As a commodity, coffee is extremely valuable. Globally, it is second to only petroleum with roughly 25% of the world participating in its production. As the United States’ number one imported commodity, coffee plays an integral role in the overall US economy. With just under three billion pounds of coffee being purchased from countries like Brazil and Colombia then distributed to US consumers, the demand for coffee is clear.
Specialty coffee chains and coffee franchises represent the primary manner in which US consumers enjoy the retail coffee experience. According to a recent Specialty Coffee Association survey, one in every three adults you know drank a specialty coffee yesterday. But, with an estimated 13,000+ coffee cafes and specialty stores selling coffee, market entrants must distinguish themselves as specialty roasters, unique retailers, and superior customer experiences. Chains represent 51% of all coffee retail stores but a majority of successful coffee houses remain independently owned.

Your Coffee Franchise Must be Different

The US Specialty coffee market is cluttered with competition. Owning an operating a successful coffee franchise is about integrity and drive. While perfecting a cup of coffee is one element, attracting customers and remaining profitable over the long-term requires a dynamic concept. Most coffee houses look and feel the same. In order to launch and run a successful coffee franchise, you must provide customers with a better experience than the mega roaster down the street selling $4 cups out of a push-button machine. Consider some ways to differentiate your coffee franchise:

  • Top shelf coffee products – in this cutthroat market, only the best ingredients, roasting processes, and coffee brewing methods will do.
  • Sophistication – cater to a specific audience, set of tastes, and culture.

How to Open a Coffee Franchise the Right Way

Making your caffeinated dreams come true is easier than you might think, but surrounding yourself with trusted, capable advisors should be a priority. A lot goes into owning and operating a successful coffee franchise before you pour that first cup. A knowledgeable attorney, local small business incubator, and trusted banker can put you on the path to coffee franchise success. Consider some of these business planning elements that require further advice:

  • Feasibility Studies – Build out your concept through research, focus groups, and local market analysis. Dream big, but dream affordable. Biting off more than you can chew early on may derail your operation later.
  • Location, Location, LOCATION! Once local advisors confirm your proof of concept, put together a short list of possible (yet affordable) coffee franchise locations. Don’t keep your location ideas a secret, often outside feedback from friends and relatives can save you from making big mistakes.
  • Business Plans – Ready to head to the bank and get that small business loan? You best have your bullet proof business plan readily available.

If starting up a specialty coffee franchise on your own seems far too daunting, don’t go it alone – evaluate established franchises. Meeting with a proven, established coffee franchisor could be the exact mentoring you currently lack.


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