_Up and Coming_


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Jun 12, 2006
Milton, FL
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Ok well after about 5 years of debate, and working in a 9-5 and spending 95% of my time on the other side of the coffee bar... Me and one of my close friends have decided to start a coffee shop.

We are setting up a sole proprietership and she will be working for me as my second in command...

We are going to be in the Pace area in Florida which is along the gulf coast and hope to open by the end of the year. Presently the name is going to be Tykes Coffe Beanery & Art Gallery. (just go by tykes). And will be serving coffee/tea/smoothies/ice cream and selling artwork from local artists, and also will be delivering to our mass amount of hospital/doctors offices.

Im still tryin to write up my business plan and get some projections going. Its gotta be good, cuz with me being a 22 yr Male its hard to convince the bank your not going to mess up. But, my personal forte is finances and come from a line of entrepreneurs. So i have hope.

I came across this site looking for a place to get as much info and encouragement to get things rolling, and i think i found the perfect place. So if any of you guys have any advice for us we would greatly appreciate it.
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After punching in a few figures as far as Demographics go...tell me what you guys think:

Polulation:(10 mile radius)
24179 people,
Avg Income:
Median Age:

Not too bad thus far, but where the shop is located is high traffic (for us anyway)

Where the shop is set to open has 2 roads and sits on the corner in a shopping center.

Main road has about 28000 people according to the county zoning map
secondary road has about 6300 people go by.

They avg ticket price lets say is 3.5-4 a person (lets be optimistic and just about everyone grabs a scone, lol)

Im figuring about a 1.5-3% of that population comes in (this is for BP purposes) thats about 450-1000 people that have a chance to come in every day.

To me that sounda just about right (on the low end) but to be fair to myself lets take 25% of that figure and say 112-250 people a day. Which sounds pretty good to start.

Those figures i can conclude about 392-1000 bucks gross daily sales.

Do these figures seem about average for where i am?

Thanks a bunch
average sale high

We're in a suburb of Pittsburgh with similar demographics. Main difference is we're an inline location in a village commercial district - traffic numbers are about same (30,000), but our business is mostly walkup, not drivers, except for early morning.

After 1.5 years of business, we'd suggest your average sale is probably too high unless your prices are significantly higher than the chains. For sake of your sanity and financial health, figure on something closer to $3.10-$3.20 pp.

Also, whatever you think is your worst case scenario - figure 50% worse than that to start out. Expect it'll take six months before you think you'll see profit and another year after that to actually take some cash home.

If you go in with those expectations, you're much less likely to get discouraged when things do go bad. And they will.

But, if you can stick it out those first 18 months, it gets better.
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Thank you for the reply,

I was being optimistic in the figures.

WHen you started, did you lease your equipment or did you buy it?

What should i be looking for as far as monthly supplies? milk, coffee, sugar, syrup....

There was a coffee shop in the place we are looking at right now, but i cant get ahold of him, he had family issues and had to shut down.

there is a pizza place and an ice cream place in the same strip, and neither of them sell coffee so hopefully we will get some of their customers as well.
Sweeteners are a minor expense. Maybe a hundred bucks a month.

Syrups depend on what you're using and what you're using them for. If you're offering fosfatos and/or other drinks requiring a complete line of flavors, you could spend a ton. If it's just a small set of flavors for coffee drinks - say a dozen or so nut and spice flavors - then it's manageable. Figure you'll go through a bottle/week of the top flavors - hazelnut, vanilla - a bottle every three weeks on the other nut/spice flavors.

Paper is huge - not on your list. Would strongly suggest visiting some owner/operator discussion threads on cups. If your neighborhood won't lynch you for using polys like Dart, that's probably the cheapest way to go - saves on sleeves and double cupping and keeps the beverage warmer than most paper materials. However, there are customers who won't like that decision for eco reasons (and there are good arguments for/against polys).

Coffee costs depend on quality of your beans and your roaster. Given your situation, a good guesstimate would be around 300-400 lbs/month to start and work to double that within a year. If you're higher, great. If you're lower than that, unlikely you're going to live very comfortably.

Milk - assume you'll go through 10 gallons/day - something like 50% whole, 35% skim, 10% half/half, 5% soy - and adjust from there. If you're doing "serious" coffee, your baristas will burn through a lot while practicing - a worthwhile expense in our opinion. Considering you'll probably serve a lot of milk drinks (lattes) don't skimp on quality here - try to find yourself an organic dairy (doesn't use hormones).
where the heck is Pace FL? I am in Boca and I go to Tampa on the weekends...if its close to Tampa I will stop by once you get open. :wink:
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topher said:
where the heck is Pace FL? I am in Boca and I go to Tampa on the weekends...if its close to Tampa I will stop by once you get open. :wink:

Haha.....yea Pace fl is near Pansacola, just a little east.

If you make it this was ill be surer to have a cup on the house for ya tho
sorry Ofcourse I have to say it: Going into business with your friend, expect that you will not be friends in the end, and another thing who goes into a business relationship knowing that there role is 2nd in command, that only works in star track episodes.
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its not going to be a partnership. I did that once before and get left will all the work.

i just have who i am going to hire already lined up.

people i trust to not help themselves. and hopefully one day run a kiosk in the mall they are about to build
I would think 250 people a day for your business plan sounds okay.

If you believe you will get 1000 people a day, can your shop handle that much? Espresso drinks take a mintue to prepare, coffee needs brewed, etc.. The 1000 people a day number seems a little high to me..BUT you know your location the area best !

As someone else said, paper (cups, lids, sleeves) are a big item. In addition a lot of these have minimum order quantities for anything custom. These order quantities are very large also.

I would plan on having reserve funds to get you through the months until you can breakeven.

We did not lease equipment. After much research we decided in our situation it was better to purchase. We do rent an ice maker because for now, it makes sense financially.

Good luck!
Not to be a nay-sayer, but just based upon personal experience, your customer numbers seem a bit high to me. I’ve worked at two specialty coffee retailers, one established and one start-up, both had higher traffic counts and lower numbers than you project. At my current shop (a two year-old start-up) we capture about .15% of the traffic, and we have a much higher pop density. That said—good luck. I hope you do well. One day I’ll have the cajones to start my own place.

Since no one answered, I’ll take a guess. A “fosfatoâ€
Hey TYKES...!
I am no expert on coffee,or beans,but I am an expert at taking the good with the bad :lol: After everything I've done and all the different faces I've seen come thru my shop,I still don't have it together.Of all the numbers you project,and all the traffic you anticipateif they only come in once,you will be out of business soon.If you're writing up a business plan,that's a smart thing to do.Leasing or buying equipment can be determined easily depending on necessity,and budget.The most important thing that I neglected to do on start-up was understanding,and recognizing the importance of MARKETING!
If you don't have a good marketing scheme you will work your a$$ off helping mostly your competetion.
Try Guerrilla Marketing for free..by,Jay Conrad Levinson....It's a very good book. 8) mr.espresso

as a very strong suggestion I would tap Topher for every bit of info he has. From reading his posts over the past year I can safely say he knows EXACTLY what he is talking about and has always been more than willing to help out(sorry if this sounds like i am volunteering you Toph). If not him get with someone near you that has an established shop(but not your direct competion obviously). I too would strongly suggest you not employ any of your friends in any capacity. You will save yourself alot of time and grief. Sure hook them up and if they are desperate for work take them in on very probationary terms. As an employer you expect a certain level of actual work out of your employees and your friends9as your employees) expect to have an easy ride or to be seen as virtual partners in the venture.
Also if you do not know how to repair every part of an espresso machine yourself you need to lease them. Like cars many of the repairs are simple 2$ pieces that need to be cleaned or replaced but if you don't know how to diagnose the problem you will be paying out the nose for repairs on privately owned equipment.

Maybe I missed it but do you have any competition in the area?