Successful Coffee Shop Habits: 10 Ideas to Implement Today

Scooter's Iced Coffee

The day-to-day habits of a coffee shop make a huge difference in profitability. Here are 10 ideas you can implement right away to boost sales and draw customers.

Local coffee shops are integral pieces of any community. Still, like most small businesses, they run the risk of failure if not strategically guided on the path towards success.

From tough profit margins to competition with national brands, a successful coffee shop has plenty of challenges to overcome. But with creativity, attention to detail, and plain-old hard work, it is certainly possible to clear those hurdles.

Let’s dive into some key strategies and habits that coffee shop owners can put to work in their quest to attract business from all corners of the local community.

Building Better Profit Margins

The relationship between revenue and costs should always be scrutinized carefully. Here are some ways to maximize profit margins.

Monitoring the Menu

Pricing is one of the more difficult aspects of running a business. But it is essential to create a menu that is competitively priced while also turning a profit. Incremental increases may be necessary at times. Keep a close eye on the books to see which items are selling, and what opportunities there may be for a better profit margin. Consider seasonal or holiday specials!

Reduce Waste

Part of protecting your profit margin comes from reducing the cost of making your coffee or baked goods. Though these costs are essential, there is often a risk of wasting a small but significant portion of your ingredients. Be sure to closely track your ingredients, including factors such as the duration of freshness or the cost of delivery. Reducing any waste can go a long way towards streamlining your operation and boosting profit margins.

Improve Your Training Process

One way to reduce waste is to better train your employees who make the coffee and food. It is possible that poorly trained employees could cost you in the long run. Over time, orders that are made incorrectly — whether simply using too much of a certain ingredient or as serious as having to re-make something, are wasted money. It is better to pay a little more time and attention to this aspect of the business than to suffer the costs down the road.

Avoid Overstaffing

Labor costs are some of the largest in the entire business model. While the notion of “don’t pay for labor you don’t need” may sound simple, it requires detailed preparation. Running a successful coffee shop depends on meeting staffing needs when called for and drawing back during slow hours. Make a habit of tracking your busiest times to ensure the labor you pay for results in a better experience for your customers and streamlined costs behind the scenes.


Growing your customer base doesn’t necessarily mean drowning in advertising costs. Marketing a coffee shop can be low-cost but effective if done right.

Update Your Web Presence

There are plenty of coffee options from which your customer base is choosing. When they come across your shop online, they should be informed and intrigued. Regularly updating your personal website and monitoring platforms like Yelp and Google My Business could lead interested customers to make the trip.

Social Media Presence

An obvious but necessary beast to feed. Maintaining a social media presence lets customers get to know your shop’s personality. The more familiar and comfortable customers get with your business, the more loyal they become. This also opens the possibility of more word-of-mouth marketing. Social media is inexpensive but deserves consistent attention to maximize its benefit.

Networking and Hosting

Always stay cognizant of opportunities to network with other businesses. This could result in invitations to community business events or even result in your coffee shop hosting events itself. Networking builds community, and when providing a space for meetings or events, can meet a demand beyond coffee.

Details Matter

The most successful coffee shop owners will find ways to improve their business in even the smallest details.

Store Design

Though most aspects of the coffee shop seem standard — the counter, the tables, the chairs — where these are placed can make a difference depending on the business. Successful coffee shop owners are aware of the flow of traffic. Do tables block the counter’s line at busy times? In the era of social distancing, is it possible in your space? Finding the right design and flow of your coffee shop could lead to better customer experiences and more business.

Product Placement

Like the store’s set-up, retail items — like mugs, coffee beans, or shirts — should also be strategically located. These items could boost both profits and marketing efforts if purchased, so it is essential to ensure they are placed where customers see them.

Stick to Your Plan

The biggest key to success is having a business plan. Whether jumping into a new venture or deciding how to pivot your existing business for better results, careful research and planning can make all the difference. Sticking to a plan does not mean adhering to one set of ideas forever, but rather committing to consistent evaluation of what is working and what is not. Try to be objective in your judgments.

Committing to detailed planning can minimize risks and maximize opportunities. Forming strong habits like those listed above can set your coffee shop on the path to success, building on those opportunities for the long run.