Food Business Concepts:Coffeehouse

Coffee is a global industry that employs more than 20 million people and ranks second only to petroleum in terms of dollars traded worldwide. With more than 400 billion cups consumed every year, coffee is the world's most popular beverage.

Today's coffee cafes cater to a marketplace as varied as the coffee flavors themselves--some targeting the breakfast and lunch on-the-go market, others operating as evening destinations, with food items and perhaps entertainment, and a wide range of styles in between.

Most successful coffeehouses have heavy foot traffic and high-volume sales. The majority will serve as many as 500 customers per day and manage up to five customer turns during the lunch hour, despite having limited floor space and modest seating capacity. Profit margins for coffee and espresso drinks are extremely high-after all, you're dealing with a product that is more than 95 percent water. At the same time, your average ticket amount is less than $2, so you need volume to reach and maintain profitability.

Besides specialty roasted coffee by the cup, most coffeehouses also have espresso-based drinks (cappuccinos, lattes, etc.), assorted teas, bottled water and fruit juices, along with an inviting assortment of baked goods such as biscotti (Italian dipping cookies), bagels, croissants, muffins and a selection of desserts. Most also sell their beans by the pound so customers can enjoy their favorite brews at home.

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