A Guide on How to Start a Small Coffee Shop in the PhilippinesNews

    For most coffee enthusiasts, starting their own coffee shop is a lifelong goal. Dreaming of running a coffee shop is one thing, but turning it into a reality requires much effort—and money. Fortunately, there are thrifty ways to open a cafe with a low budget in the Philippines. All you need is dedication and the willingness to achieve your dreams.

    In this article, we'll show you how to start a small coffee shop and make your café dreams a reality!

    How to Open a Café with a Low Budget in the Philippines

    1. Prepare a business plan.

    Before you start operating a coffee shop or any other business, you must have a well-thought plan. Business plans are essential so that you have a guide to help you stay on track with your goals for sales and other operational milestones.

    Your coffee shop business plan should include goals, ideas, sales and marketing plans, and a forecast of how your business will do. Besides these, your plan should also identify your business structure. Are you going to be the sole owner? Or will you have partners in opening your small coffee shop? Such specifics are the bedrock of your company's future success, so you shouldn't ignore them. These can assist in measuring and managing your primary areas of concentration and determining whether or not your company is making a profit.

    2. Choose the type of coffee shop you want to launch.

    Next, you need to figure out the type of coffee you want to build. For a startup café, consider pop-up or mobile coffee shops.

    A pop-up coffee shop is one of the most versatile and inexpensive to launch. This type of low-budget coffee shop doesn’t operate in a fixed location. For the site, anywhere with lots of foot traffic (fairs, festivals, train and bus stations, etc.) is a workable area. Mobile coffee shops are an excellent way for entrepreneurs to test the waters in the coffee industry. This way, you can find out if people are interested in what your coffee shop has to offer and decide if you want to open in a permanent location.

    You may also consider a small fixed location for your coffee shop. Renting a place is one thing, but for a more cost-effective choice, start with building a stall in front of your house. Some new small coffee shops are built in the owners' front yards because they typically only require a small amount of space (a brewing station and a place for customers to sit and chat). By doing this, you can cut back on rent and other recurring expenses.

    3. Find a suitable location for your small coffee shop.

    Location is everything when you’re opening up a business. Carefully decide where you want to open your small coffee shop so that you can choose the best location to attract customers. As we’ve mentioned, you can cut back on some expenses if you build your café within your residential area. If it's not possible, look for rental spaces in areas with lots of foot traffic. You'll gain customers as long as there are people in the vicinity.

    4. Decide on a coffee shop theme.

    While it’s not necessary, themed coffee shops have grown in popularity in recent years. Using a theme, you can easily create a brand and image for your coffee shop, especially if your theme is unique and eye-catching. Even people who don't typically drink coffee will try to order a brew just to admire the shop's aesthetics.

    Opening a small, themed coffee shop can be daunting. But, with the right research and proper resources, you’ll be able to build one even with a tight budget. Here are some coffee shop themes you can work with:


    If you like vintage furnishings, greenery, wood, and exposed brick, you'll feel right at home in a rustic coffee shop. Choose timeless pieces and cozy seating if you're going for a small coffee shop with a speakeasy or boutique vibe. To get into the spirit of things, you can even give items on the menu names that have a rustic feel.


    If you're looking for something lively and exciting, a chic boho theme is the way to go. You can do this easily with a few well-chosen carpets, crocheted curtains, fairy lights, and wooden furniture. Also, combine earthy tones with neutrals or warm colors with cool colors to make a unique bohemian color scheme for your low-budget café.

    Pop Culture

    Another excellent way to reach people interested in popular culture would be to open a cafe themed after a popular work of fiction, music, film, or television. An example is a popular BTS-themed cafe in Quezon City called Purple 7 Cafè. The interiors of this coffee shop are beautifully planned. It has numerous photogenic nooks and crannies, perfect for a BTS fan. The café has a quiet elegance that makes it appealing not only to fans but also to people who are interested in design.

    5. Prepare the materials needed to open a low-budget coffee shop.

    By now, you should start searching for the materials and equipment you need for your future coffee shop. So, here are the essential materials you need for a startup coffee shop:

    • Coffee Beans

    Naturally, coffee is necessary for opening a coffee shop, and you wouldn't want to serve beverages made with instant coffee. Customers who love coffee don't just want a cup of joe; they want an immersive experience, and you can give them that by stocking your shop with high-quality beans.

    The best coffee beans aren’t that hard to find, and one innovative idea for starting your small coffee shop is to offer unique blends made from savory beans. The Philippines is home to various premium coffee beans, each producing its unique flavor when brewed. Some of the most popular beans grown in the country include Kapeng Barako, Robusta, and Excelsa. Consider using these coffee beans to brew blends so your customers can experience the exquisite flavors of Philippine coffee.

    • Brewing Equipment

    Once you’re done curating your selection of coffee beans, it’s time to canvass for brewing equipment.

    Brewing equipment is necessary to jumpstart your low-cost coffee business. When deciding which equipment to choose, consider your skills. Are you a novice, an experienced person, or somewhere in between? Even though you can learn how to use a coffee maker, the learning curve will be shorter if you first evaluate your abilities. If you're a beginner, you may start with drip coffees, French presses, and AeroPresses. However, if you already have the necessary knowledge, you might start with more advanced machinery, such as espresso machines that can brew multiple cups of coffee.

    Check out our collection of coffee shop equipment for sale in the Philippines to help you decide on your very first brewing equipment.

    • Other Coffee Shop Accessories

    If you’ve checked coffee beans and brewing equipment off your checklist, you can now look for other coffee shop accessories like cups, straws, tables, and chairs. These items may seem small, but they significantly impact how to open a cafe with a low budget in the Philippines. It's essential to find a reliable and affordable supplier for things like coffee shop cups and straws, which need restocking. For tables and chairs, you need to ensure they will last a long time and make your customers feel comfortable, so they will return for more.

    6. Don’t forget to register your business.

    Legally, you can't run a business unless it's been registered. So, as a final advice, we suggest you register your company. Part of being a business owner is seeking legal counsel to know how to set up your small coffee shop. Additionally, you may go through the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Trade and Industry websites to learn more about business registrations.

    Benefits of Starting a Coffee Shop

    With the pandemic easing and more people venturing outside, many coffee shops are re-opening and opening across the country. In addition to easing pandemic restrictions, there are other good reasons to get your coffee shop business plan in motion as soon as possible. So, here’s why you should start your café shop in the Philippines:

    • Become your own boss

    Gaining financial independence and being your own boss is the pinnacle of success. With a business of your own, you don't have to worry about the 9-to-5 grind that plagues many people's lives. You'll have a complete say over every aspect of the business, from planning to day-to-day operations, allowing you to unleash your full creative potential.

    • Get more profit

    With your own business, you’ll be able to earn more income. Starting a business involves risking your own money and thinking of innovative ideas for a coffee shop. The key to making a good profit from your small coffee shop concept is keeping startup costs low, which you can do by thoroughly investigating all available options. With the right plans and resources, you’ll be able to earn a profit in no time.

    • Support local coffee farms

    As you support your dreams, you’ll also support local businesses, such as farms producing local coffee. Most startup coffee shops obtain their coffee beans from local suppliers because they’re more cost-effective and of superior quality. By doing so, you will assist those who wish to promote their products while gaining popularity yourself.

    Start Planning the Coffee Shop of Your Dreams

    Planning your dream coffee shop takes time, money, and resources. Before you can begin operating one, you must carefully consider all the aspects of starting a small coffee shop. Just keep in mind that creating a coffee shop doesn't require a lot of money. All it takes is determination, patience, and the will to become your own boss.

    What are you waiting for? Start planning the coffee shop of your dreams now!