How to Start a Successful Coffee Business

While we face limited occupancy and social distancing in restaurants, the crowded coffee shop scenes seem to have faded from our minds. Anyone running or looking to start a coffee shop business in 2021 might require some amendments to carry out operations. Coffee businesses would need to operate with ingenuity and persistence. The covid-19 pandemic has forced the existing coffee shop businesses to find new ways to sell coffee and connect with their customers.

Latest Trends in the Coffee Shop Business

2020 was an epic year for many industries, including the coffee business. Some changes that were observed in the way most coffee businesses continued to operate during the pandemic are:

  • Creating walk-up windows,
  • Building an e-commerce website to sell coffee and coffee beans,
  • Incorporating extra cleanliness regimes,
  • Incorporating in-store coffee roasting.

Let’s discuss these new coffee business trends one by one.

• Creating Walk-up Windows

This is something many coffee shop businesses would have never considered had they not faced the current pandemic. The coffee shops designed for the elite class to visit and dine in as a status symbol highly relies on their royal brand image to earn their high-profit margins. Their prices are more dependent on the perceived value of the dining experience they provide to their customers than on the taste or quality of the coffee itself.

With the walk-up windows that most coffee businesses have built, customers can pick up their online orders or purchase new items from cafes without even entering the coffee shop premises. This is not just for the in-house staff to keep themselves safe while serving customers and for the customers to feel comfortable buying their coffee. Customers now just have to walk up to the window and make their purchase. They don’t even have to step inside, and that’s seen as a positive addition by customers to the ways these cafes sell coffee.

• Building E-commerce Websites

The pandemic-driven shifts have caused customers to fall in love with the concept of e-commerce websites, online shopping, and delivery mechanisms for restaurants and coffee shops. According to a study done by Digital Commerce, consumers spent over $860 billion in 2020 online, buying from US retailers through their e-commerce sites. This is a drastic change in the sales trend for retailers, and more specifically, for the food industry. So coffee businesses have had to cope up with it as well.

Many coffee shop businesses that didn’t have a website before have created one now. They now sell coffee as well as coffee beans from their e-commerce sites. The fact is building a website is not as complicated as it used to be a few years ago. Most businesses use website builders to build a site on their own instead of hiring a full-time web developer. This makes the process more convenient and helps you launch your site faster than ever before.

One of the website builders that has recently gained popularity is Strikingly. Strikingly offers many ready-made templates for you to create an online store. Whether you are running a restaurant, a coffee business, a bakery, or catering services, you can find a suitable theme in Strikingly to build an e-commerce site.

Screenshot of a Strikingly user's grilled food business website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

The image above shows a Strikingly user’s website. They sell grilled food and organize events where they make sales offers as part of their marketing strategy. These kinds of websites are not only suitable for running your business online but also for showcasing your products and building an online presence even if you continue to sell through your physical outlets.

If you build a website for your coffee business, the website theme needs to look appealing to reflect your brand image. So if your niche is the elite class, for instance, your website must have an elegant look that matches the ambiance and theme of your coffee shop outlets.

• Incorporating Extra Cleanliness Regimes

Due to the pandemic, all businesses have had to take extra care of the cleanliness in their outlets. Hygiene has become the most demanded dimension from the customers’ side. The food industry has had to be cautious of hygiene exceptionally. Coffee shop businesses have taken sanitary measures to ensure that their health will be safe when they buy from them.

For a coffee business to be covid-friendly, some new rules and regulations need to be followed. But these changes also open up new opportunities for those who are willing to adapt to them. Creativity becomes the critical success factor in such circumstances.

The need for social distancing has made the smaller coffee shops face longer queues. This means they have had to adapt to faster cleaning processes to keep their outlets and even walk-up window paths as hygienic as possible. If you are looking to start a coffee shop business in this era, you need to keep it in mind.

• Incorporating In-store Coffee Roasting

In-store coffee roasting provides more potential for a coffee business to have more control over its operations. It also helps in reducing costs that have otherwise risen due to the covid-related regulations. This has thus become a new trend in the coffee business industry.

A coffee shop business that incorporates in-store coffee roasting is able to offer fresher products to the customers, which gives it a competitive edge over others. If you want to start a coffee shop business, it will be good to invest in innovative software that provides in-house electric roasters. This will help you customize your roast profiles and adapt to the number of beans you’ll roast based on your sales volumes. If the pandemic continues, the coffee business trend of in-store roasting will continue to rise.

A man operating silver metal machine to roast coffee beans

How to Start a Coffee Shop?

If you want to start a coffee shop business during this pandemic, the best way would be to start with an e-commerce website that enables you to sell coffee online. As mentioned above, building a website is easy if you do it with a website builder.

To build an online store with Strikingly, here are the steps you need to take.

  1. Sign up for a free Strikingly account.
  2. Choose a template for your website.
  3. Insert your web content
  4. Design an appealing header and footer
  5. Add a store section to your site.
  6. Select suitable payment gateways for your online store.

1. Sign-up for a Free Strikingly Account

You can do this from the Strikingly landing page. You can begin with the free plan that won’t ask you to key in any credit card details. The Strikingly free plan has enough features for you to build a simple site and get familiar with all its available tools.

Screenshot of Strikingly landing page

Image taken from Strikingly

2. Choose a Template for Your Website

After signing up at Strikingly, you’ll get access to your dashboard and lots of website templates to choose from. Select one that’s most suited to your requirements. Remember your website theme will represent your brand, so select one that goes with the kind of brand image you want to create.

Screenshot of some of Strikingly online store templates

Image taken from Strikingly

3. Insert Your Web Content

This is where the benefit of using the website builder is consumed the most. In Strikingly, you can insert text and images, and even embed audios or add videos to your site without having to write a single line of code. In the Strikingly editor, you can use its drag-and-drop feature to put all elements into place. To insert text, simply click on the area and start typing. You can also edit anything you type at any time you want. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the following in your web content.

  • Basic information about yourself and your coffee business
  • Your contact details and clear call-to-action guidelines
  • Your product photos
  • Your terms and policies

4. Design an Appealing Header and Footer

The header and footer of your site form a crucial part in the overall appearance of your site. Make sure it looks attractive and includes all the necessary information. For example, your contact details should be easily viewable by your site visitors, thus putting them on your header or footer is a good idea.

It also helps to add social media icons on your site’s footer to link your website to the social media pages of your coffee business.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's website showing social media icons on the footer

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

5. Add a Store Section to Your Site

To sell coffee from the website, you’ll need to set up a simple store on your site. This is where you will upload your product photos, write product descriptions, set up the price for each, and organize your store neatly by dividing the products into categories.

Screenshot of Strikingly store section to add products

Image taken from Strikingly

This is the section of your site where your customers will browse through your products and choose which one they want to buy.

6. Select Suitable Payment Gateways for Your Online Store

For your customers to purchase your products from your online store, you would need to have payment gateways ready on the site. In Strikingly, you’ll get options of payment mechanisms to choose from, and once you select one or more that suit you, you’ll be able to receive payments through your site.

How to Promote Your New Coffee Business?

Once you have your online coffee business all set up, you need to promote it to make sales. The best way to promote a website is to improve your site’s search engine optimization. This means you need to work on your keywords, web content, and overall site image.

Screenshot of Strikingly user's site analytics

Image taken from Strikingly

Monitoring your website’s analytics is an excellent way to track your visitors, learn about their demographics, and strategize how to retain customers.

If you build your site in Strikingly, your website will be automatically promoted in the Strikingly blog, where we often mention our users in our articles.

We wish you all the best in your pursuit of starting a coffee business!