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What really makes a Coffee Shop Successful?


Are you a coffee shop owner? manager?

Is your coffee shop as successful as you want it to be?

What do you think it takes to make a coffee shop really successful?

1、First layer of Success

What comes to mind when you want to open a successful coffee shop ? 

If you asked most people they would say the 5 big factors are: Environment, Product, Service, Location, Brand.


And some people may mention the Customer Experience which includes all of these.  

They may even mention other things like Music, Lighting, Coffee Culture, people, cleanliness, price, speed. These also matter. 

2、Second layer of Success

I have opened more than 12 coffee shops myself and have helped customers open more than a 100. 

All these things mentioned above are requirements to be successful.

But what if I told you that all of those things are only surface level issues. 

Some companies do these consistently and excellently?  The reason some companies can do this is that they have a Management team in place that uses feedback loops for constant improvement, Systems for consistency Processes and KPIs to measure.  All these things together make sure they consistently deliver excellence. 

If you don’t have a good management team to implement processes, systems and KPIs then you will either not consistently deliver what your customers want or you will get burned out trying.

Some coffee shop owners try to do everything themselves, and they might make it work if they only own one shop, but doing it with a second shop is not sustainable.  

But more than this, there is an underlying, fundamental reason for success that allows a great management to lead you to real success- the third layer.


3、The heart of a successful company

The fundamental reason and foundation for success that the great management team is built upon is the VMV STP.  

So what is VMVSTP?


What you want the company to be in 5 years.  This can be in terms of size, impact, brand, sales or profit.  It tells you where you want to go.


Why your company exists.  This should be motivational.  Your employees should get inspiration from this.


This explains how you are going to behave as a company and as a team that is different than other companies.  This should never change.


is what are you going to do to be successful.  I like to think of these as strategic anchors or a recipe.  What is your recipe for success?  This will change over time as the market changes.


is how you implement your strategy on a day to day basis.


Every company is so busy that it will try to do many things but not get many of them done.  And usually it is the urgent things not the important things. Great companies set priorities to make sure the things they do get done are the right things that actually need to be done.

Management Methods

How will your company manage?  Great companies have a style to how they manage.

Torch Coffee has a strong company culture and clear VMV, we can use Torch as a example to make this easier to understand.

Torch Vision: The Top brand of specialty Coffee companies in Asia/Middle East based on brand perception. 

Torch Mission:

  1. INFLUENCE FARMERS TO HAVE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE Improve quality, connect them to the market

  2. Do our work with excellence, in a way that honors God. 


Torch Value-behavior : 

  1. We Champion Healthiness

  2. We value every Person 

  3. We develop people

  4. We get it done

  5. We do it excellently

  6. We communicate to understand

These things are the real power that motivates Torch to keep moving forward, to help more people be successful.

So, If you don’t have the core layer, you can not support the middle layer, which makes the surface layer just a layer.

These 7 things together make up your company culture.  Every company has a company culture.  For some companies the culture is unclear and may even change from day to day with the weather.  But for others, the culture is clear and set. 

After reading a brief introduction to "Three Layer Coffee Shop Management Theory," do you better understand what all it takes to make a coffee shop successful? 

So what should you manage in a coffee shop?  When you ask many people about what a coffee shop manager should manage you often get very vague answers.  Below is a list that we use to help coffee shop managers understand their job.  

  1. Communicate Vision, Mission, Values, Strategy, Tactics and Priorities

  2. Train your people to deliver what the customer wants

  3. Get the right People 

  4. Control Cost  ( your ingredients should be controlled within 25% of sales )

  5. Marketing

  6. Finance

  7. Products(quality control and product development )

  8. Set standards

  9. Train to those standards

  10. Inspect those standards

  11. Hold people accountable to hit the standards

  12. Purchasing

  13. Inventory

  14. Innovation 

  15. Communicate with customers

Clearly, management is not a simple endeavor. To have good results requires constant learning and new experiences. We hope this article can help you learn more about coffee shop management. 

SCI wants a sustainable coffee industry, from the farmers to the cafe owners, which is why it has developed this Cafe class to educate more coffee shop managers and owners to be sustainable.