Some entrepreneurs begin their brainstorming about opening a coffee shop with what they think is a great idea for a location. They may have lived in an area and observed an unanswered demand for quality coffee. Or, they may have developed an affinity for a particular vacant storefront they envision as a thriving coffee business. However, for many people looking to open a coffeehouse, thoughts about location may not come up until far along in the discussions — well after determining which beans to use, how to brew the coffee, what the offerings will be, and other concerns.
Either way, there is more to determining the right location for your coffeehouse than just having a good hunch.
CoffeeShopStartups.com suggests two valuable factors to consider when looking at locations: (1) the lease terms and (2) traffic (both vehicle and foot) at the location. You’ll also want to consider who your customer will be as well as available parking (less is needed if your shop will primarily be a drive-thru). A lot of traffic may not amount to much if they aren’t interested in your product or service.
The type of coffee business (sit-down, drive-thru, coffee stand, coffee truck, etc.) and other factors will figure into rent and overhead costs, which is a separate but intertwined issue. In this article, we will discuss types of locations, but when you get ready to factor in leases and other expenses as part of narrowing down locations, be sure to read this.
Part of determining who your customers are is considering what they are doing — such as what other activities and business errands they may be doing in the area near your location. Some activities may have them grabbing a quick cup of coffee on the go, while sometimes they might be using your coffeehouse as a place to not just sip a cup, but hang out a while to kill time between errands. In other words, the best spots are on the way to other destinations or near those destinations.
With these considerations, here are a “lucky seven” ideas for good coffee shop locations, but, actually, luck should have nothing to do with it; it’s all about planning and being smart.
Let’s start with a no-brainer. Coffee and free WiFi are a magnet for college students, who may constitute the majority of your clientele in the evening or at night. Other customers, who aren’t studying, might be finished with coffee consumption for the day. Students love to get out of the dorm or roommate-filled apartment and set up camp in a coffeehouse to work on projects or study, and the longer they’re there, the more they spend.
You’ll also get business from faculty and staff who want to have an off-campus small meeting with colleagues. But, according to Statista, only 48 percent of the 18 to 24 age group drink coffee. That’s compared to 63 percent of the 25 to 39 set, 66 percent of those 40 and older, and 72 percent of those and 60 and older. So, don’t forget to position yourself near the latter groups if you can.
If you are a nearby go-to and stay top-of-mind for employees of companies with lots of people, your business will have an amazing block of ongoing revenue. Office break room coffee can only go so far before workers crave a truly satisfying cup of coffee and come to you — whether on the way to work or during a break in the day. They may also step away from the office for small meetings over coffee. And if you offer quick breakfast-type foods, you’ll score even more revenue from hurried workers.
By and large, people who live in apartment buildings gravitate toward convenience, such as the convenience of not having a lawn to maintain. Apartment living is a neat little package. As such, the ability to grab a good cup of coffee very close by is a big attraction for tenants, on their way in or out. The more apartment complexes in a cluster the better.
Think about those times you’ve taken your own car for service that would only take an hour or two. Maybe you had a ride to take you somewhere in the interim, but if not, wouldn’t it be great to step to a nearby coffeehouse with your laptop and get some work done, or just chill? The same applies to other types of repair shops, such as places that repair computers or cell phones and turn around a minor repair in a short time. For some customers, it’s easier to sit and wait at your coffee shop than to coordinate rides to and from an auto shop, or to drive back and forth for repairs that only take a couple of hours.
People drink coffee for many different reasons. Some drink it for the practical pick-me-up of the caffeine, while others view it as a reward or comfort beverage. People going to a fitness center may want a jolt of caffeine before a workout, or they may want a soothing, sippable latte afterward. Be there for them. If they can drive through, that’s even better for those who would rather not be seen in their sweaty state.
Books and coffee seem to go hand-in-hand. While some bookstores may have their own coffee kiosk, you assume you’re offering a better product — and do it nearby. Library goers will also want to stop in for a hot cup.
Your first instinct may be that your coffee shop needs to be right in the thick of downtown or very busy commercial centers. But consider all the businesses, including coffeehouses, who already had that idea. Turn your mind toward growing areas of the community with new or progressing development, where residents have little or no access to quality coffee service. This isn’t really a different approach than discussed above; you still need to study traffic and who your consumer would be. It’s just that you may identify different consumers or catch them at a different phase of their day.
Suggestion: Talk to the developer of a shopping center or other commercial development in a burgeoning area. Point out that your coffeehouse would stand to become a community hub for that suburb or area, attracting people to the shopping center, leading them to shop at other businesses there. Persuade the developer/landlord for a favorable rent rate for your coffeehouse, based on the fact that it will anchor the development and bring life and traffic to it.
Ultimately, whatever location you decide on must have traffic, but not just anyone. They must be coffee-loving consumers. Getting deep research on this can be overwhelming and hard to achieve with accuracy. If you opt to open a franchise location of a strong coffeehouse brand, the franchisor company usually will do all that hard work for you — and get it right. Scooter’s Coffee, for example, knows how to find just the right spots to capture coffee consumers on their morning commutes, and the company knows who those consumers are and what they want. It seems so simple, but finding the right location for a coffeehouse to become a regular stop for people passing by is truly a science.
Scooter’s Coffee, LLC, the Midwest-based drive-thru coffee franchise that is experiencing booming growth, recently ranked in Entrepreneur magazine’s 2019 Fastest-Growing Franchises. This highly sought-after honor recognizes the 150 fastest-growing brands, based on the number of new franchise units added in the United States and Canada from July 2017 to July 2018. Scooter’s Coffee opened an impressive 22 new units during that time period. In fact, Scooter’s Coffee was named a fastest-growing franchise in 2018 as well, signaling an exciting trend for the brand.
Specific benefits of owning a Scooter’s Coffee franchise include location selection assistance, wholesale product pricing, a recession-resistant industry, ease of operation, construction assistance, a team of marketing professionals, and world-class operational support.
Scooter’s Coffee has been serving up delicious coffee, tasty treats, and genuine smiles since 1998. Visit OwnAScooters.com today to learn more about joining the Scooter’s team and making your dreams a reality.