When opening your own coffee shop, think deeply about the specific neighborhood you are in and methods that might work for you to reach customers. Some of these may be methods other coffee shops, bars, and restaurants have used, and others may occur to you by thinking from the perspective of your customers. Here are two examples of common marketing methods to consider.
Since purchasing a cup of coffee, other beverage, or a snack at a coffee shop is often an impulse purchase, your street presence must be attractive and compelling to passersby. Your shop signage must display your business name clearly and leave no question about what you sell, whether through words or images (for example, image of a coffee mug). Sandwich boards posted on the sidewalk can add additional space to promote specific items or deals, but make sure to check the legality of where you can and cannot put items on the sidewalk. Likewise, make sure to check on the laws regulating banners or signs that jut out over the sidewalk. Permits from the city may be required for these.
No matter what you choose, take care to make sure your exterior design is consistent and attractive. Using a professional designer to handle this or to consult on dos and don'ts can be a great help. The exterior design should have the same feel as the interior design, so that the 'promises' made by the look of the street graphics is fulfilled by the environment and services inside your coffee shop.
Offering free samples on the street or at a separate station within the store can be a simple way to generate excitement and interest in your shop soon after it opens. If you have an exciting signature coffee or drink you can find a way to offer sample size cups, although offering small food items may be simpler.
Make sure to have an employee assigned to the free samples, both to ensure that they are properly looked after and replenished and to be able to discuss the story behind the new shop with customers. This kind of staff-customer interaction is just as important to a successful free sample campaign as the ability for customers to try your products without commitment.