Creating your own coffee shop business 

Starting a coffee shop or café can be an exciting venture and opening an independent business means joining the other 5.47 million small business owners in the UK. However, there’s a lot of work that goes into developing a business like this and it’s important to consider a number of factors before you dive in  

We’ll explore the key aspects of starting up a café or coffee shop to make sure you’re fully prepared for what to expect. 

The product 

You’ll need to decide on the type of café you want to open. Will you serve lunches and dinner or just hot drinks and snacks? Are you planning on being open for breakfast? And will you run your coffee shop as a takeaway or eat-in business? Whatever you choose, you’ll need to think about the appropriate opening hours and potential costs. 


The location is very important. Make sure you carry out some market research to see where there’s enough demand and check out any nearby competition. Decide what the USP of your coffee shop will be and develop your business around it.  

You’ll need to have a good idea of your target audience too. Whoever your target market is you’ll need to make sure your products, style and service appeals to them.  


You’ll need to invest in quality equipment such as coffee makers, dishwashers, fridges, crockery and seating. If you’re planning to serve food, you’ll also need to consider items such as plastic sheeting from suppliers like RS for hygiene, cooking facilities, and PPE.  

As well as these, you’ll need to set up a payments system and make sure there are toilet facilities for customers.   


Consider whether your business will need staffing or whether you’ll run it alone. If you employ anyone, make sure to check their credentials and select those with good customer service skills. After all, they’ll be the face of your business.  

You’ll also need to agree on the terms of their contract and payments and put plans in place for any absences and holidays.  

Legal requirements  

Check to see if you need a local licence to open your coffee shop and the certificates you’ll need to display in your café. If you’re serving food, you’ll be required to register your business with the food standards agency at least 28 days in advance.   

There’s a lot of work involved in setting up a new business like this, but by considering these vital factors at the beginning you can give your coffee shop a higher chance of success.  

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