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Coffee shops are one of the most profitable businesses you can start. Opening a coffee shop in Ireland requires a relatively modest investment, while the culinary potential is boundless. Whether you want to open an Italian or Irish-style coffee / tea shop, it is necessary to consider what type of food and drinks your business will offer. Coffee shops tend to be more successful when they can cater for different tastes by offering a variety of hot and cold beverages plus light snacks from sandwiches and pastries to cakes and biscuits. You will need to identify a suitable location for your coffee shop, which can be a retail unit or kiosk. However, let’s begin from the very start.
Create a business plan for your coffee shop
Before you open your business, it’s a good idea to make a business plan where you can plan ahead and decide your main directions. Identify and understand your goals, what you want to achieve then you can find the right tools to get there. When planning your strategy, consider your target audience, the market, your competitors and your budget. By comprehending these fundamental elements, you can navigate the path to success. A well-devised strategy can facilitate the future growth of your business. And let’s not overlook the marketing strategy either.
Find a professional accountant
Instead of wasting your precious time and money, ask a professional’s help to take care of your accounting. Discuss with an accountant the financial opportunities/grants that might be applicable to you, learn about your tax obligations, and obtain necessary licences.
Discover reliable suppliers
You will need high quality suppliers for different products. Find a trustworthy supplier for getting your coffees and supplementary products such as syrup, milk or barista plant milk to provide a great range of products for your guests. You can also look at equipment suppliers that will help you prepare drinks like coffee machines and grinders. Lastly, make sure you have the right accessories like cups, lids and straws for customers. With this completed inventory, you are ready to start selling!
Licences to open a coffee shop
To acquire proficient barista skills, it is advisable to locate a nearby barista school.
It’s good to have some cashiering experience as well.
Find the perfect location
This part can be quite challenging since it involves two distinct scenarios. In a larger town or a city, you’ll likely encounter numerous competitors, thus you must differentiate yourself. On the other hand, if you choose a smaller town (e.g. near the beach), you’ll mainly attract potential guests during weekends. Align your location with your goals you aim to achieve based on your business plan.
Create a marketing strategy for your coffee shop
To open a coffee shop in Ireland or anywhere, we encourage you to complete the following checklist for making yourself visible for your potential clients:
- Create a Google Business account and showcase your physical location to enhance your online presence.
- Register on the social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram (identify your potential guests and choose a platform where you can easily find them)
- … and don’t just stop there; after registering on social media sites, share all the relevant information and products that might interest your lovely guests. Keep posting but don’t forget: quality over quantity.
- Retain loyal guests by offering a loyalty card and rewarding them with discounts after enjoying a few cups of coffee. Check out some local apps such as Squid instead of printed loyalty cards
- Keep on eye on offline marketing as well and use it together with digital strategies.
- If you want more info than check our e-book about marketing strategy and marketing tips
When you start tracking your profits, you’ll notice that the profit margin on selling coffee is relatively high. Coffee beans’ , cups’ and lids’ prices aren’t expensive and your coffees’ prices depend on different factors such as reputation, ambiance and quality of service. However, we suggest diversifying your offerings by including various snacks, sandwiches, and desserts to attract more customers and increase your overall profitability. Besides this, when you are planning your finances take into consideration the following expenses (not an exhaustive list):
- Rental expenses (place and coffee machine)
- Utility bills
- Wages and labour costs
- Furniture and machine maintenance costs
- Waste management
- Banking and POS terminal prices
- Supply and stock management (Coffee beans, cups, mugs, lids, milk, plant-based milk, sandwich, snacks)
- Extras (e.g. barista course)
Pro tips to open a coffee shop in Ireland
- Analyse your competitors and identify a unique niche to differentiate yourself.
- Offer a diverse range of delicious desserts and exquisite coffees.
- Embrace a grand vision and establish a unique brand identity for your coffee shop.
- Be creative with your special meals / coffees for holidays (St Patrick’s Day; Halloween)
- Demand is increasing for gluten/sugar/dairy free desserts or drinks, think about adding them to your menu to grow your customer base.
- Make your cafe environmentally friendly and consider utilizing reusable coffee cups with lids to promote sustainability and reduce waste.
Opening a coffee shop entails initial expenses, but these investments can be recovered in due course. Each business is unique but all of them can certainly benefit from preparing in advance their business plan; from finding the perfect location through selecting the best equipment and suppliers for the long-run to executing a marketing strategy.
We also recommend leveraging our blog posts and articles to address your marketing, advertising and promotional needs. If you want to attract more customers to your restaurant or cafe, you should consider boosting your online presence. Investing in various digital platforms could help your establishment gain more exposure and reach a wider audience. This could include building a website, increasing your social media activity, or creating targeted online advertisements. Stay ahead of your competition, embrace the digital world and grow your online presence!