You’re standing in your very own coffee shop. The air is rich with the aroma of freshly ground beans, the murmur of content customers is music to your ears, and the steam from the espresso machine is your new favorite symphony.

But how did you transform this java-scented dream into a brick-and-mortar reality? That’s where the nitty-gritty of coffee shop startup costs come into play.

Navigating through the maze of espresso machines and coffee shop licensing fees can be daunting.

Moreover, if you didn’t flinch at the thought of break-even points or the ROI dance, you’re the hero this story needs.

By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the financial foresight needed to open your doors—a deep dive into the initial investment, equipment expenses, and operating costs awaits.

You’ll grasp the essentials, from picking the ideal point of sale (POS) system to negotiating with coffee bean suppliers and tackling the monthly rent.

We’ll march straight into the heart of budgeting without the bewildering jargon. I promise, it’s all brewed to perfection. Welcome to the ultimate guide to the fiscal feats of coffee shop inception.

The most important coffee shop startup costs

Expense CategoryLow-End EstimateMid-Range EstimateHigh-End EstimateTypical Range
Business Licensing and Permits$100$500$1,500$100 – $1,500
Location Rental (first month + deposit)$2,000$5,000$10,000$2,000 – $10,000
Renovations and Decor$5,000$20,000$50,000$5,000 – $50,000
Coffee Shop Equipment$10,000$25,000$50,000$10,000 – $50,000
Initial Inventory$2,000$6,000$10,000$2,000 – $10,000
Marketing and Branding$500$3,000$5,000$500 – $5,000
Utilities (first 3 months)$1,500$3,000$6,000$1,500 – $6,000
Insurance (first 3 months)$300$1,000$2,500$300 – $2,500
Staff Wages (first 3 months)$6,000$18,000$30,000$6,000 – $30,000
Miscellaneous Expenses$1,000$2,500$5,000$1,000 – $5,000
Total Estimated Startup Costs$28,400$84,000$170,000$28,400 – $170,000

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

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

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 On Coffee Shop Startup Costs

How much does it typically cost to open a coffee shop?

It’s like asking how long a piece of string is, but let me tell you, it varies. Generally, you’re looking at anywhere from $80,000 to $300,000.

It’s all about location, the size of your spot, and how fancy those espresso machines are. Budget extra for surprises; they always pop up.

Can I start a coffee shop with a small budget?

Absolutely, yes. It’s all about clever shortcuts. Think pop-up or coffee cart instead of a full-blown café to keep those costs down.

Leaning on second-hand equipment or a minimalist design can also save you a bundle. It’s more grassroots, sure, but fully possible.

What are the major expenses I should anticipate?

Prioritize these—location lease, renovation, and coffee shop equipment. Underestimate not the mighty espresso machine; it’s the heart of your shop.

Then, inventory, barista training, and your point of sale (POS) system. Oh, and reserve a chunk for marketing. People gotta know you exist, right?

Is there a way to reduce coffee shop startup costs?

Totally. Scour for second-hand furniture or DIY some decor. Negotiate hard on your lease, or better still, share space.

Employ a savvy barista who can wear multiple hats. Keep that menu simple at first. Every penny saved is a step closer to your grand opening.

How do I calculate the break-even point for my coffee shop?

Grab your calculator—it’s time to crunch numbers. Calculate your fixed costs like rent and salaries. Estimate variable costs like ingredients and supplies.

Then, figure out your average revenue per customer. Fixed costs divided by the difference between average sale and variable cost per sale equals breakeven.

What kind of funding options are available for a coffee shop startup?

Funding can come from every corner. Traditional bank loans, small business grants, or even crowdfunding—think Kickstarter with caffeine perks.

Partners or investors can also get on board. If you’ve got collateral, you could score a secured loan. Don’t forget family and friends who might back your brew venture.

What should I include in my coffee shop’s business plan?

Think of it as your business’s blueprint. Outline your vision, establish clear financial projections, and detail your marketing strategy.

Your plan should cover market analysis, an operational plan, and a cozy spot for financial details. It’s a one-stop shop for potential investors or lenders to see your game plan.

How much should I spend on the initial coffee inventory?

It’s a balancing act. Stock enough to keep the caffeine flowing but not so much that you’re drowning in beans.

Initially, aim for around $5,000 to $10,000, factoring in coffee, milk, syrups, and pastries. Remember, fresh is best, so tune the orders as you go.

Do coffee shop owners need specific insurance?

You bet they do. At a minimum, you need general liability to protect against accidents and injuries. Property insurance is crucial too, unless you enjoy living on the edge.

Worker’s comp is non-negotiable if you’ve got staff. And look into business interruption insurance, because, well, life happens.

What ongoing expenses should I expect?

Run your shop like a well-oiled machine. Budget for consumables—coffee, milk, supplies. Payroll’s your likely giant, followed by rent, utilities, and marketing to woo those regulars.

Equipment maintenance can’t be ignored, unless you fancy a coffee shop without coffee. It’s a constant dance of outgoing costs and income.


Wrapping up the caffeine-fueled adventure of coffee shop startup costs—it’s clear this isn’t a journey for the faint-hearted. Diving into the deep end with espresso machines, lease negotiations, and that ever-important break-even point, we’ve sifted through a lot together.

  • The aroma of potential success is strong, right? But remember, the richest brew comes from patience, planning, and smart spending.
  • With a solid business plan, your ship navigates through even the frothiest of financial waters.
  • Barista training, equipment maintenance, and the dance of inventory—these will become your daily grind.

A final toast to you, future coffee shop mogul. Take these insights, be they bitter or sweet, and pour yourself into the craft. With beans in one hand and a budget in the other, your entrepreneurial spirit is the secret ingredient that will make your coffee shop vision a thriving, bustling reality.

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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.