Opening a coffee shop is often a dream come true, but that doesn’t mean coffee shop owners don’t have their annoyances. Check out our list of ten things coffee shop owners \

1. Long hours

As much as you love running your own business and being your own boss, showing up at 5:00 AM and then working well into the night doing administrative tasks day in and day out takes its toll. Overcome this problem by hiring good people, treating them right, and delegating as much as you can.

2. Managing cash

You may need to have a lot of cash – in small bills and coins – on hand each day to adequately deal with customers who need change and cash back. A few ways to combat this problem include: accepting alternate payment types (credit/debit cards, Apple Pay, PayPal, and mobile payments), rounding prices to the nearest dollar so that small change isn’t required as often, and encouraging your customers to buy, load, and use gift cards rather than cash.

3. Unexpectedly busy days

Sure, you like the extra perks of being busy, but being understaffed or running out of inventory is incredibly stressful for everyone involved. Even worse: you survive the rush, perhaps by calling in reinforcements or borrowing inventory from a neighboring restaurant, only to experience an afternoon sales slump. Flexibility and planning are key, as is proactive inventory management. Create a response plan for busy times and practice it with employees. For example, can someone from the back office pitch in during the morning rush? Use inventory management software, ideally built into your POS system, to stay on top of your inventory.

4. Bitter beans

Your coffee shop is all about serving delicious coffee. As such, you buy the best beans available and use a reliable roaster. However, you can’t help but cringe as you notice your customers grimacing as they sip. You taste the coffee and discover it’s bitter! According to, common reasons for bitter coffee include: using water that’s too hot, over-extracting, and using the wrong grind size.

5. Being away from the coffee shop for too long and imagining the worst

You’ve taken our advice about long hours to heart, but you can’t help yourself and imagine the worst. Invest, and have confidence in, your team; they can handle it. Provide plenty of training opportunities and set realistic expectations. It may help to drop in unannounced a few times so that you can see that your imagination is far worse than reality.

6. How long it takes to open a coffee shop

You’ve found the perfect location, signed the lease, and are anxious to open the doors. You’ve even started paying the rent, but it could be months before you’re ready for business. You need permits, you may need parking variances, your contractors are slower than expected, the fire inspector won’t sign off until you add another fire exit, and the list goes on… This illustrates how important it is to do your research and find out what improvements may be required before signing a lease.

7. Disappointing customers

Customers are your lifeblood, and you’ve invested so much energy into pleasing them. Whether you need to raise prices, remove menu items, change your hours, or redesign the floor plan, you’ll likely disappoint someone. Communication is key. Give your customers as much advance notice of any change affecting them, and consider giving them some sort of discount or perk to help smooth the transition.

8. Having to fire a talented barista because he or she isn’t friendly enough

A coffee shop is a service-oriented business where all employees are expected to be both competent and friendly. Before firing a talented barista, consider customer service training, role playing, or coaching.

9. When regulars stop coming in or move away

You count on your regulars and look forward to interacting with them on a consistent basis. Some stop coming because they’ve moved away, others may be ill, and others may have found a new place to get their coffee each day. No matter what the case may be, you’ll miss them. Again, communication is a good strategy. Use email marketing or social media to stay in touch and entice your regulars back with irresistible offers.

10. Complicated point of sale systems

The more complicated the POS system, the longer it generally takes to set up. Some can take months – precious time that interferes with your ability to open on time. If they’re too complex, training becomes another hurdle. To make matters even worse, you may be locked in for years due to long-term contracts. For most coffee shops, ease of use is just as important as robust shop management features. Look for a POS system that offers both.

Clearly, coffee shop owners have a lot on their minds. While these ten annoyances can cause a lot of grief, they can usually be handled once you’re aware of them.

How do you handle coffee shop annoyances? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent

Paul Nugent is a small business advocate who uses his background in the startup space, along with his POS system expertise, to allow small business owners to make informed decisions within their specific budgets.