Coffee shops are establishments where people gather to enjoy a cup of coffee. In most shops, there are a wide range of options with the type of coffee drinks offered, starting with plain coffee and moving through a selection of specialty coffee drinks that are often difficult to find at restaurants and other locations. Many shops of this type also offer a limited selection of food and other beverages, making them ideal for a quick snack or a light meal.
In some cases, the coffee shop is part of a large corporation. When this is the case, decisions about what types of coffee are sold are made at corporate level. The corporation will often have specific instructions as to the type of coffee maker that is used in the shop, as well as a particular brand of coffee roaster for the raw coffee beans that are purchased in bulk and resold to the local franchises. This uniform approach makes it possible for the same level of quality to be found at any store associated with the corporation.
Locally owned coffee shops usually have greater control over their product offerings. A local shop may choose to go with a "green" coffee option that is prepared fresh each day or perhaps some type of fair trade coffee. There is also the option of expanding into other offerings, such as various types of tea, designer sodas, and other products that make it possible for the local store to compete with the larger chains. A local shop is also more likely to offer a wider selection of freshly prepared foods, such as salads and sandwiches.
In recent years, both the chain style and the locally owned coffee shops have added other amenities to draw in customers. It is not unusual for one to offer guests free wireless Internet service, along with such perks as designer coffee mugs and other products that make excellent gifts. Most attempt to cultivate an atmosphere that entices the customer to return regularly, either by offering very quick service or providing comfortable and roomy seating that invites guests to settle in and enjoy their purchases in a peaceful atmosphere.
While the idea was once limited to metropolitan areas, shops of this type are now found in many smaller towns and even some rural areas. With a product line built around one of the most popular beverages in the world, the store stands an excellent chance of becoming a popular gathering spot, assuming the location is good and the prices are within reason.