How Much Does it Cost to Open a Coffee Shop?

January 28, 2019

Coffee Shop Grand Opening

If you’re thinking of opening a coffee shop, two questions you’re probably asking yourself are: “How much does it cost to open a coffee shop?” and “Do I need a coffee shop business plan?”

Our team of coffee shop startup consultants know all about coffee shop startup costs and the importance of a coffee shop business plan because we’ve taught hundreds of entrepreneurs how to open a coffee shop all across the U.S. for over 30 years.

Be sure to check out the latest news on coffee shop openings and anniversaries.

How Much Does It Cost?

There’s no single answer to how much it costs to start a coffee shop. 

Your costs will depend upon the type of coffee shop you want to open, the costs of retail space in your community, and other variables.

With that caveat, here are cost ranges for opening or expanding various coffee businesses.

  • Coffee shop with seating: $80,000 to $300,000
  • Coffee shop with a drive-thru only: $80,000 to $200,000.
  • Coffee shop with both seating and a drive-thru: $80,000 to $300,000
  • Coffee kiosk/Coffee stand/mobile coffee cart: $60,000 to $105,000
  • Mobile coffee food truck: $50,000 to $154,000
  • Adding a brew bar to an existing coffee shop: $1,500 to $25,000. The lower price is for buying equipment only.
  • Adding specialty coffee service to a bakery or cafe: $25,000 to $75,000

*Costs are based on proprietary research of independent coffee shops and are current as of January 2022.

Coffee Shop Start-Up Costs

Hand Pour Coffee Brew Bar

Consider this list of startup costs for starting a coffee shop – or expanding an existing small business to serve coffee:

1. Real estate/rent and build-out costs for your chosen location. Rent should be 15 percent or less of projected sales.

2. Coffee Shop Equipment Costs. Your espresso machine and coffee grinders are the workhorse of your business, so invest in top-notch, reliable equipment.

If you plan to serve plain drip coffee, add a drip machine and air pots. To serve cold or frozen drinks, you’ll also need a refrigerator, ice machine and blenders.

Since the quality of coffee depends on the quality of water, you will want to test your water and purchase water filtration if needed.  

Note: Customers who sign up for our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program can save time and money with our recommended equipment packages.  

Never buy used equipment! Any money you save up front will dribble away over time in repair costs and downtime. If you can’t make drinks, your business grinds to a halt.

3. Coffee, milk, chocolate, syrups and other drink ingredients plus pastries, muffins, and other baked goods. These should be 40 percent or less of projected sales.

4. Furnishings, outdoor seating, and aesthetics. If applicable to your business model, this could add $5,000-$7,500 to your start-up expenses.

5. Professional fees for architects, attorneys, accountants, and business consultants.

6. Payroll costs. These include wages, benefits, payroll taxes, worker’s compensation, and costs of payroll processing. Payroll costs should be 35 percent or less of sales.

7. Principal and interest costs (if you plan to borrow money).

8. Income taxes (usually about 35 percent of operating profit).

9. Other expenses, including business insurance, supplies (napkins, stir sticks, porcelain cups, etc.), licenses and permits, office supplies, utilities, advertising, and repairs and maintenance.

10. Training. Unless you have previous experience running a coffee shop, you need to invest in comprehensive, hands-on training, and ongoing support. When choosing a training package, consider:

  • Ideally, training should take place at your new coffee shop, using your espresso machine, grinder, blender, and other equipment – not at a remote classroom on random equipment.
  • Having training come to you is often more economical, especially when you add in your travel expenses.
  • You and all your team should train together, so you can deliver drinks of consistent quality.
  • Training should take place over several days, leading up to your opening day.
  • Your trainer should have extensive experience in coffee shop operations.

Hands-on training is one of the best investments you can make in opening a coffee shop. Over time, it can mean the difference between becoming a successful coffee shop owner and limping along or going out of business. It’s also important to be familiar with coffee shop terminology.

Expense Variables and Cash on Hand

No two coffee shop businesses are the same. Remember that costs vary depending on the region, state, city or rural area in which you operate. If you already own a suitable building or have a complementary business such as a bakery, your costs might be much lower. Besides start-up costs, plan to have cash on hand to cover your operating expenses for the first six months.

The Guide to Opening and Running a Successful Coffee Shop

You’ll find a more detailed explanation of how to calculate coffee shop start-up costs, plus a complete coffee shop business plan template in Seven Steps to Success: a Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in the Specialty Coffee Industry, written by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert.

Hundreds of independent coffee shops across the country have used this book as their guide to how to open a coffee shop. (Don’t just take our word for it – read some success stories.)

Have Questions About How to Start a Coffee Business?

We’re here to help!  Give us a call at 1-888-800-9224 or fill out this form, and we’ll get right back to you.

Since 1991, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has hand-roasted great-tasting specialty coffee in Columbus, Ohio. We’ve also taught over 300 independent business owners how to open a coffee shop using our Seven Steps process. We were honored to win 2020 and 2017 Good Food Awards, the 2019 Golden Bean North America Small Franchise/Chain Champion and Roast Magazine’s 2016 Roaster of the Year award.

Want to learn more about our wholesale coffee roasting programs for specialty grocerscolleges and universities and restaurants and food service operators? Give us a call at 1-888-800-9224 or fill out this form, and we’ll get right back to you!

23 responses to “How Much Does it Cost to Open a Coffee Shop?”

  1. We are going to be opening a stand in about 4 years from now, we are excited and are starting to save now! Hopefully some people reading this will come and see us in the future!! #kickass

  2. Hello I’m interested on opening a coffee shop here in jersey city, nj…. maybe you can guide me on opening a coffee shop. also I need a supplier of a good coffee and a rental equipment. thank you

    Regards
    Malou

  3. My Wife and I are in the research portion of opening a small coffee shop in a small rural Missouri town. We moved here from Kansas City and couldn’t find a good cup of coffee, in turn we have decided to gather as much information as possible in order to be able to successful. This is a good website in order for us to start.

  4. Would it be wise to take a few business classes or management classes before attempting to open a coffee shop? Or would it be the same to start a business with out having taken classes as long as you have access to the resources to inform yourself on the subject matter?
    If classes are recommended, which classes specifically?
    If classes aren’t necessary do you recommend a website or books for reference?

  5. Hi,
    My name is Tiffany. I am in the process of finishing up my business plan for a small coffee shop in a small farm town. I am just curious as to what your think my next steps should be.
    Thanks!
    Tiffany Spencer

    • Hello,
      Thank you for contacting us about your coffee shop business. We would be happy to speak with you about the next steps. Scott Fullerton will be the main support contact to help you through your business process. He can be reached at: sfullerton@crimsoncup.com.

      Yours in Coffee + Community

  6. I’m looking at two different locations for a coffee shop. One is in the downtown area of a good-sized city. The other is in a small town about 30 miles away from the same city. Obviously, the city location would cost significantly more in rent, but it also has much more potential traffic. I think it would be easier to recruit staff in the city location as well, though I might need to pay more. How can I quantify which location has the better potential for long-term success?

  7. Please have rep contact me concerning offering bag coffees/teas in my giftshop. We brew samples for our customers to try. We are seeking intro inventory startup order just to get started with and go from there. There will be few other brands available in our gift shop. There is no exclusivity. I’m available Mon-Fri 9-5pm EST. Our office/shop is: 31 Baltimore St, Cumberland, MD 21502 Phone: 240-803-5920. http://www.zmediacorp.net http://www.thearkspot.com

  8. Greetings,
    I wanted to know if one could buy coffee and sell packages to customers directly without serving it. I am not interested in owning a coffee shop. Thank you

  9. Hi, im a 25 year old average Female with the dream of opening a coffee shop. I am twice gifted and therefor studing has became something i have never been good at. I am usualy very good at things that catch my attention, i like to interact with people and am great at customer service. I believe that just because i didnt have the right tools to accomodate me when i was younger and didnt get good grades, doesnt mean i cant be a very succesful business owner. In fact i believe that because of those very things i will ultimately succeed.

  10. I am in the process of opening a coffee business here in Chicago and I have a few questions that I need answers to and no one here is willing to give them to me.

  11. Hello I’m financially not ready to open a coffee shop just yet! but I would like to make coffee in my home and deliver cups of coffee we are a very small community and I think I will do great, there is no services for coffee delivery here or I like to roast coffee and have coffee bags available for purchase I have some ideas .

  12. Thank you for the tips! We would love to open a coffee shop/co-working place for Goodnight Journal‘s HQ where anyone can come in to work or write personal journals with a cup of coffee 🙂

  13. Left Scott a message to contact me to reestablish our conversation about a new shop now that covid is winding down.

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