This post is also available in: Melayu (Malay) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))

Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Coffee Shop Business in Malaysia

Starting a Coffee Shop Business in MalaysiaCoffee is the cornerstone of modern society and the corner of every street. Possibly the world’s most famous beverage, coffee is a must for most people around the globe. Dating back to the early 15th century, coffee has certainly come a long way. As for Malaysia, coffee was introduced during the British colonisation and mainly sold by Chinese merchants in their kopitiams. Coffee has been influenced by culture and modernisation in almost every aspect, all the way from the cherry-picking method to the process of becoming coffee beans.

Although coffee was primarily consumed by older folks initially, it is now becoming more and more appealing to younger people as well. Coffee is somewhat considered ‘hip’ by the newer generation. While new coffee fusions and other fad drinks are in style every now and then, nothing has been able to take the place of regular plain coffee. Strong black coffee has stood the test of time and remains a favourite for many.

In major cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Georgetown, Ipoh and Johor Bahru, independent coffee stores are mushrooming everywhere to supply the demand of coffee lovers. So, do you want to be a part of the coffee culture as well? Keep reading to find out how you can commercialise your love for coffee.

n this article, we will walk you through the fundamentals of setting up a coffee shop, including how to break into the industry and the licenses you will be needing. Plus, we’ll also let you know where you can get reliable and professional help for business incorporation. Need more on beginner’s guides? Come, check our guide to company registration in Malaysia here!


What Is a Coffee Shop Business?

A coffee shop is an establishment that sells coffee and variations of it, such as latte, frappuccino, espresso, etc. Typically, coffees are served with baked goods such as biscuits, bread and cakes. In Malaysia, coffees are widely sold in cafes, mamak shops, drive-thrus, pop-up stores, kopitiams and even smart vending machines. To Malaysians, every time is coffee time. You can pair coffee with almost anything – with an on-the-go sandwich, roti canai or with a classic nasi lemak.

A coffee shop business allows the entrepreneur much fun and creative freedom. You are free to decide the menu, including the variations of coffee you wish to serve, or you can even come up with your very own coffee blend. In addition to that, you also get to choose a theme for your coffee shop business and the activities within the vicinity. Your coffee shop can have a stage for live performances such as poetry or singing. Alternatively, you can hold crossword and board games events every weekend. Want to take it up a notch? Organise a latte art and coffee brewing competition (or classes) for your customers.

Malaysia is an ideal location to sell coffee, given how Malaysians drink coffee regardless of the time or weather. People go to coffee shops for plenty of reasons. It’s a great place to discuss business, first dates, and write best-selling novels. One could simply go to a coffee shop to vibe with the surrounding ambience, lighting and bask in the strong smell of coffee. Plus, there is no prerequisite that says you have to drink coffee to enjoy the feel of a coffee shop.

Setting up a coffee shop business in Malaysia can be a great way for you to work on your passion and make a profitable income. Company incorporation services can get you to where you want to be. A team of professionals will be assisting you all the way from starting your coffee shop business, building and running it.


Setting Up Your Coffee Shop Business in Malaysia

Putting together a coffee shop may be more than meets the eye. Here are a few things to cross off your checklist before beginning your coffee shop business.

Creating a Business Plan

When creating your business plan, go all out. Remember, no detail is too small for your coffee shop blueprint. This is the part where you will need to conduct in-depth research about your business. Details such as company description, goals, vision, management, market analysis, products, services and marketing have to be outlined.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Outline your budget so you will be able to see how much your business will cost. Not only will it help you to predict future projections and cash flow, but having a budget also allows you to be one step ahead of any unexpected costs. At the same time, you can achieve a monthly financial target in sales. A huge part of your business is reliant on money; therefore, manage your finance wisely.

Finding a Strategic Location

After defining your target market, choose a location that is accessible for your customers. You want your customers to be able to drop by for a go-to coffee, spend a few hours in your cafe or anything in between. The optimal location for your coffee business shop will welcome you with a large customer base.

Hiring the Right Staff

Your baristas and employees will be the identity of your coffee shop. Therefore, ensure that your team possesses the right skills and craft that it takes to make coffee. You can also sign up your employees on the various workshops on making coffee, creating coffee art, etc., to upskill them from time to time. The staff and baristas must adhere to a certain level of industry standard. This will ensure and maintain the uncompromising quality and professionalism in your coffee shop business.

Coming Up With a Good Name

The coffee business industry is undeniably a competitive one. Pick a name that stands out from the rest and is memorable for people. Using a name that has already been trademarked can potentially result in penalties.

You may hear some naysayers saying that coffee shops or other food and beverage businesses will not work. The truth is every business comes with its own set of advantages and risks. If you study your target market, location, prepare the right amount of capital and combine it with effective marketing, your business should come to fruition. Most businesses fail due to not having proper planning, or financing, for that matter. Working alongside a corporate service provider in Malaysia can really make the process of setting up your business a smooth ride.


Licenses You May Need for Your Business

In Malaysia, you register your business with the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). According to the Registration Act 1956 or ROBA 1956, business is defined as trade, commerce, craftsmanship, calling, profession or other activity carried on for the purposes of gain. You can use their online platform to fill up Business Registration Form (Form A) and submit the necessary documents listed. The registration fee varies; as for sole proprietorships using their personal name (similar to the identity card), the fee applicable is RM30.

On the other hand, if one were to register a sole proprietorship or partnership with a trading name, the fee will be RM60. An additional RM5 is applicable for every additional branch you register for your business. Do keep in mind that although you may have registered your business with SSM, you still need to do your due diligence. There may be additional permits or letters of approval you require for your business to operate legally.

Some of the licenses you may wish to apply for are halal certifications, business premise licenses, signboard licenses, food handling permits, alcohol licenses and health and safety permits. Additionally, it would be a wise move to call up your local municipal council and state authority for more information and double confirmation. Other formalities such as creating a corporate bank account, registering a business address, and your company for tax purposes with the Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LDHN) will also need to ensue.


We Got Your Back

If you enjoy creating and have a passion for coffee, starting a coffee shop business in Malaysia would be perfect for you! Setting up a coffee shop business is a pretty straightforward process. Nevertheless, it is a large base to cover, especially if you’re handling the registration formalities and paperwork by yourself. What if you can skip over the registration process and focus on the core of your business? Here’s where we can help you!


Starting a Coffee Shop Business in Malaysia


Starting a Coffee Shop Business in Malaysia

With over a decade of experience, 3E Accounting has been a long-standing contender in Malaysia’s best corporate service provider scene. Our excellent team of multidisciplinary professionals are ever ready to assist you in every stage of your business. With us, you can leave your worries at the door and let us swiftly handle the nitty-gritty parts of your business. 3E Accounting offers various packages for your business that comes fully digitalised. Contact 3E Accounting and get your coffee shop business started today!