Coffee Shop Business Plan: Marketing Mix



Applying the Marketing Mix (7 P’s) to your coffee shop (or any business) can solidify your marketing strategy and give you a strong marketing section for your business plan. The marketing section includes an overview of your industry and market (Industry & Market Analysis), and then analyzes where you and your competitors stand in the marketplace (Competitive & Internal Analysis). Today, we’ll use the 7 P’s of the marketing mix to strengthen your competitive and internal analysis and build your marketing strategy.

Using the Marketing Mix to Strengthen your Marketing Strategy

As you go through the 7 P’s of the Marketing Mix, keep in mind everything you researched so far in your Marketing section. The competitive matrix actually compares the marketing mix elements of your competitors, and you can use this information to find gaps and fulfill your stance in the marketplace. A strong marketing strategy will determine how to solve customer needs and be set apart from your competition.

1. Product- What does your menu look like, and are you meeting the demands in your market? What you’re selling and why should be detailed in the Products & Services section of your business plan.

2. Price- How much does it cost to produce your products? How much do your products cost to your customers? How do customers perceive your product value? Price is based on positioning (#6), because it sends a very strong message to your consumers about your value perception. Prices should also cover overall costs, however, you don’t have to make each item a primary profit center. For instance, you can sell one product at (or even below) your cost, but make up for it in selling other products with higher profit margins. You can choose a specific pricing method, or a combination of them. Here are a few pricing methods to choose from:

  • Competitive pricing (most likely)based on market and competitive prices
  • Value pricingbased on value provided to your customer (such as charging more for organic, fairly sourced coffee)
  • Cost-plus pricingbased on covering costs, and then marking prices from there

Generally, your prices need to match up with consumer demand and expectations. Examine competitors and price accordingly. Price too high, and you may have no customers, since they will weigh cost over benefits, and value their money over your product. Price too low and people may undervalue your products, since low price usually means low value perception as they compare you to your competition.

3. Promotion- How do you plan on communicating with your [potential] customers? Overview types of advertising you plan to spend money on. Think about how to use social media to communicate your brand.

4. Place- Where are people coming to buy your coffee? Details of your location will be covered in the operations section of your business plan, but know what features will support your strategy. Consider things like: a drive thru, parking, strip mall vs. stand alone building, industrial vs. homey feel, foot traffic, main streets, neighbors, square footage, etc.

5. Packaging- What are the visual elements of your coffee? Of your store? What is the impression given to customers from walking through the door, receiving their drink and leaving? This includes various visual elements from your brand/logo, store design and decor, presentation and packaging of your coffee, and even employee appearance.

6. Positioning- Where do you stand in the market relative to your competitors? Where do you stand in the hearts and minds of your customers? How do they see and think about you? Do you offer low prices, or are you a premium brand? What features or benefits do you offer that your competitors don’t? What words should come to mind when customers think of you (quality, service, atmosphere, etc)?

7. People- Think about your target market and the customers addressed in your marketing section. Think about what people are necessary to be part of your team. The management section will go into these key roles and responsibilities, as well as your employees.

Thinking through the Marketing Mix and knowing the how’s and why’s of executing this as a marketing strategy is a useful tool in setting yourself up as a strong coffee shop in your market. The more you have a grasp on your industry, market, competition, and yourself, the more strategic and purposeful you can be in your business decisions, which is the beauty of a good marketing plan!


Other Coffee Shop Business Plan Sections:


Note: As a fellow aspiring entrepreneur that simply wants to share my journey with you, know this is information I’ve gathered from various books on starting a coffee shop, business websites, and courses that have helped me in writing my business plan to start a coffee shop. I only hope to share some of these resources to help you get started and inspired, however this is by no means extensive. All materials available in this series are for informational purposes only, and not to be business consulting or legal advice– so do contact a licensed consultant, accountant, or attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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  1. Julia, great article reminding us about marketing basics. As a marketing strategist, I recommend putting PEOPLE first.

    Discover the many things that impact the choices of people who frequent coffee shops. This data will help shape your product development, marketing strategy and promotion campaigns.

    Do focus groups. Google +, Facebook Groups, and face-to-face surveys with people in coffee shops are some great affordable ways to gather data.

    PEOPLE will tell you WHY a coffee shop, why a specific coffee shop, why the type of coffee and ancillary products they choose. The atmosphere, ambiance, interaction, privacy and experience are just as relevant as the coffee in your product development. All of this data will not only shape the product, but also impact pricing.

    PEOPLE will tell you how to sell them. Discover what’s important to them, where they hang out (on & offline), what they like to do, how sipping a cup of coffee in or from a coffee shop may solve a problem for and/or bring hope to them. Discover the problem, discover the hope. Of course, this data will impact your promotions. The cost of the promotions will impact the pricing and maybe even have you review your offerings and profit centers.

    Remember, on the coffee business, PEOPLE first. I hope you find value within the comment.

    Post a Reply
    • Julia

      Wow, thanks for sharing this insight! Definitely valuable, and I’m going to dive into this end of customer research even more. Well said, I’m glad you shared this =]

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    • Jacqueline, thank you for your comment and thank you Julia for sharing your journey. I like to say that I am in the people business first, coffee is one of the perks (no pun intended). I am looking for a way to sell my passion. I truly believe in its value, worth and marketability. But I need help, direction, and the business-savvy to make my dream a reality. I’m looking forward to being a fan and follower of your site. Thanks!

      Post a Reply
      • Julia

        yes, we’re all learning! i’m glad you’re reading and looking forward to things ahead!

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    • Julia

      Thank you for reading!

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