First Day - Soft opening.

everydaygourmet

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Nov 15, 2004
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Hi all, well we had our first day Saturday - wow, it was very exciting - We did no advertising...just put the signs outside, and turned on the old obnoxious blinking "open" arrow sign Saturday morning to see what happened.

Our Goal was to make 20 Drinks in 5 hours - we made 18. ( we live in a small rural Western Montana town, and our stand is out in the country in case this sounds like more of a reason to shut down than too open) :wink:

We made it a point to talk a lot to every customer, as we are a little slow.

We asked every customer if they wanted a punch card (buy 10 get 1 free) they all did....and loved the fact that we were keeping it, and their info on file. Name, car, drink, and any facts we happened to grab. (all ideas we got in here)

We asked every customer to try the coffee before they left, to make sure it was too their liking.....people seemed to dig that we cared if it was to their satisfaction or not.

We actually have already heard a little "Buzz"going around (several people called that we know, and there were people talking up this new little coffee drive thru with awesome coffee at the local Holiday Festival.)

:-D :-D :-D

So that's good I guess.

Our goal for our first full work week (Business commuters) is 40-50 cups per day - see where we go from here.

thought I would pass on the news, and thank those who have posted a lot of ideas, and given us advice on products, etc.

Keep ya posted


Bo
Brealin's Every-Day-Gourmet
Espresso & Catering Company



"Cause life's too short to drink bad coffee!"
 

janie1963

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Mar 8, 2004
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Bo, sounds like a great opening. We did it very much the same almost 4 months ago...we also (and sometimes still do) asked the customers to try the drink and how they liked it. We also often ask if they have a milk preference (2%, skim, etc.) and get many compliments on that one.
Regarding the punch cards, we also keep them on file and for the majority of customers this is a great way to go. However, lately we had one customer(she gets a single shot over ice @.50) ask if she could keep her card in case we forget to punch it. We were a bit offended that she didn't trust us, but gave her the card. We also had a former employee who would start a card for someone (after they had visited a couple of times) and she would give the card a bunch of punches. She also started new cards when they already had one. Another customer asked to keep her own card, when we gave it to her she just looked at it and then told us we could continue to keep it on file-she just wanted to see that we were punching it. Soon I'll be getting new cards that I'll give to new customer and they can be responsible for keeping them. We'll continue to keep the regulars' cards if they want us to. Most do prefer that we keep them, but the few who question your intelligence kind of sour that.

Keep posting on your progress!
 

jpscoffee

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Nov 3, 2004
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Michigan
BO,
First of all congrats and welcome. Second, it looks like you did a pretty accurate job in your forcasting. Which leads me to believe you did a good job in the other areas of your business creation.
I wish you much success.
 
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everydaygourmet

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Nov 15, 2004
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jpscoffee said:
BO,
First of all congrats and welcome. Second, it looks like you did a pretty accurate job in your forcasting. Which leads me to believe you did a good job in the other areas of your business creation.
I wish you much success.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

uhhhhhh....well, not so fast there, Jack.

Tommorrow is Friday, end of the week.

So I guess it's time for a little report card on our opening, since I will be at the NCAA 1-AA Semi-Final football game on Saturday, and unable to report., I figured I would do it tonight (I seriously do appreciate everybody's kind words and support, and any advice I am sure I will be asking you all for in the future)

After all of our close friends who came by on Saturday for our official opening, could no longer come by (not on their commute) during the work week we did get a visit from "Mr. Reality check".

Don't laugh- these are real numbers:

Monday: 12 drinks
Tuesday: Seven Drinks (can you hear my brain screaming the word "Idiot" and "bad, bad, Idea!!") :(

Wednesday: 24 drinks and 2 sales of pre-paid cards.
Thursday: 31 drinks, and 3 pre-paid card sales.

The Good Side (I am a foam, half full, type guy) :wink:

All with no advertising, no real Banners/signage to speak of (we are working on that) and our main sign, does not seem to slow the 65 mph(or faster) traffic down. We may actually take it down and go with the "Bright" flashy sign like the sign company reccomended. It's only money.

I am encouraged though, The People love the coffee....I mean really love it, No one in the valley serves anything close to it. WHich was my goal.

The customers who have stopped, are coming back,,,,several....every day now.

A few people have bought drinks, every day we have been open(they were strangers a week ago....now we are inviting them to Christmas dinner.....hahaha ) I just need 75 or 100 more of those folks and we'll be fine :lol: :lol: :lol:

So there ya go....the first week, or almost, of a soft opening in Western Montana. Anbody wanna trade? Poverty with a view!!!????

Serious. We are encouraged, and have had several good laughs, and just realize we will have to work a few things out, and back off a bit on the 30 day expectations and possibly the 90 day as well and work a little harder to build it up.

That's ok, this is a great way to learn the business, and make a great name for our little company.

We ARE dedicated to making this something really great, and the customers (few that we have, ha ha) seem to really appreciate it.

Thanks for listening to me bear my soul, I'm sure I'll be back with more updates and lots of questions.

I love this forum!

Bo
 

mikegallien

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Dec 10, 2004
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By small rural montana town I was wondering what kind of population you are talking about. Just curious. Trying to decide if my small rural midwest hometown has enough coffee drinking population to support a shop.
 

Lisa

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Nov 9, 2004
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Kettle Falls, Washington
Congratulations!

Everydaygourmet ~ congratulations on your opening. Keep positive and keep working hard. I'm sure things will start to snowball. I want to congratulate you for jumping in and getting started. I am in the planning, researching and contemplating stage of starting an espresso drive thru in New Jersey. I'm thinking of this spring/summer. People like you are encouraging to people like me. Thanks for posting your experience on this forum. I will do the same. We can all encourage and support each other.
Good luck ~ Lisa
 
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everydaygourmet

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mikegallien said:
By small rural montana town I was wondering what kind of population you are talking about. Just curious. Trying to decide if my small rural midwest hometown has enough coffee drinking population to support a shop.

I live in a valley with a main town of 35K and several outlying areas/towns for a grand total of 120K in people +/- in the region.

I am on a road where about 10K drive by every day to go to town/work, and I am the first espresso stand in the lower valley before you actually hit town (where there are lots of drive-thru's)

I wish I was at an intersection, so people were in the process of slowing down....something I never thought of when I decided to open this.

1 week into it...I now know. :roll:

If you want to know my #1 "Wish list" of things I wold have done different, that would be it.

Good luck- my advice- reseach, research, and research....EVERYTHING. These groups are a great place to start.


Buy books, guides, etc.


Buy great equipment, (La Marzocco is the machine I will probably choose again for the next location)

Find great (wholesale) coffee, this is the fun part.....I loved the samples I got from so many people, it makes you realize...it's not all the same.

don't get hung up on price of it either.....

cause life's too short to drink bad coffee! :wink:

Bo
 

janie1963

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Mar 8, 2004
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Bo it sounds like our locations are very very similar. I am on a hwy 5-6 miles in between 2 towns;the smaller of the two has 2 drive-thrus, one of which does very well, even though they serve terrible coffee. The larger of the towns has several drive-thrus and one or two of them do very well. Our problem has been getting people to notice us, but those who do become regulars...we have about a 1-2 dozen everyday customers and dozens more who are repeat customers throughout the week. and new people stop by everyday, as well. Like I said before, we've been open for 4 months and people are still just discovering us. We are now seeing sales support the monthly expenses. And the sales aren't that great as a whole...in other words, the sales for me don't have to be that huge in order for me to take home some money at some point.

Hang in there and keep posting.
 

txgirl

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Nov 8, 2004
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This has been an incredibly encouraging discussion. I am working on opening a drive-thru in an urban area with traffic count in the 25,000 range with no drive-thrus in the area currently. If "everydaygourmet" and "janie1963" can be successful out in a rural area, it gives me great optimism for my venture. Your real world experience is much appreciated...I'm taking lots of notes to apply when we open. Thanks so much for sharing!!
 

Lisa

New member
Nov 9, 2004
8
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Kettle Falls, Washington
I agree. This is so awesome to hear real life experiences. I have learned so much from this forum and am planning to open my espresso drive thru in New Jersey this coming spring/summer ~ if all goes well. I'm looking to replace my husbands income and then some. Of course, he'll continue to work for the first 6 months or so until we see just how good business is going. Thanks again for all the input and keep up the posting ~ I look forward to reading almost every day.
Lisa
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
Hey everydaygourmet:

A BIG Congrats!!! :D Yeah, the speed issue is always a tough one. As you said, if you knew then what you know now, you may have selected another location. But don't fret :) Keep you head up and pencil out some ideas that will get your customers to come in. You may want to ask your coffee roaster for some ideas on how to promote your business. That would be a good start. Especially if they have experience in the drive thru business. In any case keep monitoring, that's a good thing. This way you can measure your progress. You won't do it over night, but at least you'll be able to record the highs and the lows and have some comparison numbers to work with.

In any case good luck 8)
 
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