Survey says owning a specialty coffee shop is Californians’ dream job in the age of AI

In an era when artificial intelligence is reshaping the job market, many professionals may find themselves at a crossroads. The shift could render some white-collar jobs obsolete, propelling millions to explore new career avenues or embrace entrepreneurship.

Amid this transformative phase, HostingAdvice conducted a survey of 3,000 employees to find out Californians’ dream business ventures that not only ignite their passion but are also resilient in the face of AI advancements.

“The surge of AI presents as much an opportunity as it does a challenge. Our survey has revealed that the entrepreneurial spirit remains undeterred, eager to find new paths that AI won’t tread. These dream businesses are not just ventures; they are beacons of human ingenuity and connection,” said Christina Lewis from

These were California’s top choices
No. 1. Specialty Coffee Shop
Californians ranked owning a specialty coffee shop as their top dream job. This preference isn’t surprising when considering the coffee industry’s resilience and growth. The global specialty coffee market is projected to grow by more than 50% by 2028, according to Research Reports World. Beyond the profit potential, owning a coffee shop offers entrepreneurs the chance to craft a brand experience that AI can’t replicate, leveraging the personal touch of skilled baristas to create a loyal customer base that values artisanal quality and authentic engagement.

No. 2. Eco-Friendly Home Goods Store
Second on the list is the eco-friendly home goods store, which aligns with a global sustainability market that’s growing rapidly as consumers become more environmentally conscious. With sustainability at the forefront of consumer trends, this business can tap into a market where 73 percent of global consumers say they would change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. It’s a sector ripe for innovation and personal consumer education, where trust and authenticity in the brand can drive significant business growth.

No. 3. Artisanal Bakery
The third highest-favored dream job in the Golden State is the artisanal bakery, which caters to the growing consumer demand for locally sourced and organic products. With the organic food market projected to grow significantly, bakers have an opportunity to capitalize on this trend. Moreover, bakeries can become community staples, offering a sensory experience and a personal connection to food that AI and mass production cannot match. And they’re able to achieve this while tapping into a profitable niche in the food industry.

No. 4. Boutique Bookstore
The boutique bookstore is riding the wave of a resurgent interest in independent bookshops, which have seen an increase of nearly 50 percent over the past decade. These ventures go beyond selling books; they offer curated experiences and foster community engagement through events. This business is about leveraging cultural trends and consumer desire for authentic experiences to create a thriving, intellectually rich environment.

No. 5. Health and Wellness Retreat 
Entrepreneurs are increasingly drawn to the fifth-ranked dream job, health and wellness retreats, as projections for the wellness tourism sector show exponential growth. This business isn’t just about providing a service; it’s about delivering personalized well-being experiences. Operators can benefit from the high customer willingness to pay for health and self-care services that offer a human-centric approach to wellness.

No. 6. Pet Boutique and Grooming Service 
The pet boutique and grooming service, a sector that’s proven to be recession-resistant, ranks as the sixth most popular business venture among California professionals thanks to consumer spending on pets on a steady rise, even during economic downturns. The human-animal bond is something AI cannot fulfill, and pet services can leverage this by offering personalized care and niche products that cater to the discerning pet owner, tapping into a multibillion-dollar industry.

No. 7. Gourmet Food Truck 
The gourmet food truck is the seventh most popular entrepreneurial dream for those looking to enter the food service market with a lower initial investment than a traditional restaurant. Food trucks offer flexibility and the opportunity to directly engage with different communities, capitalizing on the street food market’s growth, which is expected to surge globally. This business combines culinary passion with strategic location planning to maximize profits.

No. 8. Art Gallery and Studio Space 
The eighth-ranked dream job in California, running an art gallery and studio space, offers a unique proposition in the art market, which has seen a democratization thanks to online sales and social media. By creating a physical space for art that also embraces the digital revolution, entrepreneurs can attract a broad audience. With the global art market valued at close to $70 billion in 2022, there’s ample opportunity to create profitable events and workshops that capitalize on people’s desire for cultural enrichment and personal expression.