Most people go into the coffee shop business because they have a peripheral interest in coffee and a major interest in making money. Really, this is backwards. You should go into the coffee shop business if you’re passionate about coffee. The profits will follow from your passion. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to have a good business sense. You do.
Having a Good Mix Of Products
Part of running a successful coffee shop is having a good mix of products. That doesn’t mean you have to cater to everyone and anyone, but you should have a reasonable number of product to go with your coffee. Some examples include muffins, cakes, cookies, and even sandwiches or salads. Experiment with the food offerings and see what people tend to prefer in your shop.
Having An Appropriate Inventory Level
Choose one or two really great coffee bean roasters and buy consistently from them. Try to get your coffee stock in within a week of roasting. Sound challenging? It is. Impossible? Not at all. If you’re ordering directly from the roaster, you can usually get beans that are freshly roasted – sometimes from the previous day. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.
Inventory levels should be checked frequently – at least once a week. This will ensure you never run out of hot items and it will also prevent you from over-ordering on items with a slow turnover.
Having a Good POS System
A system like the Bepoz coffee shop pos software will help you keep track of inventory levels too. By logging sales data, the system can help you spot sales tends, which products tend to move and which ones need more promotion, and when it’s time to reorder.
POS systems also simplify the order process, especially if you need to send orders to the back of the “house” to get made. This is mostly beneficial when you serve prepared foods, but it can also be helpful if you do a lot of manual pour over coffee orders.
Finally, POS orders can help you better track revenue and profits by organizing your sales data. Most good POS systems incorporate integration features with your default budgeting or accounting software. Make sure your POS is designed specifically for coffee shops (not all of them are). Yours should be able to trigger auto reorders when stock reaches a certain level.
Avoiding Inventory Theft
Aside from managing and maintaining your stock of coffee and other goods, you need to keep an eye on theft. Sometimes, the risk isn’t always external. Audit your sales data at least every other week for inconsistencies between the existing stock, delivery invoices, and sales data. If there’s a discrepancy, you know that someone is stealing from you.
You can assign the audit to a trusted employee, but it might be best to just do this yourself. You hate to think that an employee would steal from you, but it happens. Employees have been known to go so far as to manipulate sales data to hide their dishonesty.
Chris Allen is a business systems analyst with coffee in his veins. His articles can mainly be found on small business blogs.