Set Up a Coffee Shop Business in the UK

How to Set Up a Coffee Shop Business in the UK Brew your own success with 3E Accounting’s quick read on how to set up a coffee shop business in the UK.

Java, jamoke or a cup of joe, call it what you like; coffee is a staple most people simply cannot do without. Coffee is more than just a drink; it is also a lifestyle activity that forms the nexus of our society. Coffee shops – which sell coffee, tea and other consumables – are a booming business where most of social work and play. If you’ve ever wondered how to set up a coffee shop business in the UK, then wonder no more. 3E Accounting lays out a framework for would-be café entrepreneurs.


A British Café Culture

One of the oldest coffee shops in the world is the Venetian Caffé Florian, in continuous operation since 1720. The first coffeehouse in England opened in 1652 and proved to be a popular concept. These penny universities attracted the intellectuals of society, who had polite discourse over a one-penny coffee cup. The most famous was Jonathan’s Coffee House, which saw the beginnings of the London Stock Exchange.

Despite being known as a tea-drinking nation, there is a huge coffee shop market in the United Kingdom. Statistics for 2018 indicate that coffee consumption rose to 95 million cups of coffee per day. The UK also lays claim to being the largest branded coffee shop market in Europe. As of 2019, there were more than 25 thousand coffee shops in the UK. It is seen as a resilient and sustainable sector that is expected to weather the pandemic and return to growth.

Starting your coffee shop business requires you to decide early on whether you want a franchise or your own brand. If you prefer your own brand, then being unique and niche is the only way to succeed. When researching and writing out your business plan, explore your target market as well as emerging trends. It might also help if you can gain some experience as a coffee barista.

Of course, a coffee shop business is not just about the coffee you sell but also the location and shop design. You want a location such as an office or shopping district, subway link, anywhere with a high footfall. Your shop design can be anything from a pop-up to a coffee kiosk or a fancy French café. This will give you an indication of how much start-up capital you may need. It will also enable you to make an informed decision when you register your business. This can be as a sole trader, limited company or even a partnership.

Once you have your business entity sorted, you must register with HMRC for taxes and get a bank account opened. Having a website and domain name will also enable you to have an online presence.

The most important consideration in running a coffee shop business is getting your compliance in order. The food industry is regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and approvals from the local area council. You may need planning permission for your café, registration for your food and drink business, and health and safety inspections.

If all these considerations seem daunting, do get in touch with our team at 3E Accounting. We offer guidance on how to set up a coffee shop business in the UK as well as company formation packages. Our suite of solutions can be customised to your business needs and preferences. Contact 3E Accounting today to begin your entrepreneurial journey on a successful note.

How to Set Up a Coffee Shop Business in the UK