For many, the coffee shop experience encompasses more than just coffee—it also means studying, working, meeting with others, and possibly reading. As you develop your coffee shop, should you also include reading material in your interior design?
Your coffee shop should offer reading material to bolster your sales, create an additional bonus for your regular customers, encourage communication, create a more familiar aesthetic, and help to eliminate distractions.
When it comes to including reading material, there are many benefits to doing so. Read on to find out more about why including it can be beneficial and how you can incorporate it into your business.
Benefits to Including Reading Material
- Because people enjoy coffee while they work or read, you can make an additional profit.
While your mission statement isn’t just about profit, your business does need to make one, and adding books can do so. People already come to a coffee shop to work due to a proximity to good coffee, and will ultimately purchase more of the caffeinated drink the longer they stay. It’s up to you to give them a reason to stay beyond their normal time. If you provide reading material to keep your customers in the shop—and keep them coming back—you’ll be likely to make more profit.
- Books and magazines are an added bonus to coming to your coffee shop.
As many know, the coffee shop experience doesn’t just end with getting a morning latte. Many people spend some time at a coffee shop for its atmosphere—and sometimes that includes bringing their own book. But what if someone comes and wants to stick around, but doesn’t have anything to read? You’ll find that some people go searching for that extra perk to their day.
- Reading material can create a talking point.
If you’re looking for ways to get your customers engaged, adding reading material to your coffee shop can do just that. Customers seeing other customers reading also creates a butterfly effect—more and more readers will use your space when they discover it’s a great space to do so.
That communication between your customers can grow simply by what one might be reading. Finding out more about a book that someone is reading is a great way to start up a conversation.
It not only can help create a talking point between your customers, but it can also be a ways of communication between you and your customers. A customer that may not have spoken to you before may now have a reason to.
- Reading material makes your coffee shop less of a service and more of a meeting place.
Adding that reading material doesn’t just give then a bonus or creates a talking point, but it also gives people another reason to meet there. You want people to come in and purchase your drinks, but the best way to get more people into your business is by giving them a space to meet. Having that bookshelf or two can remind your regulars that this isn’t just a place to get their coffee—it’s a place akin to home.
- Reading material can help eliminate distractions.
While keeping your customers in your shop may feel like you’re increasing the amount of distractions, that’s not always the case. By giving your customers something to do, you can actually help to reduce the noise or distractions for other customers, increasing their productivity—and ultimately, increasing their want to be in your coffee shop, and therefore their need for more coffee. With more and more people working remotely, as well, you can help to foster that level of focus or even help to educate your regulars by giving them magazines or current newspapers to stay on top of current events.
- Reading material can help add to your business aesthetic.
The coffee shop continues to experience renaissance after renaissance as it continues to morph in our modern times, but people like what they know, and many know that a coffee shop is a great place to work and read. By giving people that option whether they brought their own book or not, you can help create a better environment and foster additional good feelings between your business and your customers. Besides, what is a casual coffee shop experience without browsing a few books on a shelf?
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How to Incorporate Reading Material into Your Coffee Shop
Adding in some reading material into your coffee shop décor doesn’t mean you have to completely remodel. There are ways to incorporate it without changing up your entire business model.
What do you need to incorporate reading material? It’s easy—all you really need is a shelf. What that means is up to you, and how much space you want to use is your choice. Smaller coffee shops may incorporate a single shelf or two, but if you have the space, a whole wall of books can’t go wrong.
What kind of reading material should you include? Again, that’s a personal decision, but variety tends to be the best option. Include magazines, newspapers of all types, and a broad range of books for your coffee shop regulars.
How do you get your books? If you have books you’d like to bring in from your personal library, do so at your own risk. You are running a coffee shop, and you run the risk of destroying a book or two by an overturned coffee by accident. Consider going to book sales or flea markets to find inexpensive, lightly used copies of books for your shelves.
Looking for suggestions? Consider talking to your regulars and finding out what books they would like to read. Many would love to have the input and would feel like they’re being heard in your business. Some of your customers may also pitch in—you can accept their books for a few coupons, and soon, you’ll have a well curated library. Make sure you include some children’s books, too—providing those options can give your parent or guardian customers a few moments of relief.
If you want to create a small borrowing library, all it takes is a few stamps or stickers on your existing books and a sign out sheet. Make sure you record who takes home those books so you can make sure they come back.
A great way to market your bookshelves to those who are coming to your coffee shop is by incorporating it into your business as a whole. If you really want people to use your reading material, you can make an event surrounding it—consider marketing your business to people interested in a book club or create specials on theme with some of the books you have on your shelf this month. Make sure people know what features you have, and you never know who you might attract.
When it comes down to it, adding a bookshelf to your coffee shop isn’t going to make or break your décor, but it could add so many more benefits to your bottom line. Besides just adding those shelves to your coffee shop, you’re creating an aesthetic where people can come in and look through a book—and in many cases, families can come in and find something new to share with their children, which will create many good feelings associated with your shop for years to come. Whether you’re looking to make an impression or make a profit, it doesn’t matter—adding that bookshelf will only benefit you and your business.
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Frequently Asked Questions
In most cases, the choice is yours, but there are certain items that are practically required to have on your coffee shop menu, including espresso, drip coffee, lattes, iced coffee, cappuccinos, and all other coffee related drinks. You should also consider non-coffee drinks such as steamers, hot chocolate, and Italian sodas. Food adds an additional factor to your prep time, so consider that before you add food to your menu.
While many of your profits will come earlier in the day, there is a way you can market your business to the late-night crowd. Have events that only occur during the evening or create a special discounted drink for that time period. Create a marketing campaign that targets the demographic of people that would be coming to your business at night, and lean into social media to get attention for it.
While there is no hard and fast rule to how long someone can stay at a coffee shop, most customers should consider what they have purchased and how much space they are taking up in relation to other customers. Paying coffee shop customers get precedence, so in many cases, if you make a singular purchase, about four hours should be the maximum. The more coffee and items a customer purchases, the more time they could spend in your business, though, so make sure you continue to check in with your customers to see if they would like a refill.
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.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!