Cafe Design - DNA for The Specialty Coffee and Tea Industry


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Coffee Science

The National Coffee Association's Coffee Science Source is a convenient, one-stop compendium of breaking news, facts and figures about the world's favorite beverage. Nearly 8 in 10 Americans drink coffee, and new, coffee-related information emerges from wide-ranging sources every day. On CSS, consumers, researchers, coffee aficionados, journalists, Web crawlers and others can find the most up-to-date information on coffee, caffeine and health - from history and brewing techniques to chemical properties and breaking scientific research.



Construction/Startup Costs


This is a question that we get from every client.  Here is an example of what could be...

Let's take an existing retail commercial space in a upper mid-scale neighborhood that had a previous use such as a retail store or even a yogurt shop.  The space to be improved is around 1,250 square feet with 30 feet of storefront exposure.  A change of use in this case, may not be required.  You want a walk in-sit down modestly outfitted full cafe menu, limited service NO COOKING; no grease trap.  Available parking is abundant and there are existing ADA restrooms.  Figure $145,000 for build-out; $42,500 for casework; $60,000 for equipment; $12,000 for a decent espresso machine; $11,500 for tables and chairs, then add in rent, supplies, food, coffee, staff, advertising, marketing and social networking, etc...don't forget municipal fees & building permits, on-site barista training, and so on...Cafe Design can help you plan and project your costs by providing detailed cost estimates and budgets for all aspects of your project before things get out of hand...


Hiring a Designer or Architect


Differences between Interior Design & Interior Decorating


Many people use the terms "interior design" and "interior decorating" interchangeably, but these professions differ in critical ways.

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people's behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.


Interior designers apply creative and technical solutions within a structure that are functional, attractive and beneficial to the occupants' quality of life and culture. Designs respond to and coordinate with the building shell and acknowledge the physical location and social context of the project. Designs must adhere to code and regulatory requirements and encourage the principles of environmental sustainability.


The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology—including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process—to satisfy the needs and resources of the client.


Many U.S. states and Canadian provinces have passed laws requiring interior designers to be licensed or registered—documenting their formal education and training—and many of them specifically require that all practicing interior designers earn the NCIDQ Certificate to demonstrate their experience and qualifications. By contrast, interior decorators require no formal training or licensure.


There are plenty of things to know about hiring a designer. The NCIDQ is our standard:


Food Safety & State Food Code

Each state has their own food safety programs and/or food code. Click here to find out more about your state's food code.

Hiring a Specialty Consultant


Hiring coffee, restaurant or retail cafe consultants is a necessity. Cafe Design & Architecture recommends that if you have never operated a retail coffee establishment it is very important that you consider a good training program or Barista School prior to opening.  Cafe Design will be an integral part of your business, we can assist you in selecting the right equipment and venue for your proposed menu, aesthetic and demographic. We work with the Specialty Coffee Industry's most revered consluting firm because they love what they do! 


Integrating Sustainability

The design phase of opening a retail cafe is the perfect time to integrate sustainability practices into your business.   Implementing measures such as energy efficient lighting and appliances, water conservation devices and green product purchasing can not only save money, but can also give your cafe a marketing edge and keep you ahead of state and local legislation.  Cafe Design & Architecture has decades of experience in sustainable design practices and LEED certification (see below), and our colleagues at Green Cafe Network are a great resource with expertise in green cafe operations, product purchasing and employee education. 


USGBC - LEED Certification


LEED for Commercial Interiors is the green benchmark for the tenant improvement market. It is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. LEED for Commercial Interiors gives the power to make sustainable choices to tenants and designers, who do not always have control over whole building operations.

Getting Involved with Specialty Coffee Organizations

A coffee trade show such as Coffee Fest or SCAA will be invaluable for your beginning and continuing education on the products and services offered in the coffee industry.

Barista Training and Coffee Schools

There are several very good Barista and Coffee Education schools that new cafe owners can go to learn about everything about espresso equipment daily maintenance to properly marketing your retail cafe business. We recommend that you speak to the school directors and get a feel for what type of experience you want to have. 

Coffee Shop Design - Cafe Designs

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