Coffee Trailors or Van Questions...

JavaChuck

New member
Jan 26, 2005
8
0
Morris, Illinois
Looking for some advice on setting up a trailer or van with a drive through or walk up window for local events. Basically looking to expand my roasting business via lattes and coffee. Get some marketing for the roasting via the trailer and in turn move more beans.

Looking for

Any suggestions on trailer conversion vendors?

What I can expect to pay for the conversion?

Are package deals where the conversion people supply equipment better than outfitting the internals yourself?

Thanks so much! :grin:
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
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coffee trailer or van

There are a bunch of mobile units out there. The Original Seattle Coffee Company, Trolley Car Coffee Co., Run Around Brew, Coffee Guy of Idaho are just a few.... The one of the few I listed is the one I see most of on the Internet as the one truck that most people are actually using. That one is The Original Seattle Coffee Company. Here are just a few of the places to go to see the truck online by those who are using it. Sam's Mobile Espresso Bar (www.samsmobileespresso.com) The Curbside Cafe (www.thecurbsidecafe.com) The Sam's & the Curbside are the older trucks that were made before the newest of the line came about... Now here is one of the newest trucks that The Original Seattle Coffee Company makes now. Cooks Mobile Coffee Co. has the newest truck design of them all. (www.cookscoffee.com)

I sure hope I have been of some help to you in your quest for a mobile espresso truck.

Signed,
Daniel.
 

NW JAVA

New member
Seeing how most event happen durring the summer...( at least around here) I serve WAY more real fruit smoothies and frozen mochas, than espresso hot drinks or coffee. Sure you'll get alot of offers and advice on the tralier ect, but I offer experiance gained via: roastig/drive-up/espresso trailer. So I woun't go on about regualtions, ( unless you ask) and I won't recoment mfgrs. But I will talk about what to "vend" and even that might determine what size, and configuration you want for this mobile trailer. I had alway heard : develop your menu first, and then determine what you need. So I would recoment thinkking about food/drink/heat-maybe you want A/C in your tralier...Hot dogs/giros/mini doughnuts...heck, Instead of the peacfull/exciting environment of ROasting....vending is FAR removed, just think about it. Also with the $$ spent on a trailer, could you hire someone to market? or use to $$ to somehow generate more bean sales. You have to ask yourself if this is a desperate move or one that really appeals to you. I look forward to every summer, my buisness is 4x greater, with the stand and attendiung events in the trailer, and I really have to make time to Roast ;(
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
Coffee trailer or van

Why use a trailer? That just doesn't make sense! I wouldn't even think of using a trailer to sell coffee. One you now need a truck to pull it and second you now have something else you have to insure besides the truck! Why not just use a truck conversion that's fully self contained? Doesn't that make more sense? I would think so... but that's opinion. Yeah, you have more room in the trailer, but look how big and bulky it all is (the truck & trailer together). Then you now have another problem. Having a place to park them when not in use..... some cities don't allow trailer parking on the street/driveways and if you live in one of those cities you're now paying for storage. Mmmm sounds like more out of pocket expense instead of money going into your pocket...... Really look into the truck conversion. At least that way no one can tell you that you can't park that vehicle on the street/driveway. The truck conversion puts you outside with your clients and not behind a counter..... Now days people need to feel like they are Number 1! Remember they are spending their good hard earned money to buy your product. And what's the one thing you can provide at no additional cost to you or the client? That's the Personalized One-on-One Service Only You Can Provide! Now they'll all want to come back time and time again for the great products you sell and the Excepitional One-on-One Service they received! Because you made them feel like they are #1 and not just a few more dollar bills in your pocket!

Signed,
Daniel.
 
OP
J

JavaChuck

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Jan 26, 2005
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Morris, Illinois
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I really appreciate all the feedback and welcome more. I know it’s a forum but I felt hesitant to get into the details. I’m the roaster in the family and love it. My wife on the other hand finds it boring as all hell. Her experience lies in restaurant management and she is the one that is really excited about doing this trailer concept and will be doing most of the work. We live in the rural Chicago area and have some great opportunities to set up a trailer for at least three seasons a year.

In the summer we will most definitely focus on cold drinks, like smoothies. Within fifty miles we have found at least 23 events, from spring to fall, such as town homecomings, festivals and flee markets that offer the opportunities to sell from a trailer. One of the big events we have within a couple miles of us is the NASCAR track in Joliet. Twice a year they have major races. We are also talking to our local high school about setting up for Friday night football games. I think we have plenty of opportunities to work every weekend for eight to nine months out of the year. Keeping her busy, and bring a little more business into the roaster.

Understand that we are not thinking we can set up just anywhere. We will be doing all the research with all the counties, cities, schools, and businesses before we move forward with a trailer purchase. In fact, that is probably a good forum question. What roadblocks have people uncovered when trying to park a trailer to vend coffee.

The truck idea has merit and makes very good sense if I didn’t already own a truck and didn’t need the additional way to keep warm or cool for that matter. Just pricing trailers and equipment today, I think I can smartly do this for about $25K. This is not a huge financial burden right now for us and if it does not work out, I can sell it and take a loss on the business.

This seems like sound thinking for me, and like I said, I welcome more feedback. I may be missing something in the thought process that experience will provide. I thank anyone who can offer that wisdom up in advance.
 

BaristaExpress

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Dec 21, 2004
51
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Trailer or Van

OK, JavaChuck, now were getting somewhere here. By what you just said, your looking for the comfort of not being uncomfortable (air conditioning/heating when needed) in the elements. But the people who visit and buy your products are to stick it out in the elements without those comforts? Mmm, Just buy a well maintained used concession trailer. But be ready to spend about 20-25K for that well maintained concession trailer. Why spend the time and cash on converting a travel trailer for? when you can buy a concession trailer that's already done. This way your not inconvenienced by being in the elements.

Daniel.
 
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J

JavaChuck

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Jan 26, 2005
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Morris, Illinois
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Woops! Did I mislead by saying conversion? I assumed that most all concession trailers were considered a conversion....

Yes, I would then say I'm looking for a concession trailer. I had a recommendation from another coffee friend today that Custom Sales and Service was a good outfit for coffee/espresso vending trailers.

I guess my biggest fear is buying something that does not work for coffee and smoothies as well as it should. I hear layout is very import for high speed service and I had hoped when I started all this that I would hear about companies that specialize in "espresso" trailers. That I did get from you with much thanks. And I'm assuming that you’re also confirming the $20K-$25K figure I'm coming up with. That helps too.

Now as I do more investigation I'm asking myself a ton more questions...

Do I want a bathroom in it for Wife/employees?
Do I want a generator or just power plug in?
How big should my water and sewage tanks be?

Ug! It's getting more complicated and I've just begun.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
No bathroom can be in a concession trailer first of all, Second of course you should have a generator, Third it's called a waste water tank. No sewage can be carried since there is no bathroom. The wife/employees will have to brave the same as all the people at the venue your working.... sorry.

OK, JavaChuck try online at e-bay.com and type in concession trailers in the search space..... Just check it out, nothing more... to look doesn't do any harm.

If Custom Sales and Service has some well maintained used concession trailers that meet what you need without to much refitting then by all means buy it from them. But with them you know they are going to sock you for everything it's worth! When dealing with a specialty dealer item your going to pay a premium price for it! So don't be looking for a deal from them!

Daniel.
 

KG

New member
Feb 9, 2005
12
0
Owings Mills
Well guys I have a stupid question.

Has anyone ever seen a truck conversion that caters to Drive thru.

Meening it's a self containted truck that has a window low enough for cars to drive up to it?
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
KG, Why do something like that for? I mean if your looking for something mobile why be a drive thru? To be a drive thru you now have an added expense (lease/rent to pay). So why do that if your mobile! Now being mobile makes it where you can do curbside service (along side of the road type of thing without paying rent to someone). Of course you can work from someone's parking lot for the real early morning hours before doing your office route! But you may still have some that want to charge you a small fee for that privilege of using their parking lot. Even then it's a small price to pay over paying the high rent you may otherwise have to pay for a drive thru building. Being mobile and being outside with the client is the best one on one service you could ever offer. Having a counter or window between you and the client is not personal service in my book, but that's my opinion. If your looking for comfort get a drive thru building, but if your looking to give personalized service then be outside with your client! This makes you stand out over anyone else! Besides you'll get to know your clients name faster being outside face to face with them and get to know their favorite drinks by them coming back time after time again for the personalized service that only you can offer!

Daniel.
 

KG

New member
Feb 9, 2005
12
0
Owings Mills
BaristaExpress said:
KG, Why do something like that for? I mean if your looking for something mobile why be a drive thru? To be a drive thru you now have an added expense (lease/rent to pay). So why do that if your mobile! Now being mobile makes it where you can do curbside service (along side of the road type of thing without paying rent to someone). Of course you can work from someone's parking lot for the real early morning hours before doing your office route! But you may still have some that want to charge you a small fee for that privilege of using their parking lot. Even then it's a small price to pay over paying the high rent you may otherwise have to pay for a drive thru building. Being mobile and being outside with the client is the best one on one service you could ever offer. Having a counter or window between you and the client is not personal service in my book, but that's my opinion. If your looking for comfort get a drive thru building, but if your looking to give personalized service then be outside with your client! This makes you stand out over anyone else! Besides you'll get to know your clients name faster being outside face to face with them and get to know their favorite drinks by them coming back time after time again for the personalized service that only you can offer!

Daniel.

It's a fair point. The reason being is this. I have stumbled on an area that in my opionion would be a gold mine for drive through coffee. It's a very busy road that has tons of morning comuters and not an essproso place around for 50 miles.

However the county has some pretty crazy laws about frestanding buildings that require you to have to own the land you sit on. Which means that for me to get a drive through in the location I want I am looking at spending 200,000 to 300,000 for the land alone. Which at this time would never happen for me, I'm 26 with no house, not to many banks are going to hand that kind of loan over to me.

However I was thinking that I could skate around it by having a truck that could still service cars. As well as people that want to walk up.

I hope this makes sense.

Thanks for the response, please let me know what you think.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
KG, go take a look at some sites then and you tell me if any of them would fit the bill. And remember some of the sites your going to look at fit the bill better than others. The Original Seattle Coffee Company, Trolley Car Coffee Co., Run Around Brew, Coffee Guy of Idaho. Just type the names into an search engine and visit them one at a time.

The one of the few I listed is the one I see the most of on the Internet as the one truck that most people are actually using. That one is The Original Seattle Coffee Company. Here are just a few of the places to go to see the truck online by those who are using it. Sam's Mobile Espresso Bar (www.samsmobileespresso.com) The Curbside Cafe (www.thecurbsidecafe.com) The Sam's & the Curbside are the older trucks that were made before the newest of the line came about... Now here is one of the newest trucks that The Original Seattle Coffee Company makes now. Cooks Mobile Coffee Co. has the newest truck design of them all. (www.cookscoffee.com).

Daniel.
 

KG

New member
Feb 9, 2005
12
0
Owings Mills
Thanks for the info.

Not really what I am looking for. I am thinking more of like what an Ice cream truck is. But that has the window low enought that a car can pull up to it.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
KG, I can see you don't have enough vision to be in the gourmet coffee business. Now don't get defensive here by what I just said, this is what I mean you have no vision (think ahead ability). If you have a window that low in a van your going to have one hell of a backache, unless you are going to be sitting down on your roll around stool. Now your going to be getting up to operate the cash register or to make the drinks. Is that anyway to run a business? I think not..... In less you want to be crippled in a very short amount time by being bent over all the time. Like I said before, if your looking for comfort then you better get a drive-thru building!

Daniel.
 
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