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Making your mark on the coffee shop map

Tue 11th Jun 19

Coffee shops have been growing in popularity for many years. In fact, twenty years ago, the Allegra Coffee Leader Network (ACLN) reported that there were just 590 outlets in the UK. Today, Allegra’s research shows that there are 25,483 coffee shops in the UK, with a market value of £10.1b. Coffee shops are clearly big business.

With such a large number of coffee shops already on our high streets, it could look a little like the market is pretty saturated. But looking at year on year figures, growth is a continuing trend. Last year saw a 7.9% rise. So, if you’re entrepreneurial and would like to set up shop, the market may well be there! 

Getting started – your business plan

All good businesses start with thorough research and a comprehensive business plan, and coffee shops are no exception. Knowing where you’re going to position your shop, both geographically and in terms of your offering (your niche), is essential. You’ll need your business plan to be spot on if you’re looking to the bank for funding, so you’ll also want to look into financials. Ask yourself…

·      What’s your expected number of daily sales?

·      What’s the average sale value?

·      What’s the size of your customer base?

·      How many customers will represent repeat business?

·      How can you increase number of daily sales?

·      How can you increase average sale value?

You’ll then be able to calculate an estimated weekly/monthly/yearly gross revenue and model year on year projections.

Building your business

Before you go much further, you’ll also need to research all the legal requirements you’re obliged to comply with in order to open your coffee shop. What structure will your organisation take – will you be a sole proprietor, a limited company, or a partnership? You may then need to officially form and register your business with Companies House. This is relatively easy, but it may be useful to speak with an expert before you start, to ensure you’re setting up with the future in mind, as well.

As a coffee shop, you’re also required to comply with food safety and hygiene regulations – you can find out more from the Food Standards Agency. Your local authority may inspect your premises at any time, without notice, looking at your premises, food, records and procedures at any time.

Remember, you’re responsible for making sure your food is safe to eat, that you’re open and honest about what the food contains (find out more about taking cover to evert allergy risks here), keeping records of where your food has come from, and you’ll need to display your food hygiene rating, which your local authority inspectors will give for your business.

Making your marketing work for you

Marketing your new coffee shop will start before you open your doors for the first time. First, you’ll want to create your coffee shop’s name and visual identity.

It’s also important to work on your messaging – what makes your coffee shop different, why should people visit you, and why should they believe you? The work you’ve done on your business plan, especially in terms of your target audience, will pay dividends here.

Making connections in the community, visiting your commercial neighbours, is vital. They will, of course, likely be some of your customers, and they’ll also talk to their customers about your business.

Make sure to build a good website, with regular updates, and make use of social media marketing to spread your story, too. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are all great platforms for your coffee shop, and don’t forget to create an account with Google My business.

Your coffee shop business insurance

Of course, every business needs insurance, and for businesses in hospitality and catering, there are some covers you definitely won’t want to miss out.

As well as insuring your property, stock and contents, if you’re going to employ members of staff, you’ll need to have Employers’ Liability insurance. And, while not a legal requirement, Public and Products Liability insurance are also both recommended. Public Liability will ensure that, should a customer visiting your premises have an accident that you are responsible for, your business is covered. Products Liability will cover you if someone gets food poisoning as a result of eating or drinking something you have sold or given to them. These two covers can often come packaged together, but do check to make sure.

Insuring your coffee shop with Ryan’s

At Ryan’s, our Hospitality Division is on hand to help make sure you have the right levels of cover in place for your unique business. They will work together with you to understand you plans, now and into the future, to help ensure you’re covered when you need it. To find out more, call them on 01473 343330, visit or email