How about these independent coffee shops? How do they make it financially?

Hi folks,
Sorry if posted in the wrong section.
Today with my wife, we went to an independent coffee shop, just a minute walk from home, in Tainan City.
The coffee shop feels new, decoration and all look very clean. The renovation of the place had to cost a large sum of money.
They offered some “exotic” coffees, for example lemon coffee, which my wife ordered, and I went for the cola coffee.
Both are 130 NTD… but I also noticed that the American coffee was 200 NTD :neutral_face:

The thing is, we have two Louisa close to home, both circa 12 minutes walk, and my favorite coffee there is 75 or 80 NTD (If i remember correctly). And that’s a big cup (the one called “Louisa Special”).

How do these independent coffee shops make it financially?
It was run by a couple (at least they looked a couple), and there was an employee, so assuming two bosses, and one employee in total. There was like 8 or 10 seats available.
Would I go back to drink a 130 NTD cola coffee? Probably not. Same for my wife with the lemon coffee.

This couple looked very friendly, very nice and professional (not the amateur kind you often encounter these days). So nothing personal, but just wondering how these small coffee shops make it? I’ll go to Louisa or Cama everyday instead, that’s the harsh truth. Must be hard for these independent shops to survive…

Opinions? :upside_down_face:

By charging more. Sometimes they do offer better quality, special brews etc etc, but value is in the eye of the wallet-holder.

Independent breweries are in a similar situation, offering beer at a much MUCH higher price than commercial brands. Those that do offer a better / unique product can make it.

I mean, think about burgers: McDonald’s for 100NT or a good burger joint for 220/250?
If the cola coffee you had was amazing then I think you’d consider going back there every now and then, even at the extra cost compared to Luisa etc.

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On my block every 3 months a new coffee shop opens. Every 6 months one closes down. Some survive, but many are never profitable. I guess some are sponsored by rich spouses, parents, uncles…


To be honest, so far I have not been an independent coffee shop charging twice the Louisa price, and thinking it was really worth going back. Not saying it was bad coffee by any mean… that’s just me, maybe.

Yep, I was thinking that actually, and not only coffee shops but these shops selling “memories” at a very cheap price, I always wonder how they make it.

Alot of these places make most of thier money from delivery’s. The shop I go to, nearly every day, since its the best coffee ive ever had, only has 3 tables, 3 chairs at each, and im usually the only one there.
They get walkups, since thier counter faces straight out to the walkway, but I see alot, i mean alot of deliveries go out while im there, also batch pickups.

Yesterday I saw 3 people walk up, all 3 stopped with thier scooter to get a coffee, then a person in a car dropped by, picked up around 6 and left within a minute. All this and the girl there was constantly delivering.

Coffee and food places here arent like the rest of the world, they almost all deliver, and given the prices are so low, compared to garbucks, and tastes better, they will get alot of calls.

Place i go to is called Coffee and Soul, yellow banner, black writing, south aribican beans. Had my nan over last year and she got a tiny little expresso, she even said its the best coffee shes ever had, and shes like 85 and drinks it daily from coffee shops in NZ. Where i might add, is over double the price for what we pay here! 70 for large iced double milk cappucino, oh and the best part, they will do double or triple shot, no extra charge!


I’ve wondered this myself. I go to a little independent shop where they have excellent coffee and snacks, but they never seem to have more than, like, three customers in there. Often when I turn up, there’s nobody else there at all. Prices are about the same as Louisa but the quality is immeasurably better.

Dunno how he even pays his rent, nevermind earning a living.

What? Is this an actual thing now?


Probably money laundering or financed by rich husbands that have wives with too much time.


I dunno. Starbucks seems to do well and their prices are insane.

However, on a side note, if they claim their coffee has anything to do with Italy again, i’m going to Seattle to personally lose my mind on Howard Schultz.

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I think at least some of them own that property anyway, or they’re already rich enough that there’s not really a lot of financial pressure to begin with.

My version

Shops or businesses use nearly everything they buy even in daily life as a tax deduction.

A lot of people even though educated cannot get jobs or reasonable salaries so they open their own coffee shop and struggle through.

Owners and family frequently do not take any salary.

Coffee shops tend to rent smaller spaces on side streets where the rent is lower or could be owned by family.

Shops sometimes stay open more days and longer hours to make income.

Estimate monthly rent at $40000 and sell a cup of coffee for $80 so need to sell 500 cups a month or about 16 cups a day.

Or different way to estimate monthly rent is $40000 then need to sell $1300 a day or around 16 cups a day at $80 or 10 cups a day at $120.

Rent in smaller towns is probably closer to $20000 a month so only need to sell 250 cups a month or 8 cups per day at $80.

Then add in all the other expenses like supplies, utilties and salaries.

My bad, I meant souvenir shops.

i was thinking about this too. louisa is basically trying to compete with starbucks. and imo its basically the same experience as starbucks but 3 times cheaper. theres no reason to go to starbucks but still taiwanese love the brand for god knows what reason.

but as a side effect, for me anyway, those independent coffee shops might suffer. they really offer nothing i can’t get in louisa for cheaper. other than a bit more peace and quiet.
they basically all have the same decor and concept. independent business’s are very cookie cutter here.

if some offered something different, some unique drinks or good food then i would have more of a reason to use them. there WAS one in my neighborhood with good western style food but it just closed down annoyingly.

personally i would like to see some more work style cafes. big tables, plugs, without the shabby aesthetic. i’ve never seen a louisa without the work tables totally full up so i think that type of thing would work here.

that said, there are some really nice independent places. but i find i dont fancy going back after 1 visit.

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Coffee costs like less then 1 TWD a cup so it’s all profit.

The cup plus sleeve and lid alone is 3 - 5 NTD. Not sure you would want to drink coffee made from beans that are less than 1 NTD per cup.

Could buy a whole bag and drink for a week for the cost like 40TWD… coffee is cheap. Starbucks just pulled of the trick to make people not care about paying for it more.

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Let me know where you buy your coffee. I’d be happy to try it.

How about you go to the store and look for yourself?

I just haven’t been able to find any coffee for NT$40 a bag in Taiwan, that’s why I am asking.

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