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The majority of coffee shops across the country fit more neatly under the category of independent coffee shop. If you have a vision of a funky, laid-back type of coffee shop where you can play host to local artists in open mikes and gallery openings, an independent coffee shop is more likely to be your – pardon the expression – cup of tea. As an independent coffee shop owner, you have the freedom to make decisions about your shop, from choosing your own name and logo to deciding what kind of espresso makers to buy.
You’re not confined to serving only the brands of coffee offered by your franchisee, which gives you the room to experiment with different blends and brands and roasts. If you decide that it would be fun to host a weekly coffee cupping, there’s no one over your shoulder telling you that it doesn’t suit the image of your establishment.
On the other hand, you won’t have the benefit of instant name recognition, or the advantages of advertising campaigns mounted by a parent company. You’ll be on your own in designing a workable floor plan for your business, choosing the best espresso and coffee makers, figuring out where and how to buy your supplies, deciding on a location – in short, all the challenges that any beginning business owner will face. That means you’ll need to invest a lot of time and energy in doing research on your market and the business of running a coffee shop. Of course, there are experts who can help you with all facets of opening your own coffee shop, if you’re willing to pay the consultant fees. You can be assured that those fees won’t approach the franchising fees you’ll pay to open a franchise coffee shop with one of the most popular brands.
Other Types of Coffee Shop Businesses
There are a couple of other models for coffee shop businesses as well. The most popular of them are the drive thru coffee shop. Often called coffee kiosks,they offer drive-thru convenience and no seating space. The cost of setting up a drive-thru coffee shop is considerably less than starting a regular coffee shop. You’ll invest less in equipment – no need for tables, chairs and things like coffee mugs and spoons. With a good location, the potential earnings in a drive thru coffee shop are enormous – but you won’t get the interaction or fun of having a coffeehouse atmosphere.
The other popular model of a coffee shop is the coffee cart or coffee kiosk. These standalone coffee brewing stations are like a miniature shop without walls. They’re ideal for indoor and outdoor malls with food courts, businesses and shops that want to offer their customers a little something extra, and hospitals and office buildings.
If you’re interested in starting your own coffee shop, explore all the options available to you carefully. Like any business, there’s no guarantee of success – but there’s definitely never been a better time to toss your hat into the ring and open a coffee shop business of your own.