This is a practical guide that will walk you step by step through all the essentials of starting your business.
If you work hard and take on more responsibility you can eventually make better money, but there is a glass ceiling which prevents the barista from really being able to consider their job as a viable long term career. Here the potential future splits into two paths.
One is to marry yourself to a large coffee company with a stable position. Hopefully one with health insurance and the potential for advancement.
The other option is much riskier, but is also the dream that almost all coffee people entertain at some point: You are your own boss.
If I could keep my costs low and stick to a very focused approach, then I could slowly grow into something bigger.
My focus is excellent black coffee, brewed by the cup. Waste is virtually nil, and the power and water requirements much easier to meet. After that first month, I found that I needed to master a new skill called patience. Patience coupled with persistence.
Some days were slow, very very slow.
However, each new customer who came through the door was an opportunity for me. An opportunity to give them a beautiful product, provide them with great service, and also to listen. I listened to ideas for better signage, I listened to how they heard about me, I listened to their body language and how they reacted to the space.
I acted on what I heard. As I was able, I made improvements. Better lighting, more color on the sidewalk sign, building a communal bar height table for people to sit at while they waited.
All of this has started to pay off. Harbinger has been open for over six months now, and has been profitable each month. Profitable might be too generous a term, but it has certainly been self-sustaining. There are big plans for the future of Harbinger Coffee in the works.
Until then though, I am able to build my customer base so that when I have much bigger bills to pay in the future, I will already have these lovely people coming through the door for a product they have come to expect. Going from barista to owner is starting to become somewhat of a trend across America.
I think this is a good thing, a great thing really. Jonathan Jarrow has enjoyed serving people coffee for nine years. When not behind the bar or in front of a roaster, you can find him climbing just about anything trees, buildings, rocks ; and enjoying anything that can be imbibed with friends.Starting a coffee shop business checklist.
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