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Opening a small coffee shop

This is a discussion on Opening a small coffee shop within the Coffee Shops, Espresso Bars & Cafes forums, part of the Coffee Addicts category; Hello all, I'm rather new here. I've been trying to do some research, and stumbled upon this website, and figured that maybe I could find ...

  1. #1
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    Opening a small coffee shop

    Hello all, I'm rather new here. I've been trying to do some research, and stumbled upon this website, and figured that maybe I could find some information/guidance here.
    I'm currently a college student, a junior. I'm going for a degree in business management and hope to possibly start my own small business one day. One day I thought to myself of how in my hometown, there's no place to really get coffee, other than McDonald's or something like that of course. The nearest Starbucks are pretty far, up to thirty minutes away. People will go out of there way to get specialty coffee like that. So, I started think to myself how a coffee shop would be a great business to start. However, I don't necessarily mean to open a shop up in my home town though.
    This coffee shop would sell all sorts of products, including coffee, tea, and pastries, and anything else to help the business grow. I've been to other coffee shops, and noticed how they sold books, made light food (sandwhiches and soups). So, I was considering doing something like that as well. Also, a local coffee shop near the university I attend (East Carolina University, puts on performances by artists of all kinds, and that is something I would definitely love to do.
    So, basically what I want to get around to is how much it would cost me to start up this kind of business? How much could I possibly make in profits? I know starting a small business is a huge risk, especially in this current economy, but I feel like this is something that I really want to do. Is it really worth the risk? If there's anything you feel I should know, or any advice you can give me, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
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    Hello jwjohnson;
    Welcome to the site. If you take the time to go through the site you will see numerous posts about opening a coffee shop from equipment, location and type of coffee and foods. Spend the time to look and most of your questions are answered here.
    Brian

  4. #3
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    Ah young Padowan,

    Normally I would remind a newcomer such as yourself of the "search" function, scold them for being lazy, and move on.

    Well, I'm still going to do that, so SEE ABOVE. A successful entrepreneur doesn't ask to be given answers, they either find them through hard work, or they earn the right through the knowledge of having "shared sacrifices" with other peers. Nothing is given, it must be earned. No one else will care if you succeed or fail except you, so you need to find out truths in life and in business for yourself. Don't take my word for it. Take the benefit you have now of being young and use that to travel to the best shops in the USA and abroad, find work in one for a couple of years and understand the real ins and outs of quality driven success.

    However, you are pointed in such a wrong direction that some of this can be addressed now and get you on the right path.

    ...and anything else to help the business grow.
    Anything much more than your core speaks volumes about the quality of your core. Don't add labor and cost eating products that deteriorate what your focus is. Ask youself, are you a coffee shop, or shop with coffee?

    I've been to other coffee shops, and noticed how they sold books, made light food (sandwhiches and soups).
    See above. Books? WTF? Bad idea. Light sandwiches can be ok if you source the ingredients right. Labor cost should be towards making tasty beverages for customers, not towards making sandwiches. Soup? I say no. Once you start adding soup, it adds a lot of Health Dept. issues, often changes your status from coffee shop to restaurant (depending on your local laws) and most importantly it moves you away from your core profit center and (what should be) the core of what you do - serve great beverages (coffee and/or espresso being the prime ones).

    Rather than quoting you on your idea about performances. Bad idea. ASCAP is a major PIA, and the main reason is that you will alienate every customer who actually comes to enjoy your coffee and tea.

    You have time. Use it well.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by John P; 10-31-2012 at 04:15 PM. Reason: sp.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    twitter.com/caffedbolla

  5. #4
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    I don't have much knowledge about starting a business, but I do feel like congratulations are in order on making it to junior year at ECU, everyone I know that went there only made it through freshman year!

    Quote Originally Posted by John P View Post
    Rather than quoting you on your idea about performances. Bad idea. ASCAP is a major PIA, and the main reason is that you will alienate every customer who actually comes to enjoy your coffee and tea.


    I don't think ASCAP would have anything to do with artistic performances by local artists.
    Last edited by coffiend; 10-31-2012 at 11:39 AM.

  6. #5
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    coffiend,

    Most local artists do covers, and that means fines, unless you pay the royalties. But that's neither here or there. Point is, it's a bad idea. Bad for business. Certainly bad for positioning. The only good thing about it is it's a good way to lose your core customers.
    John Piquet
    caffe d'bolla
    Salt Lake City, UT
    twitter.com/caffedbolla

  7. #6
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    John: it depends on your location, as far as local bands doing covers goes. When I lived in Mendocino county California most local bands played their own material.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldub View Post
    John: it depends on your location, as far as local bands doing covers goes. When I lived in Mendocino county California most local bands played their own material.
    Really? No covers? I thought covers was what the norm was these days... Doesn't seem to be much original music being made these days, just rehashes of stuff that was already made.. Some big artists just remake the oldies in their own way, I think most artists have..

    Would be interesting to listen to something original for once...

  9. #8
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    More importantly then who's playing cover tunes is where you getting your coffee? You roasting your own or sourcing from a local roaster? Some good Roasters in your area/state so I would do your homework. Coffee sux, no one comes back...unless it's a really good boy band.

  10. #9
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    if you are looking for a marketing consultant let me know

  11. #10
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    So, now I've been doing a lot of research. Yeah I know, silly of me to try to get someone to hand me all the information I needed without trying to do research of my own.
    I'm thinking it will be best to focus mostly only coffee and drinks when it comes to opening this business. I don't want to bring the business down by trying to hard to sell items other than coffee. What's the kind of equipment I'll need, and what brands? I have a rough idea of the stuff I'll need, general coffee makers, blenders, coffee grinders, espresso machines, that general line of stuff. I know there's way more to it than just that though, obviously. And what brands would I need? What's the difference between certain things anyways, like for instance, I saw espresso machines that could make between one to four drinks with one machine. Would anyone be willing to help me out here? Or at least give me some tips on where to look for these things?
    And finally. I'm only 19 years old, I'm in college now, studying business management, and this is just a future business idea I have in mind. Now I know what you're thinking, a 19 year old kid who's graduating in a few years really thinks he can start a business so young. I already run a company out of my local area (multiple counties, mostly the eastern part of NC) with my friend, and we're growing quickly and manage things pretty well. That's besides the point though. Basically what I'm saying is, I honestly don't have much money of my own. Hopefully I can have a decent chunk of extra cash by the time I graduate, but not even close enough to start a business. So, I'll have to get a loan. I know it's hard to be profitable in the first year, and you can even lose money. Would it be more advisable to just get a kiosk until I can save enough money to start a full sit-down shop?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated. If someone could help point me in the right direction, or give me things I should be researching, or anything, it would be great.

    Thanks!

 

 
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