Coffee shops


The recent Fine Food Show brought up the subject of coffee, which is a massive industry in Australia, about 9 billion dollars yearly. There is no dominant player with plenty of room for small to medium players to break in. Have a read of this report by IBISWorld here. 75% of all Australians drink at least one daily. Most of us consume much more. Why more of my clients do not get involved in it is a puzzle to me. It costs cents to make and sells for dollars. It also often has high add-on sales.

Now before I begin, I claim some expertise in coffee, being a certified barista.


​Now let's go through a few factors. Firstly like everything you have to work at it, a coffee seller is a restaurant and retailer. Its no pot of gold just waiting to be picked up.

Can you put coffee in some places like shopping?

In some places, you will not be allowed.

I do not recommend going in with a franchise.

Why share your profits? Do it yourself.

Do you have the space?

The excellent point of coffee is it can live in the dead areas of the shop. They do need access to electricity. Plus, these machines are often messy, so I recommend you be careful with the nearby goods.

The machine

I recommend walking outside your shop and researching the competition around you. Only once you have an idea of the pricing can you decide on the machine. 

The minimum manual machine you could get away with commercially would be $1,500 for a second-hand machine and a decent grinder (if you are going to do it commercially, I recommend a separate grinder). That could get you about $4.5 a cup in a good area. If you look new, you are probably about $10,000, which can often get you more per cup.

An automatic machine costs about $2,000/year, but these only give you cheap coffees. Still, it said much that people make money on $1 a cup.

I recommend you get a machine from a place that fixes them. These machines frequently break down. Check their support. These machines often break down. If you cannot get it fixed, you will soon have a piece of unusable junk.


Do not buy the caterers' special beans. You can get good beans at reasonable prices for a little more. Australians are extremely serious about their coffee. They have a high standard for their coffee.


I do recommend that you do a course. It does not take long, a couple of mornings. It takes a while to get the skill.

The software

This is important because a good coffee shop POS technology will make your accounting and management easier and more efficient.

Everyone in coffee is cost-conscious. You have to be. You need to know your cost margin exactly. These change with every delivery from your suppliers, so prices must be suitable for each recipe. This is not easy as each recipe has many options, e.g. cow milk or dairy-free alternatives. Then there is decaffeinated or not. Plus, stock control is vital; not having one ingredient can bring your coffee business to a stop. The shop has to be shut while the owner is running to a supermarket is a common story.

So most of you readers are lucky as your software is now being used in cafes where it is highly regarded.

It has clear navigation and a user-friendly screen

Tracking of customer data and honour loyalty schemes

Good cash management functions like dual cash drawer tills

Look into it, please.

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