Finance & Operations

How to Create a Coffee Shop Business Plan: Free Template & Guide

By Debra Weinryb

Smiling coffee shop owner standing in front of an espresso machine.

Before you open a coffee shop, you will need to have a coffee shop business plan. This important document acts as a roadmap for your business adventure – with everything you need to turn your dreams into a reality. 

If you’re passionate about coffee but have never written a business plan before, it can be nerve-racking to get started. To help you out, we’ve put together a complete guide to writing a coffee shop business plan. In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What is a coffee shop business plan?
  • How to write a business plan for a coffee shop
  • The 10 sections of every great coffee shop business plan
  • A free coffee shop business plan template
Smiling barista standing in front of a modern coffee bar.
Get Your Free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Create a custom business plan for your coffee shop concept with this free template.

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What is a Coffee Shop Business Plan?

A coffee shop business plan is a formal written document that explains your business concept, goals, and how you will achieve success. It answers several questions, like how you will set up your coffee shop, how you will fund your business, and what revenue you expect to make. It includes information about your marketing plan, sales strategy, coffee shop customers, pricing structure, competitors, labor requirements, and finances.

Similar in length to a traditional restaurant business plan, it’s a succinct document that usually spans 15-20 pages, but no more than 30 pages. Coffee shop business owners can make their plans pop with visuals like photos and designs of their shop, and site plans of their retail store. Charts and graphs are also used to show financial inventory information, like how much coffee beans will be purchased monthly and at what cost, for example.

Once complete, you will be able to show your coffee shop business plan to potential investors, bankers, and business partners. That’s why it’s so important to dedicate a large amount of time and energy into getting your business plan underway early on.

two coffee baristas work in a coffee shop

How to Write a Business Plan for a Coffee Shop

With the proper guidance, business plans can be easy to write. That’s why having a coffee shop business plan template is a useful aid for conceptualizing your business and goals. Additionally, having a coffee shop business plan example can help you think of key elements to demonstrate your coffee shop’s potential for growth and profitability – which are both important to attract funding.

Smiling barista standing in front of a modern coffee bar.
Get Your Free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Create a custom business plan for your coffee shop concept with this free template.

Get the Template

Elements of a Coffee Shop Business Plan

Executive Summary

Your executive summary is a short and a high-level overview of each section in your business plan for a coffee shop. It describes your business concept, the problem it solves, your target market, financial highlights, lease information, as well as your vision for the menu, products, and how you will service coffee – whether that’s in a kiosk, drive through, pickup, or sit-down coffee shop. 

As you write your executive summary, consider who will be reading your business plan and what you would like them to know. After all, you want to capture your reader’s attention and entice them to continue reading or even invest!

Here are a few key points of interest you can mention:

  • Ambiance: The character and atmosphere of your coffee shop
  • Location: Information on your potential foot traffic, facility/lease, and seating capacity.
  • Kitchen storage: Space for multiple blends of coffee or a high-end espresso machine.
  • Goals: Your mission statement and guiding principles that will drive your success.
  • Funding: What funds you need and how you will use them to achieve your vision.

Business Overview

The Business Overview section takes a deeper dive into the coffee industry as a whole, your local market, and what makes your coffee shop model unique amongst the competition. Here, you should give a brief overview as to when and why you started your coffee shop business. In addition, you can include major achievements such as hitting target sales goals or opening new coffee shop locations.

In this section, you can also go into more detail about how your neighborhood coffee shop will operate. For example, explain what coffee and food products you will offer, hiring and labor practices, and how coffee will be brewed. This, of course, will depend on your coffee shop business model. Here are a few types of coffee shops and how they could be described:

  • Grab-and-go coffee shop: Pickup or drive through only, so folks can grab a drink in a heartbeat
  • Traditional coffee shop: Sells baked goodies, variety of coffee drinks, in a relaxed atmosphere
  • The coffee bar: Like a homey living room, with lounge music, WiFi, and fresh coffee

Management and Staff

In this section, you will list the business owner(s) who will manage your coffee shop, and write about their experiences/qualifications that will make them successful. You’ll also include details of who will take care of your day-to-day coffee shop operations. 

Every coffee shop will need baristas who take care of sales and make drinks, but those that sell food may also need someone to operate basic kitchen equipment. Additionally, you may want to hire someone to do marketing and advertising, or an accountant to take care of your bookkeeping. 

After deciding on what jobs you want to create, you’ll need to identify if they are part-time or full-time, how you will recruit/train them, and what you will pay them in wages and benefits. Your employees will factor into your financial forecast and expenses later on in your business plan for a coffee shop, so it’s essential to get a head start on your hiring budget.

Smiling barista standing in front of a modern coffee bar.
Get Your Free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Create a custom business plan for your coffee shop concept with this free template.

Get the Template

Market Analysis

Your Market Analysis should show that you’ve looked at your target market, assessed your location, and understand how you’ll compete against other coffee shops in the area. Remember to consider what makes your restaurant unique and what will help it stand out. Here are a two ways you can do just that:

Location

Mention if your coffee shop is in a central location, such as near a college where students break for lunch, or next to office buildings where professionals drop-in on their way to work. If you are one of many coffee shops in a location, consider pointing out what makes you different, like your wide variety of specialty coffees.

Customer Analysis

Include information about your ideal customer – with details on who they are, why they shop at your coffee shop, and any metrics. If you performed market research before starting your coffee shop, include that too. For example, if you have data on a high demand for espresso in your location, the sales potential for a drive-through espresso stand could be very promising.

Sample Menu

A sample menu lets investors know exactly what you’ll be serving. Keep in mind that your sample menu should be a differentiator – otherwise, why would investors think that customers should choose you over competitors who serve similar drinks?

Here are a few tips for choosing what to include in your great sample menu:

  • Think about the types of coffee beans that could set you apart. Maybe you only serve organic beans, unlike your competitors.
  • Cater the types of drinks you serve to your target market. For a young customer, sweet frappuccinos, hot chocolates, and drinks topped with whipped cream can be popular. For health-conscious consumers, options like teas and “light” coffees may perform better.
  • If your customers will be hungry, such as students on a lunch break, or employees on their way to work, then consider including food items like pastries.

Marketing and Publicity

An effective marketing strategy is essential for bringing new customers in your coffee shop’s door and retaining your loyal guests. In this section, you’ll describe how you want to drive incoming traffic, in addition to what budget you have in mind, and your expected return on investment. If you have a lot of detailed information, you may want to create a separate marketing plan document.

To cover all your bases, you can include the Four Ps of Marketing:

  • Product: Write what beverage and food products you will offer. For example, will you offer non-coffee drinks, frappuccinos, espresso, or cold brews?
  • Price: What is your average price point and how does it compare to competitive coffee shops
  • Place: The location of your coffee shop and how it will impact your success. For example, will you operate kiosks, and if so, where will they be placed to get the most foot traffic?
  • Promos: How will you drive customers to your location(s)? Examples include live music, giving free samples, advertising, or partnering with influencers or other organizations.
Smiling barista standing in front of a modern coffee bar.
Get Your Free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Create a custom business plan for your coffee shop concept with this free template.

Get the Template

Operations Plan

Business plan operations include the physical requirements of your business, like retail space, specialized equipment, supplies, and labor. When describing your operational expenses, also consider showing where your coffee shop is trying to save money. For example, if you are buying used furniture or equipment, let your reader or potential investor know how you are cutting losses. 

Here are a few areas you can include in this section:

Retail space
  • Space you plan to lease, buy, or rent 
  • Parking spaces for a truck or for customers to access your coffee shop
Specialized equipment
  • Coffee machines like a coffee grinder, a brewing machine, or a hot water dispenser
  • Specific arrangements like a sandwich prep table, counterspace, or a display case
  • Technology such as a coffee shop POS to process transactions and track inventory
Supplies
  • Your supplier for your coffee beans and other food and drink products
  • Menu items you will buy vs. make in your coffee shop, such as croissants or cookies
  • The frequency at which you need to restock your coffee shop inventory
Labor
  • Staff such as a Barista to brew coffee
  • Staff to do food preparation, menu creation, and cleaning
  • A manager to oversee payroll and human resources

Financial Forecast and Expenses

This is an important section, especially if you need to attract investors to your coffee shop. Since coffee shops are often smaller retail storefronts, often with a lower profit margin, this section needs to emphasize how your business will grow and be profitable in the long-term. 

Your financial forecast and expense section should include the following:

  • Cash flow statement with monthly projections for all your coffee shop purchases
  • Balance sheet to give investors a snapshot of your assets, liabilities and equity
  • Break even analysis to demonstrate the sales you need in order to make a profit

To get ideas of details to include, you can also use a coffee shop business plan template.

Whether you own a coffee shop, or are just starting out, writing a coffee shop business plan is essential to your success. In such a highly competitive coffee market, you need a business plan to show potential investors what makes your retail store stand out. 

If you’re looking for a coffee shop business plan example, a template is a great place to start. By using a coffee business plan template, you can improve your chances of securing funding or attracting new business partners. Using a business plan structure will also keep you organized and show readers how your coffee shop can be successful.

Smiling barista standing in front of a modern coffee bar.
Get Your Free Coffee Shop Business Plan Template

Create a custom business plan for your coffee shop concept with this free template.

Get the Template
Debra Weinryb author photo
by Debra Weinryb

Debra is the Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro, where she writes about the latest food and restaurant industry trends. In her spare time, Debra enjoys baking and eating together with family and friends. Her favorite creations include chocolate cake with Italian meringue buttercream, mile-high lemon meringue pie, and fresh naan with tahini sauce.

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