How to Choose the Right Equipment for Your New Coffee Shop

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The process of setting up a new coffee shop is often filled with excitement, but it can also be costly, especially when you’re starting from scratch. While there are some things you’ll be able to buy cheap, others will be reasonably costly no matter where you go, and it’s essential to think of your critical purchases as long-term investments in the success of your business venture. With that in mind, here are the key pieces you’ll need to consider when starting up a new cafe.

The Basics

Even the best barista needs quality equipment to produce top-quality coffee, so don’t skimp on things like milk jugs, tamps, grinders, thermometers, and a handy stow for used coffee grinds. Most of this equipment is available from any good barista training institute and a range of online stores, and you should always buy new when you can, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend big. Don’t be fooled by manufacturers’ claims about the latest and greatest new machine, because as long as the equipment in your shop is still producing fine grinds and tamping down a nice tight shot, there’s no need to dip into your budget for expensive replacements.

The Right Machine

As coffee is at the heart of your business plan, choosing a quality machine will become one of the most important investments made in the early stages of your business. It’s also one piece which you’ll want to purchase new, and it’s worth getting as much advice as you can on the different models available. Experienced owners are a great port of call, and there’s no harm in asking for opinions, but if that isn’t an option, looking up online reviews about each different brand or model of the machine should alert you to any stock issues.

Fridges

Your fridge is likely to be one of the most costly items on your shopping list, and it’s also one of the most particular. Choosing the right model will be paramount to the efficiency of your staff and output. The milk fridge will need to be within arm’s reach of your barista at all times during busy service periods, which makes a small, under-the-counter fridge one of your best options. If your store sells chilled food items as well, you may need to find room in the budget for two different models. Of course, you could save a considerable chunk of money by buying secondhand, which a perfectly viable option, but you should be wary of the risks associated with unplugging and transporting a used fridge. If you’re concerned at all, consider investing in a good quality model with an extensive warranty to curb unpleasant surprises in the future.

Storage

A lot is going on in the average cafe, and the importance of an effective storage system can’t be understated. The only way to achieve a real sense of organization amongst the chaos of the morning rush is to make sure everyone knows where things should be and returns everything to its rightful place – not just at the end of the shift, but also throughout. To create a system that works effectively, you’ll need a few different storage options, starting with a few containers for coffee beans and grinds. Add a few boxes for loose items like cup lids or straws, and before you know it, you’ll be installing shelves on the walls to hold all of the essentials.

Furniture

Unless your coffee shop is a hole-in-the-wall takeaway joint, creating the right ambiance inside will be critical to attracting and keeping happy customers. You want your customers to think of your store as a home away from home, and to associate it with feelings of relaxation and happiness, but your decor choices could potentially sabotage your efforts. Unless you stock up on a handful of comfortable chairs and spacious tables, there will be very little chance of customers opting to stick around and enjoy a dine-in coffee or even a light meal (should your establishment allow for it).

Payment options

When you’re selling something as simple as coffee, nothing is more important than convenience for the customer, and the payment process can make a lasting impression. In the age of tap-and-go, EFTPOS (card-based facility) is a must, and all the better if you can install contactless payment. Many customers have grown used to smooth transitions from the beginning of the in-store experience to the end, and matching or even out-performing your competitors in these small ways will be a great help in earning you some regular customers.

Even after the hard grind of building, adjusting, and creating an atmosphere is done, the only way to make your business truly stand out is by getting the right people behind the counter. We’ve mentioned some of the standard equipment needed to get your operation off the ground, but in the end, your most worthwhile investment will be in the right people who will be skilled and motivated to make the best coffee possible. Once you have the right team in place, you can then turn your attention to providing your future customers with an experience worth coming back for.

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