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8 Best Foods to Put on Your Coffee Shop Menu: Tasty & Popular Ideas

a colorful handwritten menu on a chalkboard in a coffee shop

In today’s world, coffee shops are much more than places to grab a cup of coffee; they are places to socialize, write a great American novel, work on a book proposal, or hang out with friends. You can get a lot more than a cup of coffee in most coffee shops. From ordering lattes and cappuccinos to frappes and cold brews, coffee shops have changed a lot.

One way they’ve changed is that most have delectable and varied food choices on their menu. If you’re wondering which recipes to put on your coffee shop menu, we will give you our top eight favorites in the guide below. Stay tuned after the list for some other tidbits of information you’ll want to have when opening your coffee shop.

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Top 8 Foods to Put On Your Coffee Shop Menu

1. Donuts

donuts in a box
Image Credit: dohnalovajane, Pixabay

The one thing that hasn’t changed about coffee shops is that coffee and donuts go together. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, there are over 10 billion donuts eaten in a single year. Whether for breakfast, a morning snack, or an afternoon treat, donuts and coffee are an ideal combination.

2. Bagels

bagel on a tray
Image Credit: RaviKrishnappa, Pixabay

It’s essential to note that some customers will not want sweet treats with their coffee. That’s where keeping a good supply of savory bagels comes in. As with donuts, it’s estimated that over 10 million bagels are eaten daily in the United States alone; that’s a lot of bagels.

They can be served with butter, cream cheese, eggs, or even turned into a sandwich. Just like donuts, they are easy to make and serve and come in several flavors. Bagels also go great with coffee, whether it’s a latte or a regular old cup of Joe.

3. Baked Goods and Pastries

a slice of chocolate cake
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

While some coffee lovers like donuts and bagels, others prefer a baked treat or pastry with their morning or afternoon cup of coffee. While these might not work for the low-calorie, health-conscious people in your shop, they will work for those who aren’t watching their waistlines.

In fact, surveys show that most people expect a coffee shop to carry homemade baked goods and pastries. You can make them yourself in the shop or get them from a local supplier.

Here are some suggestions for baked goods and pastries.

  • Strudel
  • Cannoli
  • Pies
  • Pretzels
  • Danishes
  • Eclairs
  • Cakes

4. Sandwiches and Flatbreads

Image Credit: LuckyLife11, Pixabay

It’s always a good idea to carry a variety of sandwiches and flatbreads for your customers. Sandwiches are the perfect addition to any coffee shop menu. Not only are they perfect for the lunchtime crowd, but they are also ideal for generating sales after that mad morning rush. After all, who doesn’t love a tasty sandwich and a mug of coffee? We’ll give you a few sandwiches to choose from for your coffee shop.

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Beef
  • Sausage
  • Vegan
  • Panni
  • Peanut butter and jelly

5. Soups

chicken soup
Image Credit: Anestiev, Pixabay

Nothing goes better with a sandwich and a cup of coffee in the winter than a piping hot bowl of soup. Some of your customers might even enjoy the soup on summer days, so keep at least a few on the menu. Not only does having soup on the menu keep your customers happy, but it also increases your bottom line.

Soups, sandwiches, and coffee are tickets to higher sales for your shop, especially in the cooler months. Also, soups are easy to make, store, and serve to hungry customers.

6. To-Go Items

chocolate bars
Image Credit: ExplorerBob, Pixabay

You’ll find out relatively quickly when you open the doors to your coffee shop that not every customer has the time to sit, eat, and drink their coffee. Especially in the mornings, you’ll have customers who are in a rush.

That’s why having to-go items that pair well with coffee are essential in any coffee shop that wants to be successful. Although this entry is not technically food, we thought it was important to include it for new coffee shop owners. Some of the best foods to feature as to-go items include:

  • Cookies
  • Chocolate
  • Donuts
  • Food bars

7. Healthy Food Options

putting gluten free label into freshly baked loaves of bread
Image Credit: Daisy Daisy, Shutterstock

While the items listed above are excellent foods to offer on your coffee shop menu, you also need to cater to the health conscious if you want your coffee shop to be the place to go in town. Foods with less sugar, fat, and carbs are expected to be served in coffee shops today.

Including these foods increases your bottom line and shows your customers you care about their wants and needs. Some great healthy food options are as follows.

  • Gluten-free snacks
  • Nut-free snacks
  • Kosher food
  • Kosher snacks

8. Signature Items

signature sandwich
Image Credit: 18447160, Pixabay

Every coffee shop must have its own set of signature items on the menu. You want something that customers come to your shop to try and keep returning to purchase.

The signature food item you choose should be special and unique to your shop. For example, your business may be the only place to get a particular type of soup or special sandwich. Your signature items should be what people think of when they hear the name of your coffee shop and how they recommend it to others.

Every coffee shop needs a hook; make your signature item yours.

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Other Things Needed for a Successful Coffee Shop

While the items you put on your menu can make or break your coffee shop, food isn’t the only thing you need for your shop to be a success. We’ll give you a few other factors you should consider in this section.

Room for Prep and Storage

It stands to reason that the more food you offer at your coffee shop, the more room you’ll need to prep, store, and serve. You’ll need shelving, storage bins, fridge space, and maybe extra countertop space.

Menu Boards/Development

You can’t expect your customers to know your menu if you don’t advertise. That’s why showcasing your menus on your website and social media sites is essential. Make sure you’re transparent about the price and the ingredients in each item so your customers don’t have to ask.

coffee shop
Image Credit; Pexels, Pixabay

The Right Staff

No matter how good your food and coffee are, the fastest way to lose business is to have customers waiting around to get served. In the mornings especially, people are in a hurry, and you need the correct number of staff on hand to help them and serve them quickly.

When adding extra food items to your menu, you might need to hire additional staff, such as cooks, servers, and baristas.

Display Cases

Your display cases need to be filled to the brim, set up nicely, and kept that way during the day. In fact, everything should be set up and ready to go with your display cases before you open the doors in the morning.

It’s best to invest in high-quality display cases and fill them with great-tasting food. Because while it’s true that good food will keep customers coming back to your coffee shop for more, it’s also true that customers taste first with their eyes. If your food is unappealing, the customer may leave without trying it and go elsewhere instead.

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From donuts to homemade treats and sandwiches to mouthwatering soups, there’s plenty to offer your customers on your coffee shop menu. Don’t forget to start working on a signature dish that will make you stand out from the rest of the coffee shops in your town.

However, ensure that you don’t forget the display cases, advertising, and storage space that will be needed to promote your shop and the food you offer. Follow the tips above, add a few of the foods above to your menu, and you’re sure to be successful.

Featured Image Credit: duckeesue, Shutterstock


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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