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Coffee shop startup costs

This is a discussion on Coffee shop startup costs within the Coffee Shops, Espresso Bars & Cafes forums, part of the Coffee Addicts category; Hi all, I can see there are many threads in this forum from people wanting to start their own coffee shop; I have browsed these ...

  1. #1
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    Coffee shop startup costs

    Hi all,

    I can see there are many threads in this forum from people wanting to start their own coffee shop; I have browsed these but haven't seen any that directly answer my question.

    I live in England, am trying to work out a budget for an independent social enterprise coffee shop that promotes creativity and community. So this would include exhibiting artists (particularly local artists), among other ideas of promoting creativity that I have - as well as focusing on community. So the food would ideally be locally sourced; I also currently work for a charity and am keen to involve some of the vulnerable client groups I work with, developing skills, socialising, stepping into the world of work, preparing locally-sourced food, etc. I can see the shop linking in with local allotments, or even having a sustainable garden at some point, from which food is prepared, for instance.

    I am looking at set-up costs; outfitting a coffee shop - equipment costs, and so on. Obviously I can look at furniture and decoration costs, but perhaps people could help me on the things you need for a coffee shop - the machines, and so on. Is anyone able to point me in the right direction for this sort of thing, or give me a rough guide?

    I have found howtostartacoffeeshop.co.uk/idea-of-costs.html which gives me a guide; would people say here that this is roughly accurate?

    Thanks a lot,
    Last edited by Skyandsun; 12-29-2012 at 10:17 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Contact a local equipment supply company and ask them to provide you with two proposals; one for furnishing your shop with new equipment and another for used. That should give you a better idea of not only how much it will cost but also what you will need.

    Btw, the church my sister's family attends has a coffee shop staffed by special needs/ability kids that does pretty well.

  4. #3
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    great idea....

  5. #4
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    Thanks. I have ideas about how to develop the 'social good' aspect (I prefer that phrase to charitable, as to me charity implies giving, whereas I feel supporting people to help themselves is a much moderner, more empowering approach). For instance, I am keen to link in with some of the allotments that are run by local service-users (vulnerable adults), producing food based from that locally grown produce, selling it, and then a cut of the profit goes to the person who prepared it... ideally would love to have a garden/allotment on-site in some way, developed by service users, that customers could see - a rooftop garden, or even a vertical/wall garden if space is very limited.

    It's very important to me to involve this side of the community and I'm sure there are many ways to do so, including the obvious one of offering voluntary/employment opportunities on the 'shop floor', as it were. However, the extent to which I can do the latter depends on the size of my premesis and there'd need to be a high turnover to be a success, I feel - otherwise it's a very limited opportunity for a few people only. I can see ways to do this: for instance, people these days tend to have time-limited 'recovery plans', which maps out a route to wellbeing, and part of that plan could be, say, being involved 2 days a week at this cafe for three months, then moving on to the 'next stage' of their recovery, hopefully with new skills and confidence.

    There's a place in London that trains ex-homeless people in the kitchens to get NVQ qualifications etc - and apparently it's massively popular with customers to the extent that on most days it's standing-room only - so I mean to visit that when I get a chance, to further develop my ideas.

    Of course, the foundation that all this is built on is serving the best coffee around, especially as the town I am thinking of is rather touristy and there are plenty of coffee shops already to choose from - I am taking advice from my sister on this side of things who has run her own cake making company and knows about barrista training, equipment, etc, and how to make a great cup of coffee. She has also offered to be involved in training the first staff member who would be key to providing this great coffee. But from this foundation I hope I will create a platform to do social good, and be profitable for myself as well as other people. From my market research so far it seems people are very keen to feel that their money is going towards something more than lining the pockets of executives - look at Starbucks and the boycott that many seem to be taking (certainly from questioning people in town, 'I don't go to Starbucks any more' came up more than once).

    Am slowly working on a business plan to take to investors; the budget is the bit I am chipping away at, getting the figures sorted and coming up with relatively grounded numbers will be a big hurdle out of the way, hence the initial post here! I also need to know what sort of legalities I need to comply with; I will need insurance, and depending on the food I sell, I will need to meet other legal requirements (health & safety and so on) - again any advice on this appreciated. Was thinking initially I might sell coffee & cakes, as I am told they don't require much in terms of legal compliance if they're prepared off-site, and expand outwards from there - but nothing's set in stone at the moment.
    Last edited by Skyandsun; 12-31-2012 at 09:38 AM.

  6. #5
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    I think where you make or break your business is defs advertising. Make sure to allocate a decent amount for that. I'd suggest a mix of print, broadcast, and social media. Put in a little elbow grease and you'll be fine.

  7. #6
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    You can't cost out a business without knowing what you want to serve and how you plan to serve it. Figure out what you want to do. Find a suppllier like Prima Coffee or some other supplier and get prices on what you need to do what you want to do. If you can find items used, greatr - you saved a little. Start small on equipment but plan in your build out for addingh stuff down the road. Power needs like plenty of 220v outlets, water lines, filtration, refridgs and so on. Figure all you've got andf then dopuble it - that's a good start. Furniture - buy used and build form that. Furniture is costly - are you planning a fancy place or more one people can use like home? Make it so people will want to come back and feel welcome, not afraid to use the space. Keep costs as LOW AS POSSIBLE until sales rise and it feels like time to update. That could be a year or more. Hope you have a lot of $$ or a good day job! let us knowhow it is going! lachris
    lachris

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    Thanks all - as far as funding goes, I am planning to get a business plan together and then apply for loans & small grants, focusing on places that loan to social enterprises (and there are such places! Some government-backed). I am getting clearer on what my costs will be. I imagine starting up will be fairly basic - I will want to be serving the best coffee around from the first day, though - and luckily I know people who can advise and train in this area - and perhaps simple food such as locally-made cakes. I am not yet clear on what legalities I have to comply with when serving different food/drink (health/safety, environmental health etc), but I gather cakes are quite simple to set-up and start selling. It may be that I can be a bit more adventurous at start-up with food - I am not sure yet.

    I will make it clear that this is the start and lay out a vision to customers - where I hope to be in 6 months, a year, 2 years, etc, so people have an idea of my ideas for this place and can come on the journey with me. It is after all partly about community, so involving people in that way and inviting their input is a good thing. Talking to different people about this idea has already evoked plenty of offers of help - in fact, from all the strangers I've told about this, more often than not they have offered their services. I have met someone trained to advanced health & safety in this way, as well as an entrepreneur who has invited me to his local chamber of commerce, people who've offfered to volunteer and experts in coffee who have offered their services. It's quite inspiring, really!

    One thing I don't want to appear is cheap - if I can't do something well, I don't want to do it - so serving cheap, badly made coffee, for instance is not an option. Similarly, when selling food, I don't want to start selling cheapo sandwiches for the hell of it - I want it to be right. Same for the ambiance - it's got to feel right, but I don't have a specific style in mind yet. Having said that, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops and know when I feel at home, or whether I feel like a commodity. Also, layout/furniture depends somewhat on the premises as well. I hope to estimate a budget for furniture that allows me a some flexibility when it comes to specific styles. Overly corporate is not really a look I'm interested in - ideally it should feel different from the chains, but be inviting, warm, and all those other coffee-shop qualities that I'm sure you all know about. Used furniture is a good idea and perhaps will give an individual style as well.

    Certainly service-user involvement will take a while to set up and I think it is something I will concentrate on once open. I hope to be able to bring customers along that journey by providing updates and giving a clear road-map. The 'creative' side of this venture should be more easy to set up and will be present on opening day - I have particular musicians and artists in mind already.

    For those interested, I am distilling my vision into a couple of sentences. The basic skeleton of this idea is two parts: somewhere that 'promotes and celebrates creativity, particularly from local artists' and that 'meaningfully involves service users and forms a step on their path to recovery'. (service users are people who access support services - so mental health services, drug & alcohol services, etc). Those are essentially the two strands, along with 'serving the best coffee in town'. There's a bit more that I'm refining: I want to be able to promote more global issues such as sustainability, for instance (which using an allotment/garden, particularly on-site, would do) and generally give people 'food for thought' without forcing that thought-food, or a viewpoint, on them - the allotment being a good example of something people could think, read about and hopefully see for themselves if they wanted, but can also ignore should they so choose. Or maybe I will end up being a bit more assertive about this - not yet sure!
    Am thinking of lumping these bits & others into the sentence, 'creates a platform from which to do social good'.

    But the two things mentioned above are the two main pillars of this idea, the things that customers should be able to look around and see evidence of.
    Last edited by Skyandsun; 01-03-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  9. #8
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    Hello "SkyandSun"

    What a fantastic idea!

    I'm impressed with the amount of thought you put into this project.

    Do you work for a non-profit agency that's paying you to do this or are you doing this on your own?


    Rose
    Last edited by PinkRose; 01-04-2013 at 06:26 AM.

  10. #9
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    Hi Rose - it's all my own idea I would like a business partner and someone who can bring their own ideas and passion to the table, particularly business know-how - but I have yet to meet that person, and it shouldn't prevent me from continuing alone and inviting the input of others along the way.

    I currently work for a charity that supports people with mental ill-health, a role I went into because I wanted to make a difference to others, and I have particular interest in mental health. However that role has become stale for me and I'm keen to move on. I'm actually about to hand in my notice, though I'm not expecting this coffee shop idea to be providing me income next month; am considering temping and other income options for an interim-period in my life; which will hopefully allow me to concentrate on this idea, continue to develop what I need to to make it into reality and apply for funding, and have some time to think and refresh.

    I guess this idea came about from a number of thoughts stewing in my head: I am a creative person - have written a novel, have an English Literature degree, played the piano for 25 years - and I also have a strong desire to do something that improves life for others and makes a difference to society. I am pretty independently-minded and like being my own boss as well, so something that gives me autonomy, independence and control is my ideal. I also spend a lot of time in coffee shops, haha. So I want to bring these aspects of my personality together, particularly the creativity and charitable instinct, and earn an income from them (I get very down if I feel I'm spending 2/3 of my life in a job I'm not passionate about). This coffee shop is an attempt to do that.

    Thanks for your kind words by the way Rose, I genuinely appreciate them and the encouragement they provide!
    Last edited by Skyandsun; 01-04-2013 at 01:38 PM.

  11. #10
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    Hello again "SkyandSun"

    It sounds like you've found something very worthwhile to be passionate about. In fact, if you weren't so far away, I'd jump at the chance to help you.

    If you focus on taking it one step at a time, you'll have a very good chance of turning your idea into a reality.

    Best wishes!

    Rose

 

 
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