How to Open a Coffee Shop in Florida

Welcome to Florida sign

Want to learn how to start a coffee shop in Florida? We’re here to help! You don’t have to go through the startup process alone or spend a lot of money on franchises or coffee school classes. Instead, check out our 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success program. This process has helped entrepreneurs launch and run coffee shops across the U.S., including in Florida. Our team of coffee shop startup consultants has helped over 300 coffee entrepreneurs open coffee shops in 30 different states. With our continued support, many of these shops continue to thrive five, ten, or even twenty years after opening. Some coffee shop owners have even expanded to multiple locations. Our own coffee company started as a small business in 1991. Today, we’re recognized among the country’s top coffee roasters! Among other recognitions, we’ve been honored to receive Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster Of The Year Award and multiple Good Food and Golden Bean awards. We back our consulting expertise with 30 years of specialty coffee knowledge and 20 years of coffee shop startup experience. What can we do for you? To start, our experienced coffee business consultants can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan and calculate coffee shop startup costs in your Florida community. As a one-stop shop for independent coffee shop owners, we also can help you find a terrific location, lay out your shop, hire and train staff, market your shop, and more. You’ll also gain access to award-winning coffee and coffee shop products that will keep your customers coming back! Keep reading to learn more about how to start a coffee shop in Florida. Or call 888-800-9224 now to connect with our coffee shop startup consulting team!

Florida is a Terrific State to Open a Coffee Shop!

Orlando, Florida skylineWith its warm climate, high tourism rates, diverse demographics and rich coffee culture, Florida offers a promising location for your business. The coffee scene is on fire in the Sunshine State. A survey by WalletHub ranked three Florida cities – Orlando, Miami and Tampa – among the Top 10 Coffee Cities in America. And, with just seven major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents, Florida offers plenty of opportunity to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local community. Florida ranks 32nd in overall coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 6,248 Florida residents for every coffee shop in The Sunshine State. The growing coffee and snack shop industry in Florida is expected to reach a value of $2.15 billion by the end of 2023.  This growth and Florida’s warm climate and outdoor culture make the state an ideal place to open a coffee shop.  

Small Florida Cities and Towns Present Big Opportunities

Colorful storefronts in Fort Myers FloridaBig cities like Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and Tallahassee tend to have a lot of coffee chains.  You might find more opportunities for your new business in a smaller city or town. Many cities and towns in Florida’s 67 counties lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee. Does your Florida community need an independent coffee shop? Coffee shops offer more than just a caffeine fix.  They serve as gathering places for the community to socialize, work, and unwind. When a coffee shop opens in a small town, it creates jobs and attracts foot traffic, which can support other local businesses and potentially even bring new ones to the area. Moreover, your coffee shop could become a cultural hub for the community, hosting events such as open mic nights, art exhibitions, or book clubs. Sound promising?  Keep reading for more insights into how to start a coffee shop in Florida.  

Florida is open for Small Business

Shops and restaurants in Venice, FloridaFlorida’s supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and its vibrant business climate and diverse demographics make it an ideal location for startups. Boasting a low personal income tax rate, the state also offers the second-lowest overall tax burden in the U.S. Small business is big business in the Sunshine State.  Over 3.4 million small businesses call Florida home.  These enterprises account for over 42 percent of all jobs. Florida entrepreneurs can access a variety of support services through Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI), which partners with state, federal, and non-profit organizations to provide comprehensive assistance. The state government is committed to creating a business-friendly atmosphere that encourages the growth and success of entrepreneurs. You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the Florida Department of State website, which assists small and medium-sized Florida businesses with:

  • Starting a business
  • Taxes
  • Workforce
  • Choosing a legal business structure.  Many coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations.)
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

The Florida Small Business Development Center Network provides no-cost consulting, training, checklists, and financing information to small businesses in Florida.  t is the state’s largest network of small business consultants, offering high-quality resources and innovative tools.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Consultants

Training a barista As a coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup believes our company only succeeds when our customers do. As a result, we support coffee shop owners at every step, from concept through opening day and beyond. A one-stop shop for independent coffee shops, Crimson Cup supplies award-winning coffee and industry-leading coffee shop equipment and supplies. Based on the book Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert, our program covers everything business owners need to run profitable coffee shops:        

  • Writing a sound business plan
  • Choosing a terrific location
  • Calculating startup and operating costs
  • Designing an efficient shop layout
  • Choosing an espresso machine and other coffee shop equipment
  • Training your baristas
  • Marketing your shop to attract customers
  • And much more.

Backed by over 30 years of specialty coffee know-how, our 7 Steps to Success program has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs in over 30 states how to open and run successful independent coffee shops. To learn more about how members of our community became successful in their communities, check out our testimonials.

Florida Coffee Shop Owners Grow with the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in Florida say they saved time and money and grew their coffee business faster by following our 7 Steps to Success.  But don’t take our word for it.  Hear how we’ve helped Florida customers grow and sell their coffee shops.

The Rex Cafe, Pensacola, Florida – Founded in 2022

The Rex Cafe in Pensacola, FloridaInspired by old Hollywood movies and the cafes of Europe, The Rex Café provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for sipping classic espresso beverages inside a restored Pensacola theater. The new café operates as an extension of Generation Church, which purchased the historic Rex Theater at 18 North Palafox Street and restored its 1930s Art Deco design. “By providing simple and quality beverages, our mission is to create a space for the community to develop relationships, make connections and enrich your soul,” said Associate Pastor and Café Manager Lois Renaud. Initially built in 1910 as a furniture store, The Rex Theater entertained Pensacola audiences from the 1930s to the 1980s.  eneration Church renovated the theater in 2012 to include a large main theater, a second-floor meeting space, and a third floor with classrooms and church offices. The Rex Café, Pensacola, FloridaA decade later, they were ready to add a café in the first-floor lobby of the main theater. Pastor Renaud said the inspiration for The Rex Café arose from the Church’s desire to be a more intricate part of the community. “We didn’t want just to be a church only open on Sundays, but a part of people’s everyday lives,” he said.  What better way than a coffee shop?”

Learning to Open a Coffee Shop

Pastor Renaud and Assistant Manager Annie Gray turned to Crimson Cup to learn how to open a coffee shop in Florida. “We were looking for a coffee partner that could help us develop a café that does justice to the unique beauty and iconic history of The Rex Theater,” Pastor Renaud said. “A coffee franchise would not have allowed us the flexibility we needed.” As Generation Church was searching for a coffee partner, a Honduran coffee professional who worked with the Church on missions encouraged Pastor Renaud to contact Crimson Cup. We’ve worked with Honduran coffee farmers for over a decade through our unique Friend2Farmer initiatives. “In Honduras and worldwide, Crimson Cup looks not just for partners but for lifelong friends,” said Greg Ubert. “Our Friend2Farmer program goes far beyond Fair Trade.  e help provide a better quality of life for the farmers, their families and their communities. It’s all part of our Focus on Good.”

Developing The Rex Cafe

The Rex Cafe Pensacola FloridaOnce the connection was made, our coffee shop startup consultants guided Generation Church from concept through opening day and beyond. “The Rex Café has a fabulous partnership with Crimson Cup,” said Pastor Renaud.  From our cafe’s inception until today, they guided us through the entire process.” “They provide everything we need for a successful coffee shop, from equipment support to products.  e love using their coffee and other products for our beverages and look forward to growing our relationship.” Of the 7 Steps, Pastor Renaud found Step Six, Focus on Customer Service, the most valuable.  Without creating a friendly and welcoming environment, we wouldn’t be able to make the connections and relationships that bring people back to the café,” he said.  Make sure you put people first, whether employees or customers.” The coffee has won rave reviews from local coffee lovers. “As someone who treasures the privilege of having a cup of coffee, I can be quite picky,” wrote one Google reviewer.  The Rex Cafe offers an experience surpassed by none in my all of my travels, centered around great coffee and espresso.” Pastor Renaud invited everyone in Pensacola, Escambia County and the Florida panhandle to experience The Rex Café.  Follow the café on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Sips Coffee Bar, North Tampa, Florida – Founded in 2012

Sips Coffee Bar Drive-thruOriginal owners Caryn and Ken Reed opened Sips Specialty Coffee House at 6118 Gunn Highway in North Tampa, Florida, in August 2012. As the couple told The Tampa Bay Times at the time, they were eager to escape the corporate grind. “‘We decided we were sick and tired of corporations ruling our lives,” said Caryn. They moved from Bay City, Michigan, to Tarpon Springs after Ken was laid off from a sales job where he had spent more than 20 years. A former client owned his own coffee shop, and the couple thought it sounded like just the change of pace they needed. “My youngest son used to play his guitar in coffeehouses in Michigan, and we’d go and listen,” said Caryn, who also worked in sales and had struggled her last few years.  




Creating a Cozy Place for Customers to Regroup

That cozy feeling was what they wanted in their own place. “We wanted a place where people could come, regroup, maybe network, recharge their batteries and get back out there,” she said. After searching for the right location and almost scrapping the idea, they finally found the place at Citrus Court at 6118 Gunn Highway, which was ideal because they could put in a drive-through window. The couple in their mid-50s gambled their retirement fund on the ideal of homespun customer service. “I want this to be very personal,” said Caryn. It’s about the people … and so far, we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of the community.”

Terrific Coffee Draws Repeat Customers

With support from Crimson Cup customer growth specialists, The Reeds wooed repeat customers with terrific coffee and a unique space. As Caryn told Tampa Tribune writer Kenneth Hall, the couple believes Crimson Cup played a central role in their success. “It is the best coffee I’ve ever had,” Caryn Reed says.  When I first tasted it, I certainly didn’t know we’d be selling it one day. It’s a medium roast coffee, very smooth and not acidic. It’s really different from everything else I’ve had in Tampa.”

New Decade Brings New Owners

Jeremy and Jessica Buxton, Sips Coffee BarAfter a decade of owning Sips Specialty Coffee House, the Reeds sold their business to another Crimson Cup customer. The new owners, Jeremy and Jessica Buxton, also own and operate a growing independent chain of coffee bars in Oklahoma and Texas. They renamed the business Sips Coffee Bar to match their other coffee shops.

The Air Force Veteran family (thanks to Jeremy’s service for the last 17 years) aims to provide a big city experience with small-town values. 

They initially learned about Crimson Cup through a family member, who referred them to longtime customer Jerry Bevel of Cpl. Ray’s Coffee in Texas, who has opened three coffee shops in Midland, Odessa and Andrews, Texas.

After talking to Jerry, the Buxtons decided Crimson Cup was the right roasting and training partner to launch their first coffee shop in 2017. With Crimson Cup’s support since then, they have opened several new coffee bars, with more on the way – including potential Florida locations.

Ready to Start Your Florida Coffee Shop Journey?

7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup guide Begin by reading the book that put hundreds of other coffee shop owners across the USA on the road to success! Backed by a risk-free guarantee, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee lays out a map for opening and running a thriving coffee shop serving your local community. Inside the book, you’ll find a proven template for creating a solid coffee shop business plan, plus guidance on everything you need to get up and running.




Questions About Opening a Coffee Shop in Florida?

We can help.  Call 888-800-9224 to connect with our coffee shop startup consultants during regular business hours (Eastern time).  Nights and weekends, you’re welcome to fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

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