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Coffee Shop Major Expenses


With global coffee consumption growing at rapidly, many searching for a viable low-risk investment options are hedging their bets with an independent coffee shop. However, in a market that grows more saturated everyday, it’s important to make an informed and strategic plan to build a successful coffee shop. In the first of a multi-part series BaristaForums would love to assist you in making an informed decision by analyzing the major costs of opening an independent coffee shop.

Rent and Renovation

One of the essentials of starting any business is having a firm grasp of your expected recurring expenses. Rent will remain a constant recurring expense for as long as you own your business and renovation is a necessary expense to provide your customers with a personal unique experience. When it comes to rent, that no matter where you choose as your location that you ensure the rent is lower than 15% of expected sales. If you project $20,000 in monthly sales then your rent shouldn’t exceed $3,000 monthly or $36,000 yearly.

Additionally, if the space needs a great a deal of renovation (which it will). You’re going need to hire contractors for construction, flooring, electrical and plumbing. You can paint your walls yourself, but décor is too important to the success of the coffee shop and a professional painting is recommend. Check AngiesList or Yelp to ensure you’re getting the best service for the best price.

Approx. Cost: $75,000 – $100,000


Equipment purchases make up the remainder of major expenses. An espresso machine, milk cooler, refrigerator, grinders, and blenders are just a few of the things you’re going to need. Luckily, coffee shop specific items like espresso machines and milk coolers have gradually decreased in priced due to the rise in demand.

In terms of espresso machines, you can’t go wrong with a Gaggia. They are the industry standard and easily apparent reasons, they’re sturdy,beautifully crafted, long-lasting machines manufactured in Italy. The price range from of Gaggia espresso machines start at $400.

Due to the growing acclaim of new coffee brewing methods, diversifying your equipment is an excellent way to increase your earning potential. Siphon Brewers are trending  and the Hario 5-Cup Next Coffee Syphon provides a quality cup of coffee and delivers a great visual for your customers.

When it comes to blenders, Vitamix is supreme. They produce machines built for heavy-duty use without fear of it shorting out.

For things like dishwashers, and refrigerators, they’re a number of brands that create great appliances research and  utilize a consistent aesthetic.

The one place you can cut corners is by buying a SquareUp POS subscription and a couple of Ipads, instead of purchasing a pricey keyboard or touchscreen POS system.

Approx. Cost: $15,000-$30,000

Total Major Expenses:$90,000 – $130,000

Come join us at CoffeeCon 2014:

CoffeeCon The Consumer Coffee Festival is happening on Saturday, November 8th from 9:00 am to 4 pm at Mack Sennett Studios in L.A’s Silver Lake neighborhood. Taste the world’s different coffees, locally roasted every conceivable way, brewed using many different methods by 20+ specialty roasters. Meet other coffee enthusiasts in the world’s largest coffee meet-up. Hear expert presenters share secrets to expand your taste buds and coffee consciousness. Attend classes and hands-on labs to empower and expand your own coffee brewing at home. Food, live music and prize giveaways, where top brewers, beans and accessories are awarded onsite. Special basement tour of Mack Sennett Studios as seen on American Horror Story.


I arrived at Dunkin Donuts around 1:00pm and was surprised by the short length of the line, considering that only a couple of weeks ago the opening-day line had been out the door and down the block. My delight at the brevity of the line was immediately replaced with ire, as the pacing of the service seemed to be extremely slow. It took at least 30 minutes for me to reach the front of a line that only had about 8 people in it. The behind-the-counter arrangement of the donuts and the coffee seem to be the primary source of inefficiency. As I got closer to the front of the line I became aware certain items on the menu were still not available two weeks after opening, including the Iced Green Tea, which I had planned to order. I ordered an Iced Latte, strawberry-iced donut, and a vanilla-iced donut. The preparation of the coffee was timely and the general preparation time for food also seemed to be generally swift.

I found a seat off to the side and took a second to study the interior décor. The ceilings were exposed, which is something I have to come to primarily associate with Chipotle restaurants. The interior was split into an indoor and outdoor section with the outdoor seating being curiously more spacious and seemingly more plentiful. I found this a very odd architectural choice considering the desert climate that has become the norm in the Greater Los Angeles area.

So the food… My latte was a latte, not bad, but not especially good. The donuts were decent, the icing was delicious, but the donut having been prepared some while ago had become spongy. My friend, Nick tried the Dunkincino, which was hot chocolate and coffee mixed together, he enjoyed it. I initially was underwhelmed by the Dunkin Donuts experience, I became aware that their sandwiches are one of their primary selling points. So I’ll have to hold off my final verdict until I try their sandwiches. However, I can say if you’re looking for great coffee stick to Starbucks or Coffee Bean.