May 18, 2016

You might dream of starting your very own restaurant fresh out of culinary academy. And while it’s plenty easy to open up your very own eatery, have you considered the prospects of a coffee shop? Coffee is hugely popular, and 54 percent of American adults enjoy a cup of Joe every day, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Plus, managing a coffee shop is a great way to expand your skills as a chef.

“Some 54 percent of American adults enjoy a cup of Joe every day.”

If this idea sounds especially appealing, here are four considerations when opening your very own shop. May these be as energizing as a triple-shot espresso:

1. Find the right provider
Coffee is made from beans, and since you’re going to be serving plenty of Joe on a daily basis, you’re going to need a constant source of beans. When choosing your coffee source, Serious Eats explained that it’s important to interview several different roasters. How much product can they provide? Will they offer discounts depending on your order? What other services can they provide, like education? What’s their policy on shipping beans? The more you know right off the bat, the better decision you’ll make. An effective coffee roaster is like a business partner, and he or she will be with you through almost every step of the way.

2. Study your coffee
You can only rely on your roaster for so much, and as a coffee shop owner you need to have your own level of expertise. All Business mentioned that there are several key traits to an effective “coffee geek.” A genuine coffee expert knows everything about their chosen roasts, from where the plants are grown (like the farm and the altitude or environment) to cupping notes and the optimal brewing styles. That means doing plenty of research, not only on the Web, but drinking coffee to get a through understanding. You also want to check out any competitors for business strategies and to get an idea of the coffee they’re serving up.

Hot Black coffee in a white cup on the table.

3. Don’t forget the food
Given your experience as a chef, of course you’re going to serve food in your coffee shop. However, it’s important that the food and coffee match up and you’re not serving them arbitrarily. You want dishes that are made to go with the coffee drinking experience, and that includes treats like doughnuts, muffins, beignets and coffee cakes and simple sandwiches like bacon, egg and cheese. Or, take it one step further, and infuse coffee in some of your recipes. For instance, coffee can be used to create barbecue sauces, as a marinade for meat and in baking cookies and cakes. That way, you’re creating a direct link between the coffee and food, which might appeal to patrons.

“It’s important to develop effective time management skills.”

4. Prepare for work
Life in almost any kitchen can be extra stressful. However, operating a coffee shop can have its own unique challenges. After starting her own dessert shop/cafe, Simmone Logue now has a mini-empire in Australia. Speaking with The New Daily, she said that many people don’t have the proper expectations when opening up a cafe.

“You will eat, sleep and breathe it,” she said. “It’s physically demanding. You are on your feet 10 hours a day. You must remain buoyant and pleasant to staff and customers.”

To be truly successful, you need to employ the right help. Even a couple people assisting a few times a week can be a huge load off your shoulders. It’s also important to have effective time management skills, which makes your workload lighter. That way, you can have more time and energy to commit to customer service.