So you’ve decided to open a coffee shop. Congratulations! But have you determined the destination your new business will call home?
Unless you made your decision with a location in mind, you’re probably in the midst of scouting neighborhoods and viewing potential business locations. If that’s the case, you’re right on track! There are however a few things to keep in mind when making your final decision, because a first-rate concept and airtight business plan will never make up for a lousy location. To help you out, we’ve put together a few key concepts to keep in mind when choosing the best location for your coffee shop.
Foot Traffic and Visibility
Like most businesses, the number one rule for opening a coffee shop is location, location, location. And we don’t mean in what state you’re located (Though that is important, so we’ll get to that later). What we do mean, however, is what the immediate area around your business will be like. Foot and car traffic is key, so choosing a location in the vicinity of a business district, shopping mall, or university is always a good option. But don’t take anyone’s word for it. Spend some time in the area; count cars and people on foot. Make sure that the number of people walking and driving down your chosen block would be enough to sustain your coffee shop. It’s also important that your business is easily visible. If your coffee shop is down a narrow side street, it won’t matter that you’re only three blocks from a university. Choose a location that is easily visible. If you must snag that quaint corner location with the obstructing overhang (or that’s all you can afford), make signage your friend. The bigger the better, as long as your fellow business owners don’t mind.
Consider The Less Obvious Locations
When I say “coffee,” you say “Portland!” Well — yes — but which Portland? According to a study conducted last year, Portland, MA (not Oregon) is the most coffee-obsessed city in the country. We kid you not. Portland, OR actually came in fourth place, behind Manchester, NH and Burlington, VT. The study took into account the percentage of households that own coffeemakers and buy coffee, the household average spend on coffee, coffee shops per capita, and the percentage of people who drink coffee and who drink five-plus cups of coffee a day. If you’re still pondering in which state to open your coffee shop, stop to consider the less obvious locations. Also, do your research and look at all the stats that matter. Just because a state doesn’t have a ton of coffee shops, doesn’t mean that’s the correct location to open one. Take a look at coffee consumption per state, as well as how much people spend on coffee per month. You can find this information on websites such as the National Coffee Association.
Don’t be Everything to Everyone
Have you ever heard the expression: “You can’t please everyone?” Well, it holds true even when applied to coffee shops. Just because you were able to sign a lease on a great location near both an office building and a college, doesn’t mean you should try and cater to both demographics. What 18-year-olds will be looking for in a coffee shop is far different than what career professionals will need. It’s best to pick one thing and do that one thing well. Are you going to be known for amazing coffee and whacky drink combinations? Great, go conqueror that challenge! You’ll draw in a crowd of young folks who will be happy to have their caffeinated needs met. But, if you’re looking to serve a hungry lunch crowd with delicious cuisine of sandwiches and salads, concentrate on that. You can still have amazing coffee, but maybe just not quite the variety initially planned. This might be a lot of information to digest, but the location of your coffee shop not only influences your revenue and profits but also sets the tone of your entire business. It’s definitely not something that should be chosen in a single afternoon. Our advice? Research. Research. Research. The more effort you put into choosing the perfect location, the better your coffee shop will do in the long run. Interested in reading more about opening a coffee shop? Check out Top Ten Things to Get Right When Opening a Coffee Shop.
Now that you’ve learned a few key points to take into consideration when choosing the best location for your coffee shop, what side of the coast will you land on?