One of your dreams might be to open your own coffee shop. Your dream could become a reality soon with the appropriate business plan.

One of the restaurant industry’s fastest-growing business models is the café. One of your current concerns may be, besides finding a name, “How much will it cost to operate cafes or coffee shops?

Having high-quality machinery, properly roasted coffee beans, and a barista who can create beautiful latte art is not enough to run a successful coffee shop. Running a company with an average sale that is typically only a few dollars might be difficult from a financial standpoint.

In the end, being a coffee shop owner and opening a new coffee shop necessitates both a significant initial investment and the capacity to control a mix of ongoing fixed and variable costs.

As was already mentioned, depending on how you define “coffee shop,” the costs of opening one vary substantially. Would you like to sell premium coffee? No issue! Your biggest determinant will be sourcing and inventories, but your coffee shop equipment will be reasonably priced.

Coffee shop equipment costs get quite intimidating if you start dealing with espresso makers and baked items. However, you must take into account that it could be harder to keep buyers interested without a diversity of products.

Not to mention the absence of some of the more expensive items, including baked goods and beverages with espresso as an ingredient, which can greatly increase your revenue per customer.

To keep track of your budget, it’s essential to consider the major factors in the coffee shop startup costs right away.

The most important coffee shop startup costs

The secret to an effective and successful coffee shop business plan is to visualize your anticipated costs. This might assist you in determining what you must pay for and how you will do so. Don’t forget that there are other options besides mere cash on hand to pay for these expenses, such as loans, grants, and leases.

The initial investment required to open a coffee shop can vary depending on many different factors like the area’s rent rates, the location you select, prospective upgrades, furnishings, and decor choices.

The average price to operate a café is between $100,000 and $1 million. Making accurate predictions is essential during this procedure.

This includes calculating the price of the lease, building improvements, both exterior and interior designs, employee salaries, the price of food and inventories, as well as the cost of your restaurant’s menus. Even the top coffee shops and roasters had modest beginnings.

The majority of restaurants, including cafes, have narrow profit margins. Because of this, it’s critical to establish your company for growth with a reliable location, ample business plan and strategy, and efficient cafe layout. You can learn how to start your own café by becoming familiar with the initial expenses beforehand.

Some things to think about in terms of expenses and businesses


Coffee shops concentrated in San Francisco

A busy intersection is the best place for coffee shops. It’s also advisable to pick a location near office buildings or commercial centers. Drive-thrus are another factor in the success of many eateries. This is particularly true in the suburbs, where driving is increasingly prevalent.

Any coffee business needs a good location, but those that require a lot of foot traffic and visibility, like coffee shops, are especially so. We are discussing America’s vitality. If there is a coffee shop closer to them with easier access, don’t expect coffee shop customers to travel the extra distance to obtain their coffee from you.

As a coffee shop owner, you can benefit from a choice of prospective sites. The cost of each of these varies greatly depending on the area, however, the following list provides a rough overview of the available spaces:  a Drive-through mobile coffee business, basic lobby kiosks, coffee bars, and cafés with bakeries.

If you require extra seating, you might want to look into standalone locations or locations with more desirable prices per square foot. By allowing people to sit and stay for a while, you make up for the difficulty in getting access to a clearly defined and reliable group of other tenants. Both the environment and the expected clientele change.


You will need all utilities to be operational while building and renovating. These consist of internet connection, water, power, and gas.

For cafés or restaurants with less than 4,000 square feet of space, the average monthly power bill might be between $1,000 and $1,300. Larger areas may wind up being more expensive.

Equipment costs

You’ll need equipment for your coffee shop, and this could account for a considerable portion of your initial costs. The actual price, though, will be determined by your equipment.

Coffee Makers

Single-serve coffee makers are becoming more popular in cafés nowadays, yet some continue to employ the best Italian espresso machines.

Depending on the complexity and scale of your coffee shop business, the cost of restaurant furnishings and kitchen equipment may range anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000.

You would spend roughly $3000 on a piece of high-end automatic equipment that a trained barista would operate, but the very best machines can cost up to $5000. However, some high-end coffee shops have even more sophisticated equipment that can cost up to $20,000 and essentially reduces the labor of the baristas. You are a brand-new coffee shop, therefore a $5,000 machine would be perfect for you.

Here are some of the best coffee machines:

Coffee Grinders

Espresso and coffee beans grinders are the next items you’ll require. You likely do not need one of them if you already own one of the priciest coffee-making devices we previously discussed because they are fully automatic. However, if you chose one of the more common machines, grinders are a need.

These devices can cost as little as $500 for a basic grinder and as much as $3000 for an advanced one. It all comes down to how fine or coarse the grinders’ output is. The best manufacturers of these machines are Curtis and Mazzer.


The amount of coffee beans that roasters can process determines how much it will cost. For less than $2500, some of the smaller ones can be purchased.

The price of a roaster that processes 3 to 4 kg might reach $14,000. However, roasters that can handle up to 25 kg can cost as much as $60,000!


The reason why it’s important to note that the blender must be of industrial grade is that it must be powerful enough to break the ice consistently without endangering the motor over time.

Basic blenders may be purchased for as little as $300, but the ones you will most probably need for your coffee shop costs over $2,000.


You should think about purchasing a commercial-grade refrigeration system that will endure for a very long period because you do not want it to fail while your company is open for business.

That is something you simply cannot afford. Industrial-grade refrigeration systems of the kind that your company might utilize are often expensive, costing up to $12,000.

Water Filtration

No amount of coffee-enhancing chemicals will be able to mask the unpleasant aftertaste of subpar water. You may be guaranteed that your beverages are not only of the highest quality but also very healthful by using a water filtering system.

Even though some filtration systems only cost around $1,000, it’s best to invest in a commercial-grade system, which can cost up to $9,000.

Additional coffee shop startup costs to consider

Inventory Expenses

A restaurant or cafe’s inventory plays an important role. You’ll need to stock up on all of the necessary supplies before opening your café. 

Always keeping some safety stock on hand is a solid inventory management strategy.

The waiting staff needs to have the appropriate training, and glasses, ground coffee, to-go cups, sleeves, and caps need to be completely stocked. These expenses can cost between $20,000 and $120,000, depending on the size and design of your cafe. 

A cafe that has a full menu stands out among the competition. Your monthly food budget will probably range from $5,000 to $25,000 based on what you intend to provide. It is less expensive to purchase food from wholesale vendors and pay a wholesale price.

Interior and customization costs

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Another entry-level expense to take into account depends on the space you select and how you will customize the area to suit your demands.

This price is made up of the cost of construction supplies as well as the cost of hiring professionals to help. To aid with the design of the kitchen or coffee bar area’s workflow, the specialists might be anybody from architects, engineers, interior designers, hired help, or even consultants who specialize in coffee.

Depending on the size of the project, you should budget somewhere between $1,000 and $5,000 for each of these people’s services.

A cafe’s or restaurant’s interior design may make or ruin the place. Consider some of the most recognizable coffee shops, such as your neighborhood Starbucks or Central Perk from Friends. The interior is well-known and enduring.

The cost of the materials varies according to how suitable the area is already or how much effort is required to make it so. 

Even while you might be able to rent a space for a lot less money than a fully furnished retail location, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of the necessary upgrades. The prices may be quite high if you need to build lighting, relocate electrical outlets, or run new water lines, for example.

Landlord reimbursement for leasehold renovations is occasionally possible. To decide whether to include these costs in your launch cost estimates or not, you must first confirm these specifics. You might get assistance from an interior decorator or consultant in figuring out what you need and how much each modification will cost.

Marketing costs

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The marketing expenses you incur when starting your company differ greatly from those you incur once it is up and running.

When you first start out, your marketing expenses will be higher because the type of campaigns you’ll be running will be more focused on bringing customers to your coffee business and to your website if you have one.

Cost of establishing your own brand

The price of building your own brand is a crucial startup expense that individuals frequently overlook. New coffee shop owners are incredibly ready to discount this expense since it is so ambiguous.

But here’s the thing. People frequently visit Starbucks because they believe Starbucks to be associated with a particular feel and ambiance they want to experience when they go for their drink.

It can cost up to $5000 to hire a professional brand consultant, but the good news is that if you look through all the freelancing platforms you have access to, such as Upwork and Fiverr, you will probably be able to find highly-rated experts who can do this consultation for you at a lower cost.

Personnel costs

The cost of building the ideal workforce is the second crucial fixed expense that you must take into account. It will cost money to assemble the ideal team because you want to work with seasoned professionals.

Larger coffee businesses like Starbucks have the flexibility of hiring employees who are new to the field since they have the means to train them more effectively and can afford the entire turnaround.

FAQ about coffee shop startup costs

How much does it cost to start a coffee shop?

Depending on the location, size, and type of equipment utilized, the cost to open a coffee shop can vary significantly. Yet, industry estimates indicate that a modest coffee shop’s launch costs typically vary from $25,000 to $150,000.

What are the typical expenses involved in opening a coffee shop?

Rent or mortgage payments, equipment purchases, license and permit fees, inventory and supply prices, employee salaries, and marketing expenses are just a few of the typical costs associated with operating a coffee shop. It’s crucial to make a thorough company plan and budget to include these costs.

How much does it cost to buy or rent a coffee shop location?

Depending on the area and neighborhood, the price to buy or rent a coffee shop location can change significantly.

A modest coffee shop’s typical monthly rent is estimated by the industry to be between $1,500 and $3,000. Depending on the location, buying a property for a coffee shop can cost anywhere from $200,000 to $1 million or more.

How much does it cost to buy equipment for a coffee shop?

Depending on the size and style of the coffee shop, the cost of the equipment may also change. An espresso maker, coffee grinder, industrial blender, and refrigeration units are necessary pieces of equipment. This device can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 or more.

What are the costs associated with obtaining licenses and permits for a coffee shop?

Depending on the city and state, different fees may be needed to license and permit a coffee shop. Business registration, food service licenses, and health and safety inspections are just a few of the licenses and permissions required. From a few hundred to several thousand dollars may be spent on these expenses.

How much does it cost to hire staff for a coffee shop?

The price of hiring employees for a coffee shop depends on the size of the business and the required staff. Industry estimates place the typical pay for a barista between $9 and $15 per hour, while the annual income range for a store manager is between $35,000 and $60,000.

What are the ongoing costs of operating a coffee shop, such as utilities and supplies?

Rent, utilities, employee pay, inventory and supplies, marketing and promotion, maintenance, and repairs are just a few of the constant expenditures of running a coffee shop. The size and location of the shop can have a big impact on these prices.

How much money do you need to have in reserve to cover unexpected expenses?

To cover unforeseen costs like equipment maintenance, inventory shortages, or unexpected dips in sales, it’s crucial to have a contingency fund in place. To prepare for any unanticipated circumstances, experts advise keeping at least three to six months’ worth of operational expenditures on hand.

What are some tips for keeping costs low when starting a coffee shop?

Buying secondhand equipment, haggling with suppliers for lower prices, using social media for promotion instead of paid advertising, and starting with a smaller location to cut down on rent and utility costs are some suggestions for keeping startup costs low when opening a coffee shop.

How long does it typically take to recoup the startup costs of a coffee shop?

Depending on factors including location, competition, and marketing initiatives, it may take a coffee shop a long time to repay its beginning expenditures. But according to industry estimates, it can take anywhere between 18 and 24 months to start making a profit and recover the initial expenditure.

Conclusion on these coffee shop startup costs

These, therefore, are the primary financial factors for prospective coffee shop business entrepreneurs. Spending this much cash upfront to get your firm off the ground may seem like a difficult undertaking, but it will be worthwhile in the long run if you can recoup your costs and keep generating income.

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I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.