It seems that these days more and more coffee shops are appearing in our neighborhoods, as more people begin to work digitally. However as easy as it is for those coffeeshops to appear, it’s just as easy for them to permanently close their doors for business. The simplest thing can be forgotten when starting a coffee shop and it is important to avoid them at all costs to avoid failure.


Five things that you should avoid when starting a coffee shop are choosing the wrong location, forgetting to take the customer’s dietary needs into account, not using quality ingredients, not training staff, and not having an effective layout. By taking these measures into consideration you will be one step closer to having a successful coffee shop that customers will look forward to returning to. So, if you want to make sure you have a successful shop then keep on reading!

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Don’t Settle on The Location

A location can make or break a business, and it is important that you take all the time that you need when choosing where you want to set up a shop. You want to find a location where there is constant foot traffic, although a small hidden coffee shop is a great secret for locals, it will not bring enough revenue. You’ll want to get a mix of foot traffic from locals but also the occasional neighborhood visitor.

One of the best places to have a coffee shop is in a business district or a city center, where there are a lot of office buildings, schools, and apartment buildings. Although it may be more costly to rent in an area like this it will be worth it because there will be constant foot traffic. You’ll have people come in that are picking up their morning coffee, corporate workers looking for a place to network, or a college student looking for a place to work in between classes. Also, if people pass by and see a coffee shop with people in it, they will assume that the coffee is good and decide to check it out. It is important to keep these things in mind when shopping for space, and not to settle on the first space that you see.

Use these tips to help you find the best location!

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Don’t Forget About Diets

It seems that these days there are more diet trends popping up, and it is important for you as a coffee shop owner for you to keep up with the latest trends. As more people steer away from dairy and begin drinking almond and oat milk it will be important for you to have those ingredients on hand. Over the next few years, the vegan movement will continue to grow as people learn of its benefits, and you will need to shove your personal beliefs aside in order to run a profitable business. You can still have both dairy and non-dairy options.

Yes, you can be a business owner that loves eating a nice angus beef cheeseburger with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon, but your customers do not need to know that. This is why it is important that you provide vegan vegetarian food options, as well as non-dairy creamers. It would be a shame to lose out on thousands and thousands of dollars in revenue because you failed to provide suitable options for vegans.

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Don’t Use Poor Quality Ingredients

Have you ever had an $8.00 latte to only have it taste like a cup of coffee with milk that was made two days ago? It happens more often than you think some coffee shops will use low quality of coffee to serve to their customers and overcharge them. There is nothing worse than paying almost $10.00 for a cup of coffee that is not worth drinking. Many businesses believe that buying low-quality ingredients will help their business because they will reduce costs, but the truth is that sure it won’t cost much, but it will cost their reputation and customers.

Here is why you should properly budget for buying high-quality ingredients, the number one reason is that you want to give your customer their money’s worth. You want your customer to drink their coffee and say, “wow that is one great cup of coffee!”. This rule does not only apply to coffee but also applies to food as well. You want to be sure to serve high-quality food to your customers such as freshly baked bread, fresh smoked salmon, and a variety of other great items. Serving high-quality food and coffee will not only have customers coming back, but it will also set you apart from your competitors. You want the identity of your coffee shop to be high quality and make sure that your guests know that they are paying for quality.

Need help picking the best coffee beans? Check out this article for more help.

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Poorly Trained Baristas

Not investing time in training your staff to match your core values will break your business. Your baristas will be the face of your coffeeshop, and they will be the ones that communicate with your customers when they walk through those doors. Having poorly trained baristas will not get you a five-star yelp review. Aside from having full knowledge, they will also need to have exceptional customer service skills. If investing in training means shutting down your shop for one day to have a mandatory training session, then so be it.

If your baristas are well trained to make a great cup of coffee and provide excellent customer service, then your coffee shop is sure to succeed. Not only will you succeed as a business owner, but your baristas will succeed also because with great food and service comes great tips, and that will encourage your baristas to keep up the great work. Therefore, be sure to provide proper training sessions to the staff so that they are always aware. The goal here is to be consistent across the board, and don’t forget the customer is always right!

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Poor Layouts

A coffee shop needs to feel at home even if it’s a small shop. There are some coffee shops that either have poor decor or just very uncomfortable to stay in because the layout is not fit for a coffee shop. Another issue is the acoustics, there are some coffee shops that have poor acoustics that make it difficult to work in or network. Then there are other shops where the seating arrangements are not fit for both people who are there to work and others who are there to network.

Your layout is extremely important because you want your shop to be as comfortable for all your guests. This does not mean that you have to flood the place with tables, but there should be enough space for those who want to sit down and have their coffee and enough standing room for those who want to buy their coffee and leave. Having an uncomfortable layout will not give guests the comfort of staying in your shop longer. This is why it is important that you plan out your layout strategically and take the time to plan out a beautiful decor.


So how can you avoid having a failing coffee shop? Select a great location, take all dietary needs into consideration, avoid using low-quality ingredients, be sure to train your baristas properly, and plan an effective layout. Although these seem like very obvious things and quite subjective to each owner, the truth is that many coffee shops have failed because they did not think like a customer. This list of what not to do will ensure that you have a successful coffee shop and will bring you one step closer to achieving your business goals.

The idea here is to set your own personal preferences aside and to think like a customer. Once you begin thinking like a customer you will get a sense of what your business should really look like. I am confident that with these tips you will have a coffee shop that is not only successful but will also standout from the rest of the coffee shops in your area.

Never Do These 5 Things When Starting Your Coffee Shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I incorporate all diets into my menu or just vegan?

Since you are only starting out your shop it is best to only incorporate a few vegan options into your menu, only because a vegan diet can easily satisfy other dietary restrictions. Also, you do not want to overwhelm your customers either.

Is it really worth it to buy good quality ingredients? It’s so expensive.

Although it is pricier to buy higher quality ingredients, it is so much more worth it when your customer gets their money’s worth. Be sure to incorporate ingredient costs when doing your budget planning.

What if I find a great location but it’s too small?

Although it is pricier to buy higher quality ingredients, it is so much more worth it when your customer gets their money’s worth. Be sure to incorporate ingredient costs when doing your budget planning.

To learn more on how to start your own coffee shop checkout my startup documents here

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.