7 Event Ideas for Your Coffee Shop

Since their inception in 1511, coffee houses provided a space in which communities could come together. In modern times, however, these businesses more commonly offer just a means of caffeination. This leads to missed opportunities to earn some extra income and boost customer engagement by hosting special events.

If you own or operate a coffee shop, you probably experience the occasional slow afternoon or evening. Events can not only attract new customers, but also generate income to compensate for those less profitable hours of the day.

Recommended: Read our full, in-depth How to Start a Coffee Shop Business guides, inspired by coffee professionals, they will help make your coffee dreams real, from sourcing beans to hiring baristas, choosing a POS system, forming an actual company, and everything in between.


Choosing the Right Type of Event

If you’re looking for an event to boost sales and promote a sense of community within your business, here are seven ideas to consider:

1. Board Game Nights

This fun and interactive event concept encourages customers to stop by with friends or family to participate in an unusual coffee shop activity while enjoying tasty beverages.

How to Do It:

  • Supply a collection of classic board games — or invite customers to bring their own games — and let them take it from there.
  • Offer a featured drink at a discounted price to encourage customers to drink up while they play.

2. Public Cuppings

Engage your customers with a public cupping of several coffees you currently serve. This type of event provides a great way to share your product while encouraging interested coffee consumers to dive into a process used worldwide in the coffee community. Another key benefit of this type of event is the open invitation, which means you don’t need to close the shop to normal walk-in business. Customers coming in to simply buy a coffee may even join your cupping event and learn more about your product.

How to Do It:

  • Schedule your cupping for a slower time of day when you still have adequate staff, but a less-crowded space.
  • Pick the coffees — ideally, three or more — that you’d like to share with your customers. If possible, choose at least three coffees that represent different origins and processing techniques.

Pro Tip: If your public cuppings are a hit, consider offering cuppings for private parties and company events as well.

3. Open Mic Performances

Comedy, music, and poetry all offer ways to incorporate open mic performances into your shop’s event schedule. Open mic events can attract performers and spectators alike while boosting sales and foot traffic.

How to Do It:

  • Research the most popular types of performances in your area and then host one specific type of open mic event, such as a comedy night, or a combination of several.
  • Find someone to host your open mic event who represents the community it will highlight.
  • Require attendees to pay a cover charge or purchase a minimum number of drinks.

4. Latte Art Competitions

Turn your event into a truly community affair by hosting a latte art competition with your fellow baristas and cafe owners.

How to Do It:

  • Connect with your local coffee community and set a date.
  • Plan ahead to stock up with additional milk and coffee.
  • Raise the stakes by requiring an entry fee, a portion of which will go to the competition winner.

5. Collaborative Pop-Up Events With Local Vendors

Invite your favorite tea shop, chocolatier, or other local vendor to host a pop-up event in your cafe. Make the event more special by offering custom drinks or other menu items that either feature the vendor’s products or take inspiration from them.

How to Do It:

  • Connect with one or more local businesses and have them set up booths in your cafe with samples of their products.
  • Feature a special menu item based on the local artisan’s products and/or a discount on their products during the event.

6. Creative Workshops

Depending on the size of your space, hosting workshops can benefit your business as well as local creatives. Workshops focused on activities like wreath-making, painting, or other creative endeavors can appeal to customers looking to learn something new.

How to Do It:

  • Collaborate with another local shop, such as florist, or a local artist, such as a painter, to teach your customers their craft.
  • Ideally, host this event after your normal business hours and sell tickets in advance to ensure you have the correct amount of space and materials.
  • Offer a featured drink special with the purchase of a ticket to help entice some new faces into your cafe.

7. Venue Rentals

As a coffee shop owner, you probably invested considerable time and effort into making your business a space in which customers want to spend time. Why not capitalize on that appealing environment by renting your space out as a special event venue? Coffee shops can make ideal event spaces because they offer a unique atmosphere along with a supply of beverages and small bites.

How to Do It:

  • Rent your space out for company parties, personal events, and more with the option for a barista to staff the event at an additional charge.
  • Charge a catering fee for any food you provide during an event, if you opt to supply this.
  • Aim to offer rentals during slower hours, such as afternoons or weekends, if you’re located in a business area.

Advertising Your Event

Once you find the perfect event idea for your coffee shop, it’s time to build interest among potential and existing customers. Your event advertising should include basic information (e.g., time, date, and location) as well as details about the specific activity and any specials you’ll feature during that time.

Follow this formula to effectively advertise your event:

  1. Start with the headline so customers understand the type of event you plan to host. For example, your headline might read “Open Mic Night” or “Wreath-Making Workshop.” As the most eye-catching part of your advertising, this should appear as the biggest and brightest copy. Use a bold color scheme that doesn’t look too busy, and limit any accompanying images or graphics to just what you need to grab customers’ attention without overwhelming them.

    Pro Tip: To make a poster or other advertisement that seamlessly transfers from print to digital platforms, use simple images or graphics. Customers may find it difficult to see more complex images or graphics on digital platforms like Instagram that they access on a smartphone’s small screen.

  2. Next, add the important details. These include when and where the event will occur as well as how much the event costs. Include any information your customers will need in order to participate in this event at about half the font size of your headline copy. Use a bold, yet readable font that complements the font used in your business name or logo.

  3. Finally, add the fine print. This includes any other information you want to convey, such as featured drink specials or product discounts. Make this information the smallest text on your digital or physical ad.

Finally, here are several ideas on where to distribute your event ads:

  • Hang event posters in your coffee shop as well as in any local businesses that welcome them.
  • Publish social media posts that feature your event leading up to — and on the day of — your event. This approach can generate the most traction with people who don’t often visit your business in person.
  • Post portable flyers in your shop and around your neighborhood to allow interested customers to take and share them with friends.
  • Generate strong word-of-mouth advertising by asking your employees to tell customers about the upcoming event. This can help engage customers while giving your baristas a talking point when they take orders.

Pro Tip: Create a drink special that aligns with your event theme. For example, create a new specialty drink just for the event or discount an existing drink you think complements the overall event theme.

Every coffee shop, city, and neighborhood is different. Research what’s popular in your area and then host events that will appeal to your local community. Check out our guide on Growing a Coffee Shop Business for more ideas on how to grow a coffee shop.

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