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

how to start coffee shop in sweden

Starting a coffee shop in Sweden, a country of roughly 10.5 million, can be an exciting and rewarding venture, given the country’s strong coffee culture. Sweden consistently ranks among the top countries in the world for coffee consumption per capita, which makes it a promising market for new coffee businesses. However, entering this market requires careful planning, understanding of local regulations, and a solid business strategy. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you start a coffee shop in Sweden.

Step 1: Conduct Market Research
Understand the Coffee Culture

Swedes have a unique coffee culture, deeply rooted in the concept of “fika” – a social coffee break that often includes pastries. Understanding this cultural aspect is crucial as it influences the type of atmosphere and offerings your coffee shop should provide.

Identify Your Target Market

Determine who your target customers will be. Are you aiming to attract busy professionals, students, families, or tourists? Understanding your target demographic will help tailor your menu, pricing, and marketing efforts.

Analyze Competitors

Study existing coffee shops in the area where you plan to open your business. Identify what they are doing well and where there might be gaps in the market. This will help you position your coffee shop uniquely.

Step 2: Develop a Business Plan
Define Your Concept

Decide on the theme and concept of your coffee shop. Will it be a cozy, traditional café, a modern and trendy spot, or a specialty coffee house focusing on high-quality, ethically sourced beans?

Create a Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Market analysis
  • Organization and management structure
  • Menu and service offerings
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Financial projections and funding requirements
Step 3: Legal Requirements and Permits
Register Your Business

You will need to register your business with the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket). Decide on the legal structure of your business, such as a sole proprietorship (enskild firma), partnership (handelsbolag), or limited liability company (aktiebolag).

Obtain Necessary Permits
  • Food Handling Permit: Required from the local environmental health department (Miljö- och hälsoskyddsnämnden) for handling and serving food and beverages.
  • Alcohol License: If you plan to serve alcohol, apply for a license from the local municipality.
  • Building and Signage Permits: Ensure your premises meet local zoning laws and building codes, and obtain any necessary permits for renovations and signage.
Comply with Health and Safety Regulations

Adhere to Swedish food safety regulations (Livsmedelsverket) and ensure your staff is trained in proper food handling practices.

Step 4: Find the Right Location
Location Scouting

Choose a location that aligns with your target market. Consider high foot traffic areas, proximity to universities, office buildings, or tourist attractions.

Negotiate a Lease

Once you’ve found a suitable location, negotiate a favorable lease agreement. Consider factors such as rent, lease duration, renewal options, and any restrictions on modifications to the space.

Step 5: Design and Set Up Your Coffee Shop
Interior Design

Create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere that reflects your brand. Consider seating arrangements, lighting, décor, and the overall layout to enhance the customer experience.

Equipment and Supplies

Invest in high-quality equipment, including espresso machines, grinders, coffee brewers, refrigerators, and POS systems. Source your coffee beans, milk, pastries, and other supplies from reputable suppliers.

Step 6: Hire and Train Staff

Hire experienced baristas and support staff who share your passion for coffee and customer service. Look for individuals who are friendly, reliable, and capable of working in a fast-paced environment.


Provide thorough training on coffee preparation, customer service, and food safety. Regularly update training to ensure consistency and high standards.

Step 7: Create a Menu
Coffee and Beverages

Offer a variety of coffee drinks, including espresso, cappuccino, latte, and specialty brews. Consider including non-coffee options such as tea, hot chocolate, and fresh juices.

Food Offerings

Complement your coffee menu with a selection of pastries, sandwiches, salads, and light snacks. Consider catering to dietary preferences by including vegan, gluten-free, and low-sugar options.

Step 8: Marketing and Promotion
Build a Brand Identity

Develop a strong brand identity, including a logo, color scheme, and tagline that reflect your coffee shop’s concept. Ensure consistency across all marketing materials.

Online Presence

Create a user-friendly website and maintain active social media profiles. Use these platforms to engage with customers, share updates, and promote special offers.

Launch Promotions

Attract initial customers with grand opening promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs. Collaborate with local influencers and bloggers to create buzz around your new coffee shop.

Step 9: Open Your Coffee Shop
Soft Opening

Consider a soft opening to test your operations and gather feedback before the official launch. This allows you to make any necessary adjustments.

Grand Opening

Plan a grand opening event to attract attention and introduce your coffee shop to the community. Offer samples, live music, or other entertainment to draw in crowds.

Step 10: Monitor and Adjust
Customer Feedback

Regularly gather and analyze customer feedback to identify areas for improvement. Encourage customers to leave reviews and respond promptly to any concerns.

Financial Monitoring

Keep a close eye on your financial performance, including sales, expenses, and profitability. Adjust your pricing, menu, or marketing strategies as needed to ensure sustainability.

Continuous Improvement

Stay updated on industry trends and continuously seek ways to enhance your offerings and operations. Attend coffee trade shows, join industry associations, and network with other coffee shop owners for inspiration and ideas.

Additional Considerations

Swedish consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability. Consider eco-friendly practices such as using biodegradable cups, sourcing organic and fair-trade coffee, and implementing recycling programs.

Community Engagement

Build a loyal customer base by engaging with the local community. Host events, support local artists by displaying their work, and collaborate with nearby businesses for mutual promotion.

Seasonal Offerings

Keep your menu fresh and exciting by introducing seasonal drinks and food items. Swedish seasons are distinct, and seasonal offerings can attract customers looking for new experiences.


Starting a coffee shop in Sweden involves careful planning, an understanding of local regulations, and a commitment to delivering high-quality products and services. By following these steps and continuously adapting to the needs of your customers, you can establish a successful and beloved coffee shop in the heart of Swedish coffee culture. Good luck with your new venture!

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