Characteristics of a Successful Coffee Shop Owner

Characteristics of a Successful Coffee Shop Owner

Jul 6th 2021 Written by Ragan LaTour

Executing your vision of opening a coffee shop, whether it lies in the heart of an urban oasis, or sits pleasantly tucked away in a small town, becomes a trendy hangout spot, or a quiet nook where locals go to escape, requires an incredible balance of mental stamina, entrepreneurial spirit, and the right resources to be transformed from a dreamy vision into a successful, profit-driven business.

Beyond the tangible things such as funding, equipment, and location, there are several distinct characteristics that are evident in all successful business owners. We have developed a list of a few of those qualities and explanations as to why they are vital for the growth and success of your business or coffee shop in hopes of aiding you in your business ventures.

Quill's coffee bar

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An essential characteristic present in many successful entrepreneurs is the ability to adopt a goal-oriented mindset. Result-driven individuals have a clear vision of what they are trying to achieve, and develop a roadmap made up of short-term goals to achieve it. Long-term success is carefully taken into consideration every step of the way.

Through a set plan and strategy, successful entrepreneurs not only know what their next step is, but also have the means to measure and gauge their success based on what goals have been met, or if they have not been achieved, a way to determine where there needs to be improvement to reach the end-goal.

Some people are born thinking this way naturally, but others must condition themselves to think this way. In order to aid in adopting that mindset, begin by asking questions like,

“What would I like to see my coffee shop grow and progress into in the next one, five, ten years?”

“Do I hope to expand to more locations? Increase my customer base? Add new items to the menu?”

“What steps do I need to take to accomplish this and in what amount of time?”

Once a goal is made and intentions are set, owners laser-focus on the task at hand in order to succeed and experience the gratification of tackling their objective. Through this mindset and methodology, highly successful business owners keep expanding and growing due to their need to keep moving forward rather than drifting through day-to-day life.


Cash flow is the key to keeping a business afloat. To put it plainly, money matters. A great deal of money goes into getting a coffee shop up and running, but the need continues long after the grand opening.

Developing a solid business budget can mean sink-or-swim for a coffee shop. Keeping track of key information such as patterns of revenue, fixed costs, and budget-pushing extras like flashy equipment or décor that are "must-haves,” (Check out our round table with Sunergos Coffee to learn what equipment is worth spending a little extra on) can be more than just a way to manage your money.

Forbes delves deeper into this topic in their article 10 Budgeting Tips For Your Business by explaining a budget doesn’t have to be seen as a negative, but rather “simply a guide to assist you in making better spending decisions, and it can be an eye-opening tool to identify areas for improvement.”

Once a budget is established, this information can help develop future goals, gauge the financial success of the business and pave the way for future goals that will grow a cafe.

Educated in the Craft

In a fascinating survey conducted by Hand Ground and Barista Magazine, it was concluded amongst coffee shop patrons, above all else, “quality coffee” was the most important factor in the success of a coffee shop. does one ensure they’re serving quality coffee?

Owners educated in coffee likely have knowledge in where to get quality beans, the technique that goes into pulling the perfect shot of espresso, and what the newest trends in the world of coffee are right now. They know what consumers want.

Two men making espresso on the Astoria Tempesta

But what if that's not the case?

There are tons of resources available, including a list of some of our favorites, if you’re interested in learning more on the art of brewing and fascinating world of coffee, or if you prefer a more hands on approach when it comes to opening a cafe, booking a call with our Commercial Services department is a great option too.

Remaining Humble

Success is exciting! Taking credit for all of your hard work is a good thing, worth applauding really, but maintaining humility is greatly important to the health of a business. It’s true, there are plenty of extremely successful people who appear to be lacking a single humble bone in their body, but the company culture and happiness of employees is often affected by that. Success is seldom achieved by one person, it’s usually a team effort.

Truly successful people — those who are successful in not only the sense of profit, but in culture — are aware of their strengths, but in tune with their weaknesses as well. Through this ability, they are able to continually improve and grow themselves and their business.

Humble leaders tend to be more attentive to the people around them. By acknowledging an employee’s feelings about the company, or suggestions on where improvement can be made, ultimately makes for a happier work environment. A study conducted by the Social Market Foundation found that happy employees are 20% more productive, and productive employees tend to equal a more profitable and successful business.


An unquestionable truth in business, whether it be a small town coffee shop or a business-mogul empire, nothing ever goes exactly as planned. The ability to be flexible and pivot at a given moment can play a huge role in a business’s success.

Did anyone anticipate a global pandemic coming along and changing how everyone lived their day-to-day lives? No, but the businesses that were able to pivot quickly and accommodate to the new requirements and expectations fared better than those who did not. In uncertain circumstances, resilience becomes second nature.

The same goes for the ever-changing trends. Staying on brand is important, but a business with the flexibility to adapt to new trends and encourage innovation often takes the company to new heights. The world of coffee is ever changing, new equipment and methods are developed and shared frequently, and an owner willing to mold and shape their business with the trends in the industry has a better chance at success.

Flexibility is also beneficial when interacting with employees. Acknowledging each employee as an individual and recognizing and accommodating their differences in work styles, helps increase productivity which ultimately benefits the business as well.


Social skills and communication benefit a business in so many ways. The ability to engage with customers can lead to lasting relationships. The beauty of coffee is it becomes a routine, it brings people together. Providing quality drinks is very important, but making a true connection with customers keeps them coming back.

A successful entrepreneur is always marketing themselves. Interacting with new people and building relationships we believe is a proven marketing strategy for more than just the owner, but the entire business. Advertising is great, but one-on-one human connection has a lasting impact.

For some business owners, socializing doesn't come easy. However, according to American Business Association 40% of business executives identify as introverts. Clearly, introversion doesn't mean failure. Making conscious efforts to step out of the comfort zone and exercise your social skills, will help socializing come more naturally.

You never know what doors will be opened by striking up a conversation with the right person. Greeting and engaging with customers and employees warmly and considerately can make a huge impact on how a coffee shop is perceived.

These are just a few characteristics seen in a great deal of successful coffee shop owners. Not all of these may come naturally to you, we get that, but working to develop these skills can contribute to the growth and success of your business.

If you'd like further assistance in planning your coffee shop, we'd love to help! Feel free to reach out to our commerical services team, and be sure to join the Prima Coffee Community Industry Pro Space for additional resources and join the conversation with other industry professionals.

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Jul 6th 2021 Ragan LaTour

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