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The Ultimate Guide to Building a Coffee Business in the Philippines

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

A barista prepares a latte behind the espresso bar in a coffee shop

If you’re looking to start a coffee business in the Philippines, it’s not enough to count on the trend of a thriving industry. It pays to seek business consultants for your cafe or at the very least read up on guides that will detail what is needed to succesfully build your own.

Which brings us to Bean & Barley’s ultimate guide to building a successful coffee business in the Philippines. This article will break down everything you need to know about starting a coffee business that’s built to succeed, from planning to execution.

Planning your coffee business

As with any other business, planning is crucial if you want your coffee business to succeed. One of the most lethal mistakes entrepreneurs make is underestimating the coffee industry. The consensus is that coffee isn’t all that hard to sell. Surely, anyone can do it. Wrong. The coffee industry is hyper-competitive. Just ask the 3 out of 10 coffee shops that fail in just two years after launch.

Though a positive mindset is a good start, a well informed business plan will help get things started on the right foot. As a start, you’ll need the following:

Concept: Are you building your coffee shop from scratch? Are you purchasing a franchise? What does your coffee brand believe in and what is it trying to say? Do you have a concept that will separate your brand from the rest?

Market Research: Working with your concept, how do the odds stack up? Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What is your edge over them? Does your business idea bring anything new to the table?

Location: Location is crucial for coffee shops. If you’re planning to build a shop anytime soon, you must have a short list of viable locations already on-hand. These locations must have good foot traffic and access.

Financing: How are you going to finance your coffee business? Are you taking it out of your pocket? Are you working with investors? Craft a finance plan or hire an accountant, or better yet, financial planner to help you out.

Business Plan: With everything else sorted out, it’s time to build a solid business plan. A business plan is essential wheather you’re pitching to investors or financing the business yourself. Your business plan is the document you will reference throughout the journey of building your coffee shop. It is your roadmap.

Necessary Paperwork: Permits, certifications, approvals, etc. Hang tight. This process will take anywhere from weeks to months to even years to complete. It will be grueling, for sure. But in doing this, you’re setting up your business for success, and the rest of the journey will become easier and faster.

Building your coffee shop

Successful coffee shops have a few things in common. One of those is a clear understanding that coffee is an experience. Sure, there are big-ticket coffee brands like Starbucks Coffee that effectively commoditize the beverage. But many businesses know that people shuffle into coffee shops to do something: chat with a friend, meet with a client, or catch up with work. Your actual coffee shop delivers half of that experience alongside the coffee itself.

With this in mind, you have a few factors to consider:

Location: Is your coffee shop accessible? A good rule of thumb is to build it on main roads or in malls where foot traffic is guaranteed.

Interior Design: The interior design will set the mood in your coffee shop. Following your concept, target market, and branding, this will help differentiate your brand in your customers’ minds. Regardless of if you’re going for a minimalist, rustic, or festive approach, it’s important to nail the interior design.

Ambiance: Coupled with a solid interior design, a good coffee shop ambiance will help your customers feel a connection with your cafe and make it their go-to place for work and social life.

Cafe Flow and Layout: The “flow” of your coffee shop will determine your barista’s productivity and efficiency behind the counter. It will also reinforce the overall feel of your shop to your customers.

Hiring Staff: A good coffee shop is staffed with enough servers, baristas, and other staff members to accommodate guests.

The coffee shop is a crucial half of the experience you’re trying to sell your customers. Spend ample time and effort in thinking about how you want your coffee shop to look, feel, and ultimately mean to your customers.

Developing your menu

Keeping a coherent food and coffee menu is essential for coffee shops. There are a few questions you can go through to figure out which items to include. To start, use the following:

Do I want to serve specialty coffee? Which beans are required to make specific coffee items? Which coffee-making equipment should I invest in?

These questions should give you some idea regarding the makeup of your menu. It’s also worth noting that you should always compute your capital per cup against equipment and other overhead costs. Finally, pair your coffee drinks with food items. It’s a great opportunity to upsell and a chance to make your customer’s time at your shop more delightful.

Marketing your coffee brand

The advent of digital marketing offers coffee businesses an opportunity to play in a leveled playing field with big-name coffee brands. Regardless of the size of your marketing spend, you can use the internet to drive hungry customers right through your door.

Here are some ideas to start:

Social media marketing: This is one of the most popular approaches among coffee brands mainly because it’s free. For coffee shops, Instagram is the obvious choice regarding which social media platform to use. It allows you to visually showcase your shop and your coffee drinks beautifully.

Free Wi-Fi email capture: A good way of collecting emails and getting real-life analytics is setting up an email capture with free wi-fi as your offer. There are available programs out there that allow you to ask for emails in exchange for free wi-fi access.

Facebook advertising: Facebook’s ad platform is an easy and effective way to advertise your coffee shop online. With granular targeting tools, you’re able to pinpoint exactly the kind of customers you’re looking to tap—including their interests, age bracket, gender, location, and more

Keeping customers happy

The bedrock of coffee shops, like any other business, is repeat business. When patrons return to your coffee shop frequently, you’re guaranteed to have a steady stream of customers. To do this, you’ll have to exert extra time and effort in building relationships with your customers.

Some ideas to get you started include:

Maintain beverage quality: This one should go without saying. The absolute best way to make (and keep) your customers happy is by making your coffee good great, and keeping it that way.

Host events: Hosting events relevant to your community can help keep your cafe at the top of customer’s mind. Invite independent talents, start workshops, or do viewing parties.

Good ol’ Human Interaction: Train your baristas to be friendly. Good conversations go a long way. When customers feel at home in your coffee shop, they will likely want to go back more often.

Start your coffee business today!

As we have covered in this article, building your own coffee business in the Philippines isn’t easy. But with the right tools, mindset, and guidance, there’s no doubt your dream coffee shop will come true and thrive.

If you want to build your coffee shop, we’re here to help. Book a free consultation with us HERE.

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