forgive me, I'm a noob...


New member
Sep 12, 2007
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Hello everyone! I'm new here! I've been reading my this forumso much i feel like i know everyone and haven't really talked to anyone here... i have to say there are SO MANY intelligent and kind people here! This is the first site i've found like this.

I'm in the very VERY beginning stages of planning to open a coffee shop. I have to say a lot of the forums here have already answered some of my questions... but I still feel like I'm forgetting something.

I don't expect anyone to hand out info like water or anything... just maybe some pointers or direction on how to continue my research as well as any major things i may have overlooked... so here's my quick overview:

I have a vision of a shop in our area (there are none in the city i live in and only a few in neighboring cities) that serves coffee and specialty beverages, and a very limited food item menu consisting of mostly bakery goods with a few select sandwhiches and salads. I have a theme in mind that would eventually involve live music. Its a christian centered coffee shop, and we're planning a lot of advertising within the church community - which is HUGE where I live. We're really looking for a gathering / "hang out" place for people in our area to go... youth, families, small groups, etc. and feel its something the community will really take to, and for people to know they can go to for great coffee and great fellowship.

I've started doing research on equipment needed, locations, beans, food supplier's, and permits and restrictions for the city, and I've started writing up a business plan... The "vision" part of this is easy for me... the numbers part isn't. I've read a lot on this forum about getting foot or car traffic numbers, etc. and have read a lot about the % of traffic and average sale and stuff... but I feel like I'm missing something?

this is what i have under my grasp so far... i need a location, any applicable permits and stuff, coffee equipment, furnishings, financial tracking stuff (like a POS station) coolers and display cases, coffee beans, equipment and supplies for our other drinks offered... the legal stuff like incorporating and getting proper insurances ... what the heck am I missing? I've got the vision and the passion, i just feel like it can't be "that easy" (disclaimer, **not** trying to say its EASY... just trying to say what am i missing!?!)

i know i have to work my butt off for this, and i'm MORE than willing to... i just feel like I'm walking blind right now, and could use any advice of where to go or what else I need to do.

I'm still trolling the forums, and dutily making notes and bookmarking sites.

thanks in advance! I hope I get to know you all better :)

oh! I almost forgot! does anyone know of a paper cup vendor that offers all-over 4 color process cups in quantities of less than 25000 per size? We're planning on using real mugs for in store, but would like completely customized cups to go... the logo is black and orange, so im really hoping to get a 'solid' (all over color) black cup with the logo...

thanks!! :)

forgiven and what's missing

Building a business isn't about good intentions but good planning. Get the books on running a successful coffee business. Get your vision clear and understand the investment you will need to achieve your vision. The investment to achieve a $1,000 a day in revenue will be different from a $500 a day shop. Write a thorough business and marketing plan. Be very, very cautious about buying business plan software because, I think very firmly, that these products are too canned and do not allow you enough flexibility to pro forma and play what if.

Do you know Excel well? Microsoft has some P&L and Cash Flow worksheets (very different and both very critical) that can be easily modified. You could set up your accounts in Quickbooks and build a chart of accounts and budget. Quickbooks will export P&L and budget information to Excel to do "what if" scenarios. What if I get 100 customers a day? 200? What if my average transaction is $3. $4.

Sweat the little stuff. The "cool" paper cups we just replaced with a more prosaic cup was cost us $15,000 a year differential ... a $0.10 savings per cup!

This isn't easy. We opened in January 2006 and we're still struggling with budget to P&L comparisons that are accurate enough to make decisions.

Stop in and visit and we'll be happy to chat!

Conscious Cup
625D Cog Circle
Crystal Lake, IL


New member
Sep 12, 2007
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thanks, I think i'm going to get a few books. I've been doing most of my research online... and while I have found a lot of information, I still feel like there is so much more I need to know. I know that I'm a long way off from opening the door, but that's why I'm here... figure I have to start somewhere :) I'll definitely look at the sheets you talked about, I'm an intermediate to advanced user on excel, i use it in depth every day at work for reporting and other information, as well as attended a few office classes (a beggining and intermediate) in college. Thanks for the advice! I really want to be prepared, and I know it will be a struggle at times, but I feel I'm up for it! My husband owns a small computer repair "in home" business, so we already understand some 'general' business end things, although I know a coffee shop is a totally different ball game!

John P

Active member
Jan 5, 2007
Salt Lake City
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Training. (if you've not already achieved expertise through a former venue)

What is your experience with or knowledge of coffee and espresso as relates to bean selection, freshness, grinding, dosing, tamping, water ratio, correct temperature, flow, color/persistence of crema... and how to diagnose and correct flaws due to changes in humidity, age of beans, etc.

THIS is most important aspect with marketing and business skills a close second, but a definite second. Coffee first, business second, but you MUST have both.