Coffee Shop Trends

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Coffee Shop

Which
kind of environment do you offer your customers?
Is it the quaint, quick and friendly
atmosphere of a small mom and pop shop or a high end, contemporary café with
wifi and Italian names?
Have you adopted
easy chairs and couches, like a growing number of national chains or the
diner-like stylings of a down home corner store?
With about 20,000 coffee shops around the
U.S. at last count, staying on the cutting edge means staying in business.

Money
is good in the coffee business, with a gross margin of about 85%. While the product can require a lot of labor
and an energetic staff, a good shop will attract a broad spectrum of clientele.


A
Look at the Stats

In
the last couple of years there has been a significant rise in the percentage of
18-24 year olds who are drinking coffee daily: 40% in 2012 as opposed to 31% in
2010. In the 25-39 year age span the
percentages have risen from 44 to 54 percent. Add tea drinkers and you are looking at a huge customer base. Furthermore, the National Coffee Association
has tracked an increase in the demand for specialty drinks, which means a
little culinary creativity can go a long way.

As
most adult coffee drinkers were introduced to the product in their teens it
pays to anticipate the needs of the younger set as well as traditional coffee
connoisseurs when establishing your menu and environment.


Establish
Your Niche

If
you opt for a franchise opportunity you don’t have to do much more than find an
area that isn’t already saturated by other franchisees. Everything from restaurant chair and table
combinations to product lines are decided for you at corporate headquarters and
you are selling a known product. This,
in large, absolves you of personal responsibility for the experience you are
providing.

If
you are stepping out on your own, you need to establish your own niche, and
nothing has proven more important that quickly establishing the quality of your
coffee. Don’t skimp on the quality of
your commercial restaurant equipment, nor your beans. The first will ensure
that you can keep up with customer demand; the second will keep them coming
back for more.

To
stand out from the crowd, create something special. Make up your own blend. Set up an area for
children who come in with their parents during the day. Bring in live music, set up a customer
loyalty program and market coffee-related products that carry your logo when
appropriate. Also, make use of social
media to put your shop in the limelight, increasing your name recognition.


Train,
Train, Train

Much
like the adage from the real estate industry, coffee shops should have one of
their own. Staff training may be the
most important aspect of daily operations. Knowledgeable baristas can make the
experience. Have hands on sessions,
encourage experimentation, teach unique pouring styles and help your employees
make use of online training as well. 
Employees who feel appreciated stay with you longer, reducing turn over
and the costs of training a stream of newbies.