When opening a cafe, the menu is one of the most important aspects of your business. Deciding what should go on the menu of your cafe is going to be a very important decision and it should include some of the following items:
Specialty coffee drinks
Soups and salads
Sandwiches are often some of the most overlooked items on a coffee shop menu but in reality, you should not open your cafe without them.
Sandwiches are filling food items that can attract any number of customers who are looking for a good but simple meal.
Sandwiches are also simple enough where they aren’t very complicated to make and can pair with almost any number of drink items.
What kind of sandwiches should you offer
This classic is one of the most beloved sandwiches anywhere you go. It’s warm, creamy, and can be filling.
Grilled cheese is of course even better when paired with tomato soup.
One of the best things about the grilled cheese is how easy it is to make, it can be done in minutes and it anyone can do it.
Offering the grilled cheese sandwich in your cafe is one of the best decisions you can make.
The BLT or bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich offers so many possible variations that it is perfect for any cafe.
Outside of the base three toppings, the BLT, you can add any number of different toppings.
This sandwich is fairly easy to make, easy to serve, filling, and isn’t very common in many restaurants so it will be a big customer lure for your cafe.
Turkey and cheese
Once again, a very simple sandwich with simple ingredients is a staple for many people.
This sandwich reminds many people of going on a picnic, so maybe you can take advantage of that and offer a meal with this sandwich and a lemonade/tea.
While not technically a sandwich, the two are similar enough where you can place them together.
Wraps are very common especially today. The great thing about them is that you can place nearly anything in them to make them however you would like!
Any vegan sandwiches
Offering vegan options is a great way to attract a larger customer base.
The recipes for these sandwiches are limitless so find what you like and stick with it!
2. Specialty coffee drinks
If you have any knowledge about coffee shops and the money that certain items bring in, then this entry should come as no surprise.
Specialty coffee drinks are often the biggest moneymakers for any coffee shop.
These types of drinks include things like lattes, frappuccinos, espressos, as well as several other kinds of coffee items.
Offering these items will bring in more customers who are seeking out these types of drinks which in turn will give your shop a healthy boost!
What kind of specialty drinks should you offer?
Seasonal coffee drinks
This includes things like peppermint mochas around Christmas, pumpkin spice lattes in the fall, and special frozen drinks in the hot summer.
Espresso infused drinks
Espresso is a very common drink in Europe and over the last decade or so it has become increasingly more common in the US.
US coffee drinkers have put a bit of a twist on the trend with many preferring to have drinks infused with espresso. You can offer everything that the big coffee shops offer from lattes, mochas, cappuccinos, and so on.
This gives the drink a bit more of a kick and may help you attract quite a few new customers, particularly those who fall into the younger demographic of coffee drinkers.
Blended frozen coffee
Blended frozen coffee has become very common among younger coffee drinkers many of whom are willing to spend a bit more than the average consumer.
Because of this, offering frozen coffee is a great way to increase the number of customers that enter your shop!
3. Pastries/ Baked Goods
If you go into nearly any coffee shop around the world, you’ll notice that nearly all of them have pastries in a glass container so that they’re completely impossible to miss.
This is of course done on purpose so that when you walk in and see these pastries, you’ll have almost had to purchase one.
This is perfect because, for one, most of these pastries are easy to make and can be done before opening every day.
On top of this, most pastries sell for a fairly high profit margin which is great for your business.
What kind of pastries should you put on your menu?
- Cinnamon rolls
- Anything else you can think of
All of these pastries and baked goods are incredibly common in nearly every cafe for a reason.
For one, these items often have strong smells that are known to coerce customers into purchasing them simply by smelling them,
Additionally, these items can all serve as breakfast foods, giving customers a reason to stop by your coffee shop in the morning besides just the coffee.
If you play your cards right, these items could greatly increase the revenue and traffic that your coffee shop sees daily!
Check out the unique things to offer HERE.
5. Soups and salads
Soups and salads, while they may not go with coffee necessarily, are a staple in many cafes.
These options are both healthy options when compared to many other options that you have for lunch and other meals.
Not only this, but these are both easy to make and can be served quickly to customers.
You can have pre-made salads ready to go and soups prepared in-to-go containers ready for customers who order them.
This will allow you to see more customers in a day than you may normally would.
What are the best soups and salads to include on your menu?
This question is a bit more complicated to answer than some of the others we’ve answered and is it more of a subjective type of question.
Nevertheless, however, we are going to give you a list of what we believe to be the best soups and salads that you can include on your cafe menu!
Poultry salad, or simply any salad with chicken in it, is incredibly common in restaurants that pride themselves on healthy options.
Offering a poultry salad option, particularly a grilled chicken salad, is a fantastic way to attract a healthier crowd who would be willing to spend a bit more for an option like this!
When made with fresh fruit, a fruit salad can be fantastic!
A good fruit salad could put any cafe on the map, so including it on your menu could only help!
Who doesn’t love a good pasta salad? With such a large variation, you can choose any kind of pasta salad you could want.
Requiring only a few simple menus, adding a pasta salad to your menu could be very beneficial!
These types of salads are not as common in some areas, but in others, they are pretty standard!
Thus, if you think the area you are in would enjoy something like this, then offer one and see what happens!
Chicken noodle soup
What else could you put at number one! Chicken noodle soup is a classic that goes well both by itself as well as with other items like sandwiches.
Let’s be honest, offering chicken noodle soup would be a major mistake, so don’t make that mistake and put it on your menu!
While this isn’t as common as chicken noodle, it’s still popular in many areas and for many people isn’t something you can find very easily.
Many people, believe it or not, enjoy the vegetable soup!
All jokes aside, vegetable soup is a favorite of many, so if you can offer it, you won’t regret your decision.
Cheddar and broccoli
This type of soup is especially enjoyable when it gets lower in temperature. For many, including me, it reminds them of their childhood.
Playing on this sense of nostalgia can be very beneficial, so including this on your cafe menu is something you should think about.
Frequently Asked Questions
The average cafe owner makes somewhere in the range of $60,000 to $160,000 a year in personal income.
This means that after all expenses, the owner of a cafe is going to get this amount of money deposited in their bank account.
Of course, the amount that a specific coffee shop makes is going to vary depending on the size and area of a coffee shop, but it’s still likely to fall between 60 and 160 thousand in a year.
Over the last couple of decades, specialty coffee drinks have risen in popularity as the younger population, younger millennials, and gen z, become a bigger part of the coffee market.
Given that, the coffee market is changing so you may be wondering what the most popular drinks are as of right now in 2021?
Iced coffee drinks
Sweet/ sugar-filled drinks
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!