Your daily “cup of Joe” might get you out of bed in the morning, but it’s also one of the most valuable commodities in the Western world. Right now the U.S. coffee market is booming, with regional contenders up against some of the biggest brand names in the world. Despite the food and drink offering in major cities being oversaturated, demand remains higher than ever before. Therefore, there’s never been a better time to start a coffee business. However, if you’re new to the industry, you will need to do your research before you open your doors and start grinding beans. Here are three pointers to help you get started.
Online, Offline, or Mobile Business?
If you’re opening a traditional coffee shop, you don’t need to think too much about this one; however, you might have considered sourcing coffee beans or granules to sell online, or taking your coffee machine on the road. Whatever your mode of business, make sure you work your expenses into your business plan and consider that your location will impact the success of your venture.
If your business will have a physical presence, do some research into different locations and find out as much information as you can about the market in those areas. If you’re launching an e-commerce site, think about where you can market your coffee products for maximum exposure. Social media platforms like Instagram are particularly effective for food and beverage companies. If you’re creating a mobile coffee business, consider what limitations you will put on your services: are there only certain areas you will travel to, for example, and will you offer delivery as well as serving markets and events?
Get Your Branding Right
High-quality coffee is a hot topic in the catering industry, which technically means you shouldn’t be short of customers. However, you need to consider that there is plenty of competition in this market, so you need a unique selling point. In this market (and all markets), branding is everything, so take some time to work out your niche and make sure your branding appeals to your audience.
Targeting coffee lovers isn’t enough; you need to be more specific. Are you creating plant-based lattes complete with syrups and cinnamon sprinkles for millennials, or fine roasted, sophisticated espressos for working city dwellers? Check out these tips from SmashBrand about creating stunning beverage label design and make sure your products are appropriately presented.
Serve a Consistent, High-Quality Product
Given the competitive nature of the gourmet coffee market, you will need to consistently offer a product that’s a cut above the rest if you want to impress discerning coffee drinkers. If you’re opening a café or shop, source the finest roasted beans and buy a high-quality espresso machine, as well as a water purifier, grinder, and milk steamer to ensure high-quality beverages. This equipment could determine the difference between a mediocre product and a gourmet one, so don’t scrimp on expense. You will also need to hire experienced, well-trained baristas and serving staff and make sure you teach the importance of customer service.