How to Start a Coffee Shop in Mexico: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to start a coffee shop in mexico

Starting a coffee shop in Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, with a population of over 130 million people, can be an exciting and profitable venture, given the country’s rich coffee culture and increasing consumer interest in specialty coffee. This step-by-step guide will help you navigate the process, from planning to opening day.

Step 1: Market Research and Business Plan
Market Research

Before starting a coffee shop, it is crucial to understand the market. Conduct thorough research to gather information about:

  • Target Audience: Identify who your customers will be. Are they young professionals, students, tourists, or locals?
  • Competition: Analyze existing coffee shops in your area. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What can you offer that they don’t?
  • Trends: Stay updated with current trends in the coffee industry, such as specialty brews, sustainable practices, and new technologies.
Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is essential for your coffee shop’s success. Your business plan should include:

  • Executive Summary: An overview of your business concept and objectives.
  • Market Analysis: Insights from your market research.
  • Business Structure: Define your business model, whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.
  • Products and Services: Detail the coffee and food items you will offer.
  • Marketing Strategy: Outline how you will attract and retain customers.
  • Financial Plan: Include startup costs, operating expenses, projected revenue, and break-even analysis.
Step 2: Legal Requirements and Permits
Business Registration
  • Name Registration: Choose a unique name for your coffee shop and register it with the Secretaría de Economía (SE).
  • Legal Structure: Decide whether to register as an individual, partnership, or corporation.
Permits and Licenses
  • Health and Safety Permits: Obtain necessary health permits from the local health department to ensure your shop meets hygiene standards.
  • Operating License: Secure an operating license from the local municipal government.
  • Zoning Permits: Ensure your location complies with local zoning laws.
Step 3: Location and Design
Choosing a Location

The success of your coffee shop heavily depends on its location. Consider the following factors:

  • Foot Traffic: High pedestrian areas like business districts, universities, and tourist spots are ideal.
  • Accessibility: Ensure the location is easily accessible by public transport and has adequate parking.
  • Visibility: A visible location with good signage can attract walk-in customers.
Shop Design

The design of your coffee shop should reflect your brand and create a welcoming atmosphere. Key considerations include:

  • Layout: Plan an efficient layout that accommodates customers comfortably and allows for smooth workflow behind the counter.
  • Furniture and Decor: Choose comfortable seating and decor that aligns with your theme.
  • Lighting and Ambiance: Use lighting to create a cozy and inviting ambiance.
Step 4: Equipment and Suppliers
Essential Equipment

Invest in high-quality equipment for your coffee shop. Essential items include:

  • Espresso Machines: Choose a reliable espresso machine that can handle your expected volume.
  • Coffee Grinders: Consistent grind size is crucial for great coffee.
  • Brewing Equipment: Depending on your menu, you may need pour-over setups, French presses, or cold brew systems.
  • Refrigeration: Proper refrigeration for milk, food items, and syrups is necessary.
  • POS System: A robust point-of-sale system to handle transactions and track sales.

Build strong relationships with suppliers for coffee beans, milk, syrups, and food items. Consider sourcing from local producers to ensure freshness and support the local economy.

Step 5: Hiring and Training Staff

Hire staff who are passionate about coffee and customer service. Key positions include:

  • Baristas: Skilled in making various coffee drinks and knowledgeable about coffee.
  • Managers: Experienced in running a coffee shop and managing staff.
  • Support Staff: Cashiers, kitchen staff, and cleaners to ensure smooth operations.

Invest in comprehensive training for your staff, covering:

  • Coffee Preparation: Teach baristas the techniques for making espresso, latte art, and other specialty drinks.
  • Customer Service: Train staff to provide excellent customer service, handle complaints, and ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Health and Safety: Ensure all staff are trained in hygiene practices and safety protocols.
Step 6: Marketing and Promotion

Create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience. This includes:

  • Logo and Name: Design a memorable logo and choose a catchy name.
  • Brand Story: Craft a compelling story about your coffee shop’s origins and mission.
Online Presence

Establish an online presence to reach a wider audience:

  • Website: Create a user-friendly website with your menu, location, contact details, and an online ordering system.
  • Social Media: Use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to engage with customers, share updates, and promote special offers.
  • Google My Business: Register your coffee shop on Google My Business to improve visibility in local searches.
Local Marketing

Engage with your local community through:

  • Events and Promotions: Host events like coffee tasting sessions, workshops, or live music to attract customers.
  • Collaborations: Partner with local businesses for cross-promotions.
  • Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program to reward repeat customers.
Step 7: Grand Opening and Beyond
Pre-Opening Preparations
  • Soft Launch: Consider a soft launch to test operations and gather feedback from a small group of customers.
  • Staff Readiness: Ensure your staff is fully trained and ready for the grand opening.
Grand Opening

Plan an exciting grand opening event to draw in customers. Offer special promotions, free samples, and entertainment to create buzz.

Continuous Improvement
  • Customer Feedback: Regularly collect and analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement.
  • Menu Innovation: Keep your menu fresh by introducing new coffee drinks and food items.
  • Community Engagement: Stay involved in the local community and participate in events to build a loyal customer base.
Step 8: Financial Management

Carefully plan your budget to cover initial setup costs, monthly operating expenses, and unexpected costs.


Implement a reliable accounting system to track income, expenses, and profitability. Consider hiring an accountant for professional advice.

Cost Control

Regularly review your expenses and find ways to reduce costs without compromising quality. Negotiate with suppliers for better rates and monitor inventory to minimize waste.

Step 9: Sustainability Practices

Implement sustainable practices to reduce your environmental impact and appeal to eco-conscious customers:

  • Sourcing: Purchase coffee beans from sustainable sources and support fair trade.
  • Waste Management: Reduce waste by offering reusable cups, composting coffee grounds, and recycling.
  • Energy Efficiency: Use energy-efficient equipment and appliances to lower your carbon footprint.

Starting a coffee shop in Mexico requires careful planning, dedication, and a passion for coffee. By following this step-by-step guide, you can navigate the complexities of opening a coffee shop and set your business up for success. Remember, the key to a thriving coffee shop is not just great coffee, but also excellent customer service, a welcoming atmosphere, and a strong connection with your community. Good luck!

Scroll to Top