I have a question for the coffee shop owners. Do you see more customers in the morning, in the day, or at night? Would a coffee shop that’s only open from 5 pm until late at night be a good idea?

Arizona Coffee

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. I used to work in a coffee shop and our busiest hours were from six am to 8 am. After the lunch crowd finished eating at about 1:30 business rapidly declined. The owner eventually started closing at five pm rather than 8 pm because there was no business during those hours. I worked from 5:30 am to 2 pm officially. In reality I usually had to work from 5 am to a little past 3. After 10 am the day was really easy.

  2. I think you have to have a special offering — art shows, song writers, independent films, discount menu, etc — to have later hours. These events also needs to be consistently offered.

    There was a place in Nashville that was open 24 hours a day and it was packed almost the entire time. Late hours is not for every shop. I agree with Otto that almont all shops to their business in the first 4 hours of the day.

    ..be bold

  3. MikeFTrevino

    This question does not take into account the location of the shop which will greatly impact who your target audience.
    But yes, a shop that is only open from 5pm until late would be viable. I’ve worked in shops where the drawer in the last eight hours matched that of the first twelve. If you’re in Green valley a late night shop like this might not work. If you are surrounded by dinner food places or bars, your crowd may be more late night.
    Who are your late night crowd? Students, bikers, any standard partier, plus your after hours crowd exiting the bar. These are the people you want to attract and be near. However, these shops need supplies delivered and as far as in know places like Finest Kind, US Foods, Albar, and the like stop delivering after a certain time, plus coffee shipments (if you have a supplier) are typicaly UPS or FedEx and they don’t schedual deliveries. I think a slightly earlier opening will ease supply delivery worries. Heavy advertisement to your target audience will get the idea through that your shop is a late night shop and to be anyhere else at 3am in the morning is just rediculous. Party on:)

  4. You know for late night I would recommend an Arab style cafe with hookah smoking. I prefer to smoke in the afternoon, but many people wait til after dinner before Turkish coffee and narghile.

  5. I like to go in the morning and evening, but then I don’t actually own a shop.

    Ben O.

    SBC (originally Stewart Brothers Coffee) actually started even before Starbucks, and it’s pretty darn good.

  6. Wow, great feedback everyone. I actually asked this because some friends of mine have spoken about opening a shop that would cater to the night crowd. I just thought it would be interesting to get some feedback. I think based on everything here I’d recommend having a morning shift. Most coffeehouses do, it’s great business, and I’d hate to have a reputation for not being open in the morning when so many people want coffee.

  7. MikwFTrevino

    Chris, ask your friends if they’ve ever been to Safehouse in Tucson? They might get some ideas if they visit on a friday or saturday night. It’s always been a hoppin’ joint.

  8. Charlie Panipinto

    It comes to this, look at your business plan, there should be a blurb where you pinpoint your Target Demographic, these are your customer base (they’re pretty important to any business).
    The target demographic defines what, who, where, and how much. If you’re counting on commuter traffic to fill your drawer, your hours should support commuters. Be mindful which side of the road you open on, no matter how good the coffee, service, or other offerings are, if it’s on the south side of the road when commuters are headed east in the morning, you’ll starve.
    Shop hours should be carefully chosen, shop overheads can skyrocket, air
    conditioning is expensive, facilities maintenance has to happen, paying living wages to employees when there’s little going on will eat you alive.
    In coffee it’s hard to learn from anyone but your own mistakes, and you can’t often count on your luck. Your best bet is a strong plan, makes you think about everything.
    Even with a well developed plan you’ll be amazed what things will happen that never crossed your mind.

    There are a bunch of good books, on business plans, they all give a lot of weight to making sure you know your clients. One of our biggests competitors is Circle K, we’ve got a starbucks across the parking lot from us and we still see those brown styrofoam cups every morning.