7 Steps program.
  • FAQ’s

    Important things about to know about opening a coffee shop using the 7 Steps program.
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