Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


Want To Start Your Own Coffee Shop?

Oh, who wouldn't want that ...


Want to start your own business? Then maybe you should plan to start your own coffee shop. 2017 statistics show that the UK has a total love affair with coffee ...

There are around 23,000 coffee shops in the UK. There's certainly room for more!

There are around 23,000 coffee shops in the UK. There's certainly room for more!

copyright: stockbroker / 123rf stock photo

The UK Coffee Week (yes there is one!) survey showed that there is an average of 3.4 new coffee shops being opened every single day! The coffee shop industry is worth £8.9 billion to the UK economy.

"Maybe you can get a share of this?"

There are around 23,000 coffee shops in the UK. But compare this to the number of pubs, which is around 53,000, and it seems that there is plenty of scope for more.

Britons drink around 2.3 billion cups of coffee shop coffee per year so it's not as if there isn't a demand for it. So, how exactly do you start a coffee shop? This sounds corny, but the first step in starting any business is research.

You need to understand what you are thinking of doing, so:

  • Research the market both nationally and locally.

  • Find out about the regulations that apply to coffee shops.

  • If you don't have relevant experience, get some ... work experience or training courses.

  • Find out about the different types of machines you can get ... and then ask what freebies they will give you. Some machinery manufacturers will give you training and support.

  • What look and feel are you going for - the ambiance of any store is an important part of its appeal.

  • What beans will you use? There are a huge range and this obviously affects every cup you sell.

  • Are you going to do extra's like food or books?

  • Don't forget wifi!

And where should you start it?

  • It's all about location, location, location!

  • Like any retail business, the first step is where. You need to think about your catchment area.

  • Are there many people walking past every day?

  • Will people travel to get to you

  • Does your area have lots of other businesses or schools or colleges or hospitals? In other words, how busy are you going to be?

  • You also need to think of size and how many people you can fit in your coffee shop. Part of your planning will need to be an interior floor plan.

  • Don't forget things like customer loos!

Next up is how to advertise your coffee shop:

Any business needs advertising and marketing to make it a success ... and marketing isn't instant. You will need to start it before you open and build it up once you open the doors. As retail premises you will need signage, but that is a passive bit of marketing. Obviously, you will need a website and as a food business, you will need to have reviews on trip advisor and similar websites. Social media provides a great way to tell your local community about you and you can use these tools to really help you make a buzz. Launch special offers are always a great way to attract people to try you out and they give you something to shout about on social media.

What about a business plan?

Business plans are always important and useful. As you do your research you need to put together your business plan and have explanations of what, where, the look and feel, etc. But until you have found a location, decided on your look and feel and thought about machinery, you can't put together the cashflow forecast that should be a part of your plan. This is the bit where you work out how much it is all going to cost. The cost part isn't just what you need to get to day one and be open, it is also the monthly operating costs and therefore how much you need to sell in order to stay open!

What about business finance?

You can open a coffee shop on a pretty small shoestring, but you will need some money, probably at least £20,000! However, if money is tight then look at leasing your equipment rather than buying it outright. Leasing spreads the costs over the future, so you don't need all of the money up front.

"Would you like to know more?"

There is lots more to talk about but, honestly if you would like to start your own coffee shop (or any other business), then call me on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's talk it through properly.

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566