View Poll Results: Risky business? Hire from the start?

Voters
0. You may not vote on this poll
  • Hire FT

    0 0%
  • Hire PT

    0 0%
  • Don't hire.

    0 0%
  • Keep your day job!

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2

    Taking over a failing shop.

    My husband and I have lived across the street from this small town coffee shop for 8 years. I worked there maybe six or more years ago. The owners broke up and recently sold the business. The woman who has been running it has not been showing up and has widdled her hours down to almost nothing. In four months she has ruine what was already struggling. The saddest part is that there is so much potential. Putting in a drive through, patio seating, and minimal lunch menu. It's in a lawyer soaked county seat (near the court house) and is the only coffee shop for 20+ miles. Everything else is international or fast food. My husband and I now have four children and I quit my career to stay at home. I managed a coffee shop years ago in another town. Husb does carpentry and his body is taking a beating. In his mid forties and we're considering a change. Taking over this coffee shop across the street seems ideal. Trouble is, he'll have to work to pay our bills and I'm pretty busy myself. Is it wise to hire someone from the start in our case? At least until he can quit working? Are we crazy?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    1,045
    Ok. This is a question I see often. You need to decide if this is a hobby or a business. In the beginning, one of you (at a minimum) needs to be there, be physically invested for at least 100 hours a week (if you are open that many). If the doors are open, you need to be there.

    Best scenario: You both invest your time and be there. This is critical. When you start a business, it's not "Let's give it a go." It's more like "All our chips are in". You need to put yourself into a corner where the only option is success. By both of you not investing your full time into it you are already telling yourselves you have doubts. And honestly, in the beginning, you may not be able to afford competent help. Remember, someone willing to work is not competent help.

    Every decision you make concerning your business needs to come from a certain psychological mindset. Anything outside of that mindset is just a way to buffer yourself, to create an excuse should failure arise.

    Do what you must to succeed.

    Acceptable option: I would have you in charge and there and your husband can make the transition slowly. How old are your kids? Put 'em to work! Realistically, there's a lot you can do as a family business that you can't do otherwise. Kids can wash dishes, clear tables, and I know kids who can pull shots at 5. It's never to early to put 'em to work!
    If they are very young, it's something you'll have to deal with. It's best they have their mom around, but if you start the business, one or both of you needs to be there until you have established a steady clientele and developed competent and well-trained employees.

    The reality is, when you take on a new business, there need to be sacrifices. A business is like an unruly child. Be smart, be firm, and it will listen to you. If you've managed four children, this will likely seem easy. No sleep. Hints of mania. Frustration. Reward.
    In the end, you'll get out whatever you invest.

    Develop a strategic game plan and stick to it.
    Know that owning a coffee shop/ business is far, far different than managing one. Make sure you understand everything it entails. Being great at the former does not mean any success at the latter.

    Both of you need to be all in on this emotionally and psychologically or it will not work.

    Be smart. You can do it.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2
    Great reply. Thanks for that. Upfront and honest. This would be a business and not a hobby. The best scenario woul be as you described. However, my three youngest are under four. All of them. They could manage in the shop with me for only a very short period of time. We could have some help, but I'll still need to spend some time with them (hence the inquiry for hiring) while my husband is still working. Since we live across the street I thought it could work. And eventually use that person for nights and weekends and when we're out of town. Which is pretty much what the business before was doing when the couple who originally opened it were running it. I think with the addition of a drive thru and lunch from 10-2 would help keep it steady. Our oldest, who lives with is part time and his mom part time is an aspiring chef at 14. So he woul be lots of help after school and when he's old enough could work there next year. As far as transitioning slowly for my husband, I guess we'll play that by ear? Is it better to open with the hours youre going to have and stay with that or open more hours later?

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    470
    1. How much do you know about the hospitality business ?
    2. Making a coffee and cleaning the machinery, adjusting the brew and maintaining the machinery are two different things. Hence the need to know what you are doing and to be there to correct/adjust. I mean it is the difference between being a great cook at home and a cook/chef in a commercial kitchen. Being good when no one is looking doesn't count.
    3. Murphy's Law applies. You need to have very simple protocols. You have simple protocols if you have worked the business.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    1,045
    mama mimi,

    ditto to what wmark wrote.

    To put it simply: You need to be a professional barista AND business manager.
    This means understanding equipment, grind, dose, distribution, correct tamp and temperature. Understanding and assessing faulty espresso, and knowing that all espressos are different and likely require different parameters. Understanding that every shot should be ground fresh, and never pre-ground.

    Machine maintenance is pretty basic if you have a good machine. Change seals, clean portafilters and grouphead screens throughout the day, flush groupheads both w/ water and chemical flush on consistent basis, etc.

    As far as equipment (grinder and machine) I would not merely adopt what the existing store already has unless they are excellent machines and have been professionally maintained. Otherwise, as used equipment in these deals are ... maybe 10 to 15 cents on the dollar, and keep them as backup. Do your due diligence, research, and get the best equipment you can that you have local maintenance for (24/7) if necessary.

    As far as hours, it's best to start with too many and then taper off as the business increases. Whatever hours you set, give a minimum of three months at those hours before you asses whether they work or not. Never increase, that's backwards and the sign of poor business understanding. But find hours that work best for the business first, and in the coming years, hours that work best for you. As time progresses, if customers want your product, they will make the time to come.


    Think strategic long term.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    caffedbolla.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    470
    I have a factor affecting hours..................do you serve alcohol ? If you do, how much does alcohol account for your sales and when do the alcohol sales occur ? I only ask as you said you were situated proximal to lawyers...............and we all know lawyers drink coffee and alcohol dawn to dusk (and beyond).

 

 

Remove Ads

Sponsored Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-03-2011, 04:06 PM
  2. Taking over a coffee shop in 1 month
    By Jannisarie in forum Coffee Shops, Espresso Bars & Cafes
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 10-15-2009, 12:06 PM
  3. Taking offers
    By BeanGrinder in forum Coffee Roasters
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-02-2006, 01:56 PM
  4. Taking the next step.
    By wallisj in forum Coffee and Espresso Machines
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-17-2005, 05:33 PM

Search tags for this page

failing coffee shops
,
how much does a coffee house make
,

how much does a coffee shop make a day

,
how to take over a failing business
,
my shop failing
,
questions to ask when taking over a coffee shop
,
questions to ask when taking over a failing bar business
,
qustions to ask when taking over a coffee sho buisness
,

taking over a failing business

,
taking over a failing cafe
,

taking over failing business

,
what to do with a failing coffee shop
Click on a term to search for related topics.