Tips For Managing A Coffee Shop

Starting your own coffee shop? Congratulations! It’s not always easy to run a coffee shop effectively, but it can be very profitable if you make a plan and use the right tools. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to consider when running your coffee shop. We’ll assume that you’ve already sorted through the basics, such as the location for your shop and your unique value proposition. So, instead, we’ll focus primarily on coffee shop management to ensure the long-term financial health of your business.

Let’s get started.

Decide What Type of Service You’ll Offer

When running your own coffee shop, you have two service options: Counter or table. Each has its own set of pros and cons and will impact how you manage your shop.

Counter service is definitely the easier of the two. Instead of going to the customer, the customer comes to you. They come to the counter, place their order, and then return to the counter once their order is ready. This setup allows you to serve more customers with a limited staff. The queue tends to move faster, so you’re able to take more orders in a shorter amount of time.

The drawback to counter service is that you may end up with a lot of customers waiting for their orders around the counter. This can crowd the space and create a more unpleasant experience for your customer.

 The next option is table service. While a lot of coffee shops don’t offer table service, there are benefits to doing so. Table service gives you an opportunity to upsell the customer on more options, such as a dessert or sandwich item. With table service, you can offer more personalized service. Your customers will remember you more, too.

The drawback of table service is that it’s slower for your customers. You must also provide more labor (which means more labor costs).

Which type of service you choose will depend on a lot of factors, including your human resources and what type of experience you’d like for customers.

Of course, managing counter service is different from managing table service. With counter service, your goal is to move the line as quickly and correctly as possible. With table service, your goal is to create an entire experience for your customers while also increasing revenue.

Set Business Goals for Your Coffee Shop

Aside from generating a sustainable income, what are the immediate goals you have for your coffee shop? Would you like to improve customer satisfaction? Expand your drink menu? Update your decor? Regularly setting attainable goals for your coffee shop can ensure that you’re always improving your business and moving forward in the right direction.

Every coffee shop needs both long-term and short-term goals.

Long-term goals are objectives you’d like to accomplish within the next five years. These goals definitely include the financials of your coffee shop, such as monthly and yearly sales. But it can also include ideas for improving your existing top-selling items.

Short-term goals may be accomplished in a shorter time range, such as the next month up to the next 12 months. These goals may include running marketing campaigns to increase visibility or creating an online menu with better descriptions.

Value Your Employees

The foodservice industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates. And that number is actually growing. According to this report, the percentage of people who quit grew from 4.8% to 6.9% in 2021. This number is greater than quit rates in any other industry studied.

How do you show your employees that you value them? Here are a few ways:

  • Train well when you hire them
  • Set clear expectations
  • Create an employee recognition program
  • Ask for feedback
  • Give them plenty of breaks
  • Reward them for their efforts

Invest in the satisfaction of your employees because they hold the key to your coffee shop’s success. Happy employees lead to happy customers. Use the above tips to reduce your turnover rate and boost your customer service.

Keep an Eye on Your Inventory

One of the most important responsibilities you have is to keep track of your inventory. Even if you’re able to increase sales and keep your staff from leaving, that won’t be enough to keep your coffee shop afloat unless you also know what’s coming in and going out. At the very least, you need to know the following:

  • What items you have in stock in real-time
  • What items are low in stock
  • What items you order the most
  • What items are in danger of expiring soonest
  • What items need to be used first

Overall, by managing your inventory, you’ll be able to reduce waste, increase profits, and better control your stock.

A great way to manage your inventory is by using automated restaurant inventory management software. This software can help you track your ingredients and forecast the needs of your kitchen. An inventory management system can also track waste, recommend wastage items so that you can optimize your recipes, and display inventory trends for greater analysis.

Learn more about restaurant inventory management software here.

Train Wisely

As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to raise your coffee shop’s customer service is to invest in employee training. Happy employees will provide better experiences for your customers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring a person who’s new to the foodservice industry or someone who’s seasoned, you still need to train them for your particular coffee shop. You have a unique set of standards and operating procedures, as well as your own company culture. Your employee needs to understand what you expect from them. The best way to do that is by implementing a training program for all of the employees you hire in your coffee shop.

Create your own employee manual with sections tailored for each role. Then create a training program to accompany your manual. You can include how-to videos in your manual as well. When you hire employees in the future, take them through the training program (whether the program is for one day, two weeks, or longer). When a new employee graduates from a training program, they’ll feel more confident in their roles moving forward.

Invest in a Point of Sale (POS) System

To effectively manage your coffee shop, you need a restaurant point of sale (POS) system. This type of system does more than simply handle payments. You can manage your entire coffee shop through your POS system. This includes accepting orders in person and online, managing your inventory, and scheduling your team. Let’s take a look at how you can use a POS system to manage your coffee shop.

Accept Online Orders

If you use an all-in-one POS system, you will be able to process online orders directly through your system. This means you won’t need to rely on third-party services to take orders from your online customers. You’ll generate even more revenue from customers who would prefer to order ahead instead of calling in or waiting in line at the store. Taking online orders also reduces the human error that comes along with call-in orders. Plus, these orders can be routed directly to the barista to start the order, instead of waiting for the person who’s taking a call-in order to relay the information.

Show Digital Menu Boards

Instead of relying on static graphics, your POS system can also include a digital menu display. This visual display is immediately engaging for your customers, since it can include moving graphics and other eye-catching elements. Digital menu boards are also convenient for you to update whenever you want, even if that’s every week or multiple times a day.

Recognize Your Most Loyal Customers

If you want to increase your customer retention rate, you need to recognize and reward your customers for their loyalty. This is one way to keep them coming back. Fortunately, you can create and manage your entire customer loyalty program directly from your POS system.


In addition to increasing revisits, you can use your customer loyalty program to encourage your current customers to refer others to your coffee shop. This entire loyalty and referral program can be launched from your POS.


Offer Curbside or Contact Free Pickup

Even though we’re not at the height of the pandemic, many customers are still health-conscious and would prefer to avoid unnecessary contact. For this reason, you can offer your customers the option to go contactless. This can all be managed through your POS system, from online ordering to secure pickup. The contactless food pickup system is a safe and efficient solution for food and beverage orders. Your customers can access their order from a touchscreen locker system by scanning a QR code reader.


Learn how point of sale software to manage your coffee shop here.