Over the years, we’ve helped many customers open their first coffee shop. Often, these customers come to us when the small but significant decisions about their new venture are piling up. While choosing the right coffee and designing a profitable menu are inarguably key factors in the success of a new cafe, the shop’s layout (everything from where the espresso machine resides to how easily a customer can find half-and-half) is equally vital. A well-executed layout will ensure a positive customer experience, while providing ease and economy of movement for the barista. Here are just a few things we’ve learned along the way:
- The espresso machine should be the star of the show, since it produces your most profitable drink. Place it prominently where the customer will naturally walk right up to it. It should be on the front counter so that the barista may engage the customer face-to-face.
- Placing the under-counter refrigerator beneath the espresso machine, but slightly to the right, seems to work best. This way, the barista will have the ability to fetch milk and other cold items without stepping back or breaking gaze with the customer. This placement also allows for a more positive fall angle for the espresso machine’s drain hose.
- The menu should hang on the back wall but near to the espresso machine (sensing a pattern?).
- Your back counter should be your cold bar and have room for an ice machine, blender, sauces, and sink. The back counter is also the perfect place for the coffee grinder, brewer, and airpots. Keeping these items further from the customer encourages them to turn their attention back to (you guessed it) espresso beverages.
- The condiment table with trash bin should be positioned some distance from the counter to promote traffic flow away from the line.
- Generally, your set-up should flow like this: pastry case→at least two feet of counter space for cash register and customer interaction→cups→the almighty espresso machine→espresso grinder→syrups→area to hand off beverage to the customer.
That’s just a little bit of the advice we offer new cafe owners. If you’re thinking of opening a coffee shop, let’s talk! Beyond our layout expertise, we just happen to offer the best beans in the business. We’re also really keen on helping new business owners make their reveries a reality.