The Best Distribution Strategies For Your Coffee Shop

As a coffeepreneur,  you have to think about how to disperse your product. Read on to learn the basic distribution strategies for your coffee shop and pick which will work!

The Best Distribution Strategies For Your Coffee Shop
For coffee shop owners, a direct distribution channel is a surefire way to maximize profit

Congratulations are in order! You now have a brand for your coffee shop that will resonate with your target market and entice them to choose your product. Now comes the next challenging part – how to distribute your products to fellow coffee lovers.

For coffee shop owners, a direct distribution channel is a surefire way to maximize profit, but other distribution strategies can be crucial to your success. It’s all down to choosing which works best.

Channels Of Distribution For Your Coffee Shop

barista holding a cup of coffee
Direct distribution means the product will come from the producer and then be sold directly to the consumers

There’s no one size fits all since several businesses use a combination of distribution channels.

Direct Distribution

In a nutshell, direct distribution means the product, or in this case, the coffee, will come from the producer and then be sold directly to the consumers. Start-ups and independent coffee brands utilize this as they fully control their brand’s marketing, distribution, and other operational expenses while receiving a chunk of the profit.

Preparation is key should you decide to go for this channel. The success or failure of the coffee shop will hinge on your performance as you will lead every aspect of the business, from storing and warehousing to price-determining and bartending. 

You’ll also find our round-up of the best accounting software for a coffee shop helpful.

Franchising Or Licensing

On another note, if you already have a coffee shop and are confident you’re ready to take another leap, opening your business to franchising or licensing can also be an effective strategy. 

It can expand your product to other promising areas in the country and, in a way, is still a form of direct distribution though you will rely on the franchisee or licensee to adhere to your plan and vision. Failure to do so might affect your brand’s reputation.

Event Catering

Some coffee shops offer catering services to open new revenue streams. Having your own sales team to create affordable packages for birthdays, weddings, or corporate events can bring additional profits to your business and set up an opportunity to promote your product and coffee shop.

Before you push through to distributing your product, ensure that you have a sound business and marketing plan

Online Grocer

a young man touching his tablet in a wooden table with a cup of coffee on the right side
You can create your own app and be an independent online grocer

You can create your own app and be an independent online grocer! As a direct distributor, you have the opportunity to become a trendsetter and introduce contactless payment terms and convenient coffee deliveries. You even have the chance to interact with your customers through loyalty programs, promotional announcements, and chat systems.

A downside is that you need to have existing outlets in different state areas before you can reap its full benefits.

Food Delivery Apps

You can apply as a food merchant/restaurant partner for food delivery apps such as Uber Eats or DoorDash. They can help deliver your product door-to-door if your regulars don’t have time to visit your coffee shop. The number of people using an app to order coffee has risen to 27% and is likely to increase yearly.

These platforms also offer sponsored listings, allowing your brand to be on top of the list should the app users consider buying coffee. Of course, you have to pay to utilize this feature.

Indirect Distribution

As the name suggests, there will be an additional character to the distribution process – a middleman or an intermediary who will sell your product for you. Your responsibilities will decrease, but so will your profit. 

If you plan to try this distribution channel, you must determine the product you will sell. 

Does your coffee shop make java brewed from your own coffee beans? Are you willing to introduce this to a wider market? Your hot blends can be challenging to sell outside your coffee shop, so do you have cold brews available to disperse? 

Retail And Convenience Stores

You can opt to become a supplier for companies such as Walmart or 7-Eleven as long as you meet their requirements. Once you sell your product to them, the responsibilities of storing, picking, and packing are taken care of. The convenience comes at a price as there will be additional fees for you to pay.


Starbucks utilizes e-tailers such as Amazon to sell their cold brews, so this is a viable option for you. Like retail businesses, they’ll be handling the warehousing duties so that you can focus on marketing and production. This is also an opportunity to introduce your product to a wider market and receive feedback from customers in real-time.


  • Renz Lyndon Paguio

    His love for java originated from sidewalk vendors offering cheap 3-in-1 instant coffees poured in styrofoam cups. If he’s not in a studio or in an event venue, you’ll find RL crafting his own cold brew or sharing his experiences to fellow coffeephiles.