The Coffee Shop Franchising Guide
Joining a coffee shop franchise is a great solution for entrepreneurs who prefer to use a proven model rather than start from scratch. Often, the most important decision you'll make when becoming a franchisee is which franchise to join. Use our carefully selected list of coffee shop franchises to find the right one for you.
COFFEE SHOP FRANCHISE OVERVIEW
Coffee shops are great for people who like to build long-lasting relationships—customers tend to be regulars, with some even coming in daily. Opening a coffee shop franchise typically requires $200,000-$700,000 of investment in addition to long hours and hard work early on. Passion for coffee is important, but there’s much more to running a coffee shop. As Brett Payne of Classic Rock Coffee Company puts it, “It’s not the coffee business that they’re getting into, or the restaurant business, it’s just business… A lot of people misunderstand that. They think it’s just about coffee—it’s not.”
From household names like Dunkin’ Donuts and Biggby Coffee to lesser-known gems like Sertino’s and Classic Rock Coffee, coffee shop franchises are popping up all over today. This means there is a large, stable market of coffee drinkers in just about any community. It also means that, to succeed, coffee shops must stand out. Whether it’s premium roasts that can’t be found anywhere else, or a unique concept that gets customers through the door, choosing the right franchise will help you succeed.
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 the best POS system, forming an actual company, and everything in between.
COFFEE SHOP FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITIES
Our list includes the largest, most well-recognized coffee shop franchises as well as smaller franchises known for having great training programs and strong support systems. We reached out to each franchise on the list, and were able to hold in-depth interviews with three: Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, Classic Rock Coffee and DRNK Coffee + Tea.
Wei and Lisa Bee founded the first Sweetwaters in 1993 in downtown Ann Arbor, MI near their alma mater, The University of Michigan. Inspired by their love of food and drink and driven by their creativity, Sweetwaters was conceived and brought to life. The marvelous result: a coffeehouse that celebrates globally influenced coffees and teas, focuses on real ingredients, and establishes deep roots within its community.
The only thing better than your favorite Sweetwaters location is living the Sweetwaters lifestyle. If you are a caring, fun-loving individual with a passion for community and a knack for managing young talent, we’re talking to you. Opening a Sweetwaters franchise of your own puts you in the driver’s seat to owning your own business and creating a meaningful place for people to study, relax, and connect.
Bringing together the energy jolt of coffee and the intensity of classic rock, CRCC serves up roasts like Breakfast in America Morning Brew and Barracuda Bite. Neon lights and distorted guitars set the mood for an exceptional new coffee experience. People bond over classic rock and people bond over coffee. Classic Rock Coffee Company helps bring those people together.
Classic Rock Coffee makes sure franchisees have the smoothest time possible getting started. As Director of Franchise Operations Brett Payne puts it, “we provide… everything that they need, soup to nuts, to get them from the time that they sign to the time that they're open. There's nothing that they have to do other than just approve things along the way.
Boasting organic espresso, coffees, teas, and freshly prepared food items, DRNK Coffee + Tea caters to the modern customer. Speaking about the company’s vision, VP of Strategic Growth Amir Atighehchi, said “we understood that there was a massive gap between the average coffee shop and the ultra-premium, boutique type coffee shop.” DRNK helps bridge that gap.
DRNK considers itself as a franchise for forward thinkers and views millennials as the driving force for upscale coffee sales. With a custom tailored model for franchisees, DRNK Coffee helps to ensure success from the day you open your doors and every day after that.
Dunn Brothers Coffee
Franchise Fee: $37,000
Total Investment: $388,200-$616,400
Minimum Net Worth: $500,000
Freshly brewed small batch coffee and delicious hand-crafted food are at the heart of Dunn Brothers Coffee. Coffee and food are not all Dunn Brothers is about, though. When customers buy from Dunn Brothers, they help support a company that donates to local food shelves and is actively involved in other ways to help its local area.
Franchise Fee: $35,000
Total Investment: $205,200-$512,950
Minimum Net Worth: Not listed
An upscale feel in an inviting neighborhood setting, Sertinos Cafe is full of comfy chairs, beautiful decor, and delicious food and drink. As coffee wafts through the air, customers can satisfy their cravings with a Peruvian roast and a freshly toasted panini. Sertinos is available in four states and looking to expand.
Franchise Fee: $15,000
Total Investment: $219,000
Minimum Net Worth: Not listed
At Biggby Coffee, the main focus is experience. Biggby believes in a fun, warm, and loving environment facilitated by great coffee. When you start a Biggby Coffee franchise, you help bring your community together.
Franchise Fee: $42,500
Total Investment: $75,000 – $350,000
Minimum Net Worth: $100,000
Maui Wowi has been serving Hawaiian coffee and all-natural, fresh fruit smoothies to happy customers for over thirty years. Placing emphasis on the spirit of “ohana,” or family culture, Maui Wowi invests a lot into training and support for new franchisees.
Franchise Fee: Not listed
Total Investment: Not listed
Minimum Net Worth: $500,000
From delicious jelly filled donuts to premium roast coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts serves up the best fare. A household name, Dunkin’ Donuts provides impeccable brand recognition. When you franchise with Dunkin’ Donuts, you can help make sure your neighborhood runs on Dunkin’.