How to Open a Coffee Shop in Tennessee

Welcome to Tennessee sign

If you want to learn how to open a coffee shop in Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place!

You don’t have to do it alone – or pay hefty franchise or coffee school fees.

Instead, learn how to start a prosperous coffee business in Tennessee through our proven 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success process.

Why listen to our advice? We have decades of coffee industry experience since our founder started roasting coffee in 1991. Over three decades, we’ve won major awards, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year.

Plus, our experienced coffee shop startup consultants have helped five Tennessee entrepreneurs open and grow their independent coffee shops.

Owners of shops in Tennessee cities and towns – including Dickson, Johnson City, Limestone, Sevierville and Sweetwater – have learned how to open a coffee shop through our 7 Steps to Success coffee shop startup program.

Through our program, we can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan  and provide insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop in your Tennessee community.

As a one-stop shop for independent coffee shop owners, Crimson Cup can also help you find a terrific location, lay out your shop, hire and train staff, market your shop and more. You’ll also gain access to award-winning coffee and coffee shop products that will keep your customers coming back!

Keep reading to learn more or call 888-800-9224 now to connect with our coffee shop consulting team!

Tennessee is a Terrific State to Open a Coffee Shop!

With only seven major coffee chain locations per 100,000 residents in Tennessee, there’s plenty of opportunity to open and run a successful independent coffee shop in your local community.

Tennessee ranks 41st in coffee shops per capita, according to a study by Zoma Sleep. The study counted 7,681 Tennessee residents for every coffee shop in the Volunteer state.

Considering that 62 percent of Americans drink coffee, averaging three cups per day, it’s safe to say there’s room for many more coffee shops in Tennessee.

And, according to the National Coffee Association, coffee drinkers are flocking to espresso-based beverages brewed from high-quality beans. Consumption of cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas has increased by a staggering 50 percent since 2015, driven in part by strong popularity with 25-39-year-olds.

Small Tennessee Cities Present Big Opportunities

Small town TennesseeWith many counties in Tennessee underserved by major coffee chains, it might pay to consider starting a coffee shop in a small city or town outside of major metropolitan areas such as Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

Many of the 346 cities, towns, and villages in Tennessee lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee.

Does your city or town need an independent coffee shop? Would you like to be the result that comes up when people in your part of Tennessee search for “coffee near me?”

Tennessee is Open for Small Business

Ranked 4th in the USA by Forbes for ease of doing business, Tennessee is a terrific place to open a coffee shop!

Home to over 600,000 small businesses, the State of Tennessee focuses on creating an environment where entrepreneurs can prosper.

You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the State of Tennessee government website.

This website assists small and medium Tennessee businesses with:

  • Assessing the feasibility of starting a business
  • Writing a business plan
  • Choosing a legal business structure (many coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations.)
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

The Tennessee Business Enterprise Resource Office also publishes a Smart Start Guide, which has tools to help you visualize your business model and connect with resources across the state.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center has resources to help you start, grow and sustain your business.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Experts

Training a baristaAs a coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup believes our company only succeeds when our customers do.

As a result, we support coffee shop owners at every step, from concept through opening day and beyond.

A one-stop shop for independent coffee shops, Crimson Cup supplies award-winning coffee and industry-leading coffee shop equipment and supplies.

Based on the book, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert, our program covers everything business owners need to run profitable coffee shops:

  • Writing a sound business plan
  • Choosing a terrific location
  • Calculating startup and operating costs
  • Designing an efficient shop layout
  • Choosing an espresso machine and other coffee shop equipment
  • Training your baristas
  • Marketing your shop to attract customers
  • And much more.

Backed by over 30 years of specialty coffee know how, our 7 Steps to Success program has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs in over 30 states – including Tennessee – how to open and run successful independent coffee shops.

Tennessee Coffee Shop Owners Recommend the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in Tennessee say they saved time and money and grew their coffee business faster by following our 7 Steps to Success.

But don’t take our word for it. Read on to learn how two coffee shop owners describe their experience in working with our team.

Open Doors Coffeehouse, Johnson City, Tennessee – Founded 2016

Staff behind Open sign at Open Doors Coffee House in Johnson City, TenneseeIn 2016, Owners Sherry and Michael Marion followed our 7 Steps road map to create Open Doors Coffeehouse at 101 E. 8th Ave. in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Housed in a former Long John Silver’s restaurant building, Open Doors has become a gathering place for locals.

“Our mission is to provide a great place for terrific coffee, service and community,” Michael Marion said. “We are locally owned and very connected with the community.”

“We like to see our front porch as a place to connect with people in the adjoining neighborhoods,” he added. “We have loved on and redeemed this little corner in Johnson City.”

Voted the best coffee shop in the Best in Johnson City awards for the past several years, Drive-thru at Open Doors Coffee Shop johnson city tennesseeOpen Doors serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks. Belgian Liege waffles, biscuits and gravy, and a variety of muffins, scones and other sweet treats round out the menu.

Sherry Marion says friendly service is central to the shop’s success. “Our staff knows customer names, personal details and, of course, the way they like their drink,” she said. “They love that we sometimes have their drink ready as they walk in or pull up to the drive through!”

Our 7 Steps to Success team has supported the Marions from the very beginning of their coffee journey.

“When my husband began thinking and dreaming of having a coffee shop, he discovered Crimson Cup,” Sherry said.

“He went to visit their Columbus, Ohio headquarters and decided we would benefit by partnering with this company. Crimson Cup has done a lot of the hard work by figuring out and fine tuning processes and finding what works best.”

“There’s so much you have to consider and figure out,” she added. “It’s much simpler to have Crimson Cup provide layout, equipment, products and training as a proven system.”

Michael said our hands-on training and ongoing availability has been “incredible,” adding, “I have found their consultants to be kind, friendly and very available to help.”

“I would absolutely encourage others to seek out Crimson Cup’s help,” he concluded.

To support the local community, the Marions collaborate on discount cards for many organizations, offer discounts to several businesses and house local artisans’ work.

“We desire to continue to grow and be a substantial source of income for our non-profit, Rise Up for Kids!” Michael said. “We started this local ministry in 1994.”

Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse, Sweetwater, Tennessee – Founded 2018

Street view of Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse Sweetwater TennesseeAfter 24 years as a Registered Nurse, Kendra Moreau was feeling stagnant in that profession and in life. “I was reflecting and praying and felt like God was leading me to open a coffee shop,” she said.

Despite her dream, Kendra knew only enough about coffee to brew a pot in the morning before her shift at the hospital. She turned to our 7 Steps program for guidance.

“I searched online and then bought the book and knew this was a great fit,” Moreau said. “I love feeling like we are part of a family. Everyone at Crimson Cup has been so kind and helpful.”

Customer and baristas inside Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse Sweetwater TennesseeAfter renovating a vintage downtown building and working through training with Crimson Cup, Moreau opened Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse at 111 N. Main St., Suite A, in Sweetwater in March 2018.

The shop serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks.

Rounding out the menu are an assortment of sweet and savory treats such as maple bacon scones, baked apple fritters, muffins, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter energy bites, baked oatmeal and quiche.

As she worked through the 7 Steps, Kendra found two steps especially helpful: Step Five, Focus on Training; and Step Six, Customer Service.

“I told 7 Steps Trainer Steve Bayless while he was here training us that I could not even imagine trying to do this without such expertise and history of coffee,” she said. “But customer service ranks above all. It’s not what you do or say, it’s how you make customers feel!”

Part of her mission in creating a Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse was to fuel the revitalization of historic downtown Sweetwater. “We believe coffee is more than a product,” she said. “It’s a bridge to community…a space that fosters relationships that matter over products that taste and do good.”

At its essence, she said, “This little coffee shop is about relationships. We hope that when you walk into our door you feel the love of the Father and know that you have a home here and are always welcome.”

Ready to Start Your Tennessee Coffee Shop Journey?

Begin by reading the book that put hundreds of other coffee shop owners on the road to success!

Backed by a risk-free guarantee, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee lays out a map for creating a thriving business serving your local community.

Inside the book, you’ll find a proven template for creating a solid coffee shop business plan, plus guidance on everything you need to get up and running.

Questions about opening a coffee shop? We’re here to help!

Call 888-800-9224 to connect with our coffee shop consulting team during regular business hours. Nights and weekends, you’re welcome to fill out this form, and we’ll get right back to you!