Location Location Location

kafetzi

New member
Dec 8, 2004
1
0
Hi guys, this is my first post here, though I've been lurking for a bit.

The coffee bug has bitten me and I want to open a coffee cart. A very bare-bones-type operation that I will work myself at first. I already have experience as a barista, working at Peet's and a small mom-and-pop place (and even a brief stint at Starbucks), so at least I have some of the needed skills/experience already.

I know the first thing I have to do is find a location. But what's the best way to go about this? Drive around to places with heavy foot traffic until I spot something? I need some direction or framework to conduct my search. Unless I haven't been paying much attention, there doesn't seem to be that many carts where I live (SF Bay Area). Any tips you could provide for finding a spot in the Bay Area would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

espressomaniac

New member
Jul 8, 2004
67
0
Tacoma
Good Topic!!!

This topic is right up my alley, here is a starting point:

http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/CD/...n/MobileFoodFacilityApplicationPacket2004.pdf

This is your espresso cart packet, it explains what is necessary for your facility to get the cart running, I noticed their regs are pretty standard in the industry outside of the 7.5 gallon waste tank, I normally set up a dual waste take system where one spills over to the other or can custom fabricate one.

You'll find a ton of data from that page and it will give you a good starting point when you go out shopping for a cart. Be thankful you aren't in other Counties such as LA, the regs are just overbearning and you'd find your a cart that matches those their codes very hard to find, much less inexpensive.

"Anyway, in a nutshell, you need a box that has the toys to keep the health department happy" from there, machine, grinder, refrigerator, location with access to a commissary and you are pretty much set along the physical set up and is a good place to start.
 

barefoot

New member
Sep 21, 2004
75
0
Santa Clara, CA
Cart location etc

There are tons of good locations here around the bay area. Obviously some are better than others. I would go for a location that has lots of permanent people and has a routine influx of lots of visitors. That is harder to find though of course.

Make a list of the types of customers you want and the times you want to do it. THen start brainstorming about types of locations and then narrow it down to specifics. If you just drive around you will not be able to know what you are looking for and make a rational decision. With a cart ALL you have is location. I would tend towards somewhere where you CAN develop a reputation and a following of regular customers. Regulars are what makes the biz so much fun. Getting to know them etc. Go for a mix of regular office workers, local neighbors and tourists. Pay more to get the best location and you will get more revenue which always solves every other problem. More revenue is better than lower costs.

Where in the Bay Area are you? We are in Santa Clara. We have some whoelsale customers that do carts for special events but none that are permanent locations. Think about the East bay or the peninsula where good coffee is hard to find. Maybe think towards something that alows you to be in a set location a few days a week and then allows you to be mobile for special events like farmers markets etc.
 

MJB

New member
Jan 6, 2005
2
0
Location, Location, Location, Part II

I new to this forum (and the coffee business) and really appreciate all of the information I have come across already. I have been researching opening a specialty beverage cafe that will serve gourmet coffee and keep hearing that the most important thing is location, location, location!

I am also in the San Jose California, Bay Area and I am looking to open a location in Santa Clara county, but it seems like good locations are hard to find (I've been looking for over 6 months). I have been driving around looking and recently enlisted the help of a commercial real estate company. Any suggestions on what really defines an ideal location? One place I am currently looking at is on a busy street, very visible, but I don't think it gets a lot of foot traffic. No schools (high school or colleges) or business parks nearby (within a one or two mile radius) either. Can I expect to be successful pulling predominently from drive by traffic and folks in the neighborhood? Average income in one mile radius $100K.

Any suggestions on the critical criteria to look for when picking a location would be helpful. Also a friend of mine has encouraged me to look in other areas where more growth is taking place, like Sacramento versus trying to make a go of it in Santa Clara county. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks in advance,

MJB
 

Mudd Sucker

New member
Jan 31, 2005
1
0
Stay away from Mountain Mudd Espresso

If you value your money and wish to start a coffee drive-thru business find a reputable company. Do not, I repeat do NOT do business with the Mountain Mudd Company in Billings Mt. Turn around and run the other way and don't ever look back. They will sell you a bill of goods and not deliver what they sell you and will not help you get your business premitted and most of the time they do not meet local permitting standards You would be better off giving your money to your favorite charity which at least you would feel good about. In fact getting your money stolen from you from a mugger would give the same feelling as doing business with Mountain Mudd.
 

Rowley

New member
Mar 7, 2003
323
0
California
Re: Stay away from Mountain Mudd Espresso

Mudd Sucker said:
If you value your money and wish to start a coffee drive-thru business find a reputable company. Do not, I repeat do NOT do business with the Mountain Mudd Company in Billings Mt. Turn around and run the other way and don't ever look back. They will sell you a bill of goods and not deliver what they sell you and will not help you get your business premitted and most of the time they do not meet local permitting standards You would be better off giving your money to your favorite charity which at least you would feel good about. In fact getting your money stolen from you from a mugger would give the same feelling as doing business with Mountain Mudd.
Mudd Sucker, can you give any examples or hard facts on why not to do business with Mountain Mudd?
 

AprilG

New member
Feb 8, 2005
2
0
Not Mountain Mudd? Are there any good recommendations?

I looked at Mountain Mudd -- decided I'd rather do everything myself, maybe with some consultation. I just moved to Ohio from Washington state and am originally from Montana, so coffee is not new to me, but it seems like a semi-new concept here.... Good opportunity? Or are people out here not ever going to be esspresso drinkers? Most everyone I've met so far only drinks drip coffee -- most not even with cream or sweetener.

Any advice?

Thanks so much in advance -- this forum is GREAT!!! : )
 

everydaygourmet

New member
Nov 15, 2004
45
0
Re: Not Mountain Mudd? Are there any good recommendations?

AprilG said:
I looked at Mountain Mudd -- decided I'd rather do everything myself, maybe with some consultation. I just moved to Ohio from Washington state and am originally from Montana, so coffee is not new to me, but it seems like a semi-new concept here.... Good opportunity? Or are people out here not ever going to be esspresso drinkers? Most everyone I've met so far only drinks drip coffee -- most not even with cream or sweetener.

Any advice?

Thanks so much in advance -- this forum is GREAT!!! : )

Bonus for you....

No competition for locations.
If they like black coffee...they will LOVE Americano's. (get great coffee, a great machine, and learn how to use it....and pull great shots!)

I am a big believer in the glass (coffee cup, whatever) being half-full vs. Half-empty! :wink: :-D :)

Good luck!

P.S> you aren't the gal who lived up north of Spokane I spoke to a few months back, are you? I just opened my drive-thru in Kalispell (Somers) Montana.
(I'm a E. Washington Native)

remember....somebody has to be first to open one...if there are Starbucks...You should be fine! (Cause you will make way better coffee than them)

Find a good roaster in the region....talk with them about beans, etc. Be passionate about everything you do int he biz, and the customers will come back again (and again, and again) :-D

Let me know via PM if you have any questions.


Brealins_Sign.jpg
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Good comments E.D.G. everything you've pointed out is correct. I won't bother adding more comments. I think you've covered most bases. And April G if customers want a good drip coffee, then by all means, serve them drip coffee. That would serve as a great ice breaker when you introduce and educate them with espresso. Since S.B.'s is introducing themselves just about everywhere, this helps you to create a local and personal buzz throughout your local area.

As for Mountain Mudd, I don't know anything about them other than what I've seen on their site. Although espresso carts & cafes have been around for awhile; remember this drive thru industry is still pretty new to those mainly outside of Washington State and many are still a little afraid to go out there on a limb. One has to beware of those "Johnny Come Lately" consultants that have popped up within the last few years with claims of making you a successful business, and some of these people have never owned a business, let alone an espresso business. The best opinion I can offer (because advise costs) :wink: Is to set down and really pencil things out as best you can with all the information you have compiled, and when you can go no further and you still want to pursue this business, then your next step is to interview some consultants. Ask some hard questions, maybe even get some referrals. And if using referrals, don't call them right away. Give it a few weeks, this way the referral can not be set up prior to your calling and you can get a more honest opinion about your consultant and how they benefited from his/her help & services. If you find the one you feel comfortable with then go to the next level. As I said I don't know anything about Mountain Mudd, but it sounds like...well you know :wink:
 

Leah

New member
Jan 6, 2005
2
0
MUDD SUCKER

Mudd Sucker sounds a little bit upset! You make all these comments but you don't back them up. I am in the process of starting my own coffee company and I have talked with MM and Java Grande as well as Java Joz. At least MM has kiosks in other states, Java Grande says they do but you cannot find them and Joz is too expensive. SO, Mudd Sucker, tell us more ... we all need to be informed!
 
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