Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Below is a list of the essential reading list that every coffee shop owner, current or aspiring, should read.
I would strongly recommend reading all of these books, not just picking and choosing. The coffee books may be a little sexier and more fun, but running a coffee shop is more than just coffee.
The business books will help your coffee shop save tons of money, or vastly increase sales. This will probably be more directly applicable and have a more significant impact on your top and bottom line.
Enjoy this reading list and learn something new about how to run a coffee shop!
Essential Books for Coffee Shop Owners
(in no particular order)
1. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder
This book often used in MBA programs to help get students to think outside the box on how businesses can differentiate in how they make money to maximize their profit. Examples from the book include Amazon, Skype, and IKEA.
2. Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
Donald Miller describes how to use the Hero’s Journey storytelling elements (á la Joseph Campbell) to build a long-lasting brand that connects with your customers. People will clearly be able to know, like, and trust you when they understand you.
3. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Whether you like it or not, business is about people. This is still true in coffee shops. This book will teach you how to get your customers to like you and keep them coming back. In addition, you can take these principles and work them into your on boarding process so all of your staff will know how they should interact with customers. You can also apply these principles to managing your staff. Tons of great value!
4. The Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Seth Godin’s marketing book describes why it's important to differentiate yourself in today’s market. In his words, “Safe is risky.”
5. What I Know About Running Coffee Shops by Colin Harmon
This book has many insights into the inner workings of a cafe. From a breakdown of weekly financial reviews to optimizing your cafe layout. The author has built and runs some of the UK’s most successful coffee shops. He also chronicles much of his journey in this book.
6. The Successful Coffee House by David Morris, Chris Heyer, and Lon LaFlamme
This book has even more application than What I Know About Running Coffee Shops. These are actionable steps to take to build a brand and successful coffee business. The writers, from Dillanos Coffee Roasters, have helped numerous coffee shop owners become successful. Very, very practical. Even though the subtitle says “22 Day Action Plan,” you should plan to spend much longer on each step.
Of course, reading Coffee Shop Keys will help you run a successful coffee shop business. Check out some of our other posts, like this one about transitioning from opening a coffee shop to running one. It will help keep you from feeling like you're always trying to catch up, yet falling behind.