I have had the privilege to travel all over Zimbabwe, and I still do. If you are curious as I am, when you get such exposure you get to notice so many things. One of the things I have noticed is that coffee shops are not a mainstream thing in Zimbabwe. You will most likely find them in posh or upmarket areas, mostly urban. You will also tend to find them in tourist resort areas as well. Yet I feel coffee shops can thrive in Zimbabwe just like any fast foods joint does. Let us look at how you can start a coffee shop business in Zimbabwe.

Key Approaches

The basic idea is to open an outlet where you serve coffee, tea, and suitable related snacks. Interestingly, most Zimbabweans do eat these food items daily. So the idea is for you to provide an irresistible value proposition. One way to do that is to provide products that are not easy to make at home. By so doing, people will see the need to get them from you rather than making them at home. This also implies that pricing will be a key factor in driving sales. For coffee shops to become a common feature in Zimbabwe there is a need to price affordably. In starting this business you can consider 3 broad options. You can consider a franchise; purchasing an existing business or starting from zero.

In Zimbabwe, you will most likely start from zero as coffee shops are not widely popular. In rolling out your business you do not necessarily need to confine yourself to brick and mortar. There are much better options to explore e.g. booths (like the ones Yanaya used when they started), mobile kitchens, or open spaces, amongst others. This should show you that you can consider striking partnerships with other existing businesses. For the most part, this line of business can greatly thrive from having partnerships with other businesses.

Important Requirements

The first thing is figuring out a strategic location – high vehicle and human traffic. Coffee shops are mainly for laid-back social interactions. This means you can consider places where there are typically food outlets such as restaurants. Chances are usually high that you might not find coffee shops in such areas. You can capitalize on that, especially when you are considering a brick and mortar option. Even when considering using an open space you can also do the same.

The mobile option can be the most strategic one as you get to go to convenient locations. For example, you can go to sporting events or termini by public transportation. If you choose brick and mortar or a fixed open space you can diversify by having a mobile option as well. Open space or mobile options will require things like tents, tables, gazebos, mobile karts, and the like. Brick and mortar will require things like renovations or remodelling. You will need kitchenware, décor, supplies for the sitting or serving area, and materials for sit-ins servings and takeaways.

You will also need specialized machinery for coffee-making, baking, and the like. Some of the common examples of equipment you will need are drip coffee makers, espresso machines, coffee grinders, blenders, fridges, microwaves, stoves, and so on. The sophistication and breadth of what you will need will depend on your intended scale of operations. You might also need to hire at least one professional chef.

Important Things To Consider

You have to be officially registered as a company. A coffee shop business falls under the food industry. This means you must acquire the necessary licensing required to operate. You can get the relevant guidance by approaching your respective local authority. Just to shed more light here, to operate a coffee shop you need a municipal license.

Municipal licenses apply to abattoirs, canteens, food vending machines, hotels, lodges (or guest houses), keeping of equine animals, bakeries, caterers, restaurants, food factories, and coffee shops, amongst others. Your application for such a license will be handled by the health department of your municipality. Other signatories on that application will be an Environmental Health Officer and Director of Health Services. This is a fair warning that your things must be in order.

The effectiveness of this business thrives on providing exceptional customer experiences. Coffee shops must be decorated in a way that is alluring and cosy. For example, smooth background music (you can find plenty of it on YouTube). You can also add other convenient amenities such as Wi-Fi, satellite television, kids playing area, and the like. The idea is to figure out things to add to attract more customers.

One of the most important things to take away from this article is how profitable a coffee shop business can be. Especially considering that they are overall quite few in Zimbabwe. There are several towns in Zimbabwe I know that does not definitively have even a single coffee shop. Most people are sleeping on this business idea in Zimbabwe. There are certain businesses that prospective customers might not realize they need. Once such businesses are set up people will wonder where they were all along. A coffee shop business is exactly that type of business so go for it.