7 Ways to Run a More Successful Coffee Shop

While many coffee shop customers associate your café with leisurely afternoons spent reading and sipping their favorite drinks, it’s a different story on the other side of the counter. By learning how to make your coffee shop more efficient, you can increase your profits while allowing your employees to focus more of their attention on customer satisfaction.

Common Coffee Shop Concerns

You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. Before you can start increasing the efficiency of your coffee shop, it’s important to recognize the primary concerns of your business. Common problems of coffee shops include:

  • Rising supply costs
  • Unreliable employees
  • Scheduling issues
  • High competition
  • Growing too big, too fast

Fortunately, simple steps exist to reverse these issues so you can run an efficient business. Check out these 7 tips on how to run a more successful coffee shop:

1. Automate Reordering

Look at past invoices to see how often you purchase stock like coffee beans, sugar, syrups and cups. Then, use this data to create automatic reordering of supplies. You’ll spend less time going over inventory and filling out order sheets, thereby freeing you up for more important tasks. Plus, by analyzing your ordering habits, you can save money by reducing how often you purchase less popular items and instead focus on ordering the most-used products in cost-saving bulk quantities.

2. Streamline Scheduling

Use a scheduling app like WhenIWork to reduce the time you spend working on schedules. By making it easy for employees to look up their schedules online, you reduce work hours spent reading someone their schedule over the phone. This app also allows you to quickly accommodate your baristas’ class schedules or other commitments by keeping the schedule easily accessible.

3. Allow Employees to Easily Swap Shifts

You have better things to do than to call around for a replacement if an employee needs to take unexpected time off. Instead of micro-managing, empower employees to find their own replacements and then communicate the new schedule changes to you.

4. Optimize Your Ordering Area

A big part of efficiency is maximizing your café’s profits. Which coffee products you sell has a huge impact on how much profit you make. For instance, you’ll only make a few bucks per pound when you sell a bag of coffee beans, but when you turn that pound of beans into high-end drinks, such as espresso-based beverages, your profit margin expands exponentially. To maximize sales on these high-margin items:

  • Avoid taking up eye-space with low-profit margin offerings like roasted beans sold by the pound.

  • Create a display of syrups and other add-ons

  • Post signs that show off your very best espresso-based creations

When you make more money per drink, you are able to maximize your profit line and earn more efficiently on every bag of coffee beans you buy. According to Coffee Talk Magazine, you can make over $110 per pound of coffee by increasing your high-profit drinks.

5. Automate Your Marketing

Marketing your business online can be time-intensive, but you can reduce that time by automating certain marketing tasks. For instance, many cafés increase profits by offering weekly specials. To take advantage of automation, create a month or more of specials for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in one go, then schedule these messages to post throughout the month. This way, you can cut down your social media marketing time and take just a few minutes every day to look over your feeds and respond to customer questions and comments.

6. Create a Training Regimen

Do you have a set training program with clear objectives? While it can take some time to develop a training plan, having one in place will make your coffee shop far more efficient. Trainers will spend less time deciding what to teach and new employees will learn the ropes more quickly. Restaurant Support suggests starting with an orientation, shadowing other employees and allowing the trainee to taste drinks to develop a familiarity with your menu. 2

7. Invest in Technology

An up-to-date POS (Point of Sale) system helps you keep track of inventory and can save you up to 10% simply by reducing theft and order errors.3 It’s important that the system be kept updated, because you won’t save time if baristas have to wait for the system to load or deal with out-of-date drink menu options on the cash register.

Everything that you do to help your coffee shop run more efficiently is an investment in your business’s success and will help you cut costs and increase your profit margin. And by saving your employees time, you can ensure that they are available to keep your customers happy and coming back.

Your Coffee Shop’s Success is About the Experience

What all of this boils down to is the customer experience. People can get coffee anywhere – even without leaving their houses. You have to offer them something more than just the bean. Manage your employees, your inventory and your customers’ experience, and you’ll stay in command of your growing business.


A Coffee Shop Ratio That Boosts Profits by 50%, Coffee Talk Magazine

How to Best Train New Servers, Restaurant Report

The Point of Sale System: Savings vs Cost, Club Thrift

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