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Looking to start a cafe with no taste for coffee and no experience!

antiduke

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Apr 22, 2014
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I suppose that got your attention. As the title says, I am looking into starting a cafe yet I personally don't care for coffee, and have 0 experience making it. (I do love the smell though!) So, before you crucify me please let me explain in a little more detail, as I am coming at this from a slightly different perspective. What I know and love are board games. I am passionate about them, much as many of you are with coffee. I have seen several instances of the two blending well with one another, and I believe they can compliment each other nicely. As I am beginning to look into the coffee side of things I am discovering there is alot more involved than simply putting in the beans and hitting a button or two. So, I ended up here as there seems to be a wealth of knowledge on the subject!

A few preliminary questions that are running through my head:
Is there a happy in-between type of coffee making that is considered "good" by the coffee connoisseurs that can be made without a tremendous amount of knowledge? Or is it pretty much you either have instant or amazing?

Is making great coffee mostly about knowing the equipment and how to use it or...?

And I do realize this may seem crazy to even be considering this with no experience or even a taste for coffee, and I am still considering other options. One of which might be to try to partner up with someone who shares the same passion for coffee as I do games, but obviously I would rather not do that for financial reasons. Also, fwiw this would be in a small college town.

I look forward (I think) to hearing from you guys. Until then I will be perusing the forums for knowledge!
 

John P

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Jan 5, 2007
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Salt Lake City
In order for you to succeed, YOU have to be the expert, YOU have to be the best barista on staff. And be great at it. Being the best of a bad bunch would not be a good idea.

Do something else.

FWIW, at least you know it's a foolish idea. ... I'd say "stupid," but that would be harsh. :coffee1:
 
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antiduke

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Apr 22, 2014
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Please keep in mind that this is half of the business. Are you saying that it is required to be an expert in both fields to be successful? Being an expert in one field but an amateur in another wouldn't be doable?

I am essentially wanting to use the cafe as a platform to get people in the doors and experience something that they have never had before. Obviously though I want them to have a good cup of coffee while they are there or they won't come back.
 

PinkRose

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Feb 28, 2008
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Near Philadelphia, PA
Antiduke,

How are you planning to combine board games with coffee? Do you plan on having a place where people go to play board games, and the coffee is just the refreshment? Do people really play board games passionately? Is there betting involved?

I don't quite get the picture.
 
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antiduke

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Apr 22, 2014
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Antiduke,

How are you planning to combine board games with coffee? Do you plan on having a place where people go to play board games, and the coffee is just the refreshment? Do people really play board games passionately? Is there betting involved?

I don't quite get the picture.

Yes, having a place where people can sit and play board games, while having a coffee/tea/what-have-you. As for the passionate board gaming.. while there isn't money on the line, it has quite a following, and it is on the rise. And I'm not talking about your scrabble and monopoly *shudder*. The idea is to have a typical drink menu (possibly some pastry type things as well) and also have a "game menu". People can choose a game from one of many to play - and if they don't have a clue, which I expect at first, I or a staff member can recommend one based on preferences of the customer and also explain how to play.

Here are some examples of places around the country that are doing something very similar; Snakes and Lattes being the most recognizable amongst the gamer cafe world.

Snakes and Lattes - snakesandlattes.com/
hauntedgamecafe.com/news/the-cafe
enchantedgrounds.com/menu



Hopefully that gives a better idea of what I'm wanting to do.

 

BFRoasters

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Apr 13, 2014
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Before you spend a lot of time investing in something like that, you need to sit down with a financial planner and see if it is even feasible to make money with something like that. It seems very Niche and if you are in a small town you need to know your market. If someone comes in to play a game, they are going to be there a while, if you are charging by the hour for the game time you can't expect people to want to keep dishing out cash for coffee or whatever every hour. Restaurants and coffee shops make money through turning tables, getting a customer in giving them a good product and then getting them out(in a courteous and hospitable way) to sell more of said product. Coffee shops are a little easier because a lot of people take their coffee and go and there is less involved.

All that being said, you need to figure out what your profit margin might be, how much of everything you would have to sell, and if that is even possible in your town. Then ask yourself if you are willing to become an expert, or pay very very well for one to come work/partner with you.

Sounds like a cool idea though, but maybe you could start small, like a board game club that has a monthly membership or something and work your way up to a retail shop.
 
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antiduke

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Apr 22, 2014
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Before you spend a lot of time investing in something like that, you need to sit down with a financial planner and see if it is even feasible to make money with something like that. It seems very Niche and if you are in a small town you need to know your market. If someone comes in to play a game, they are going to be there a while, if you are charging by the hour for the game time you can't expect people to want to keep dishing out cash for coffee or whatever every hour. Restaurants and coffee shops make money through turning tables, getting a customer in giving them a good product and then getting them out(in a courteous and hospitable way) to sell more of said product. Coffee shops are a little easier because a lot of people take their coffee and go and there is less involved.

All that being said, you need to figure out what your profit margin might be, how much of everything you would have to sell, and if that is even possible in your town. Then ask yourself if you are willing to become an expert, or pay very very well for one to come work/partner with you.

Sounds like a cool idea though, but maybe you could start small, like a board game club that has a monthly membership or something and work your way up to a retail shop.

Thanks for the reply, and ideas. I have thought to some length about the "lingering" problem that you mentioned. Games that we would offer would be in the ~1 hour play time range, and I may categorize costs based on play time. Also, I didn't mention that we would also of course be selling games, and I would be giving the customer a chance to purchase the game they just played at a discounted rate. And yes, I am certainly working on coming up with a break-even analysis, to see if this will really be feasible.

I guess I have always assumed that making good coffee was no different than making a great *insert food item here*. If you have a great recipe, good ingredients, and the right equipment, is there a whole lot more involved than that? (I'm not talking about making the fancy images in the tops of drinks here.. just good tasting coffee/espresso/etc.)
 

BFRoasters

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Apr 13, 2014
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I just got into roasting, and I can tell you, there is nothing simple about coffee. My head hurts from all the info that I have learned.

Also if you don't enjoy something or have a passion for it, it is reasonable to assume that your business will reflect that.

If you want a for real coffee shop then I would say look to something else.

You could still serve better than average coffee, and get your beans and roasts from a roaster locally, and still profit off each cup, but you have to sell an awful lot of mediocre coffee to cover overhead.
 

PinkRose

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Feb 28, 2008
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Near Philadelphia, PA
Sounds like a cool idea though, but maybe you could start small, like a board game club that has a monthly membership or something and work your way up to a retail shop.

Another option would be to approach a local coffee shop and see if you could work out a deal for space. Maybe they'd be willing to have you there a couple evenings a week. They'd already have the coffee, staff, space, and you'd be able to test out your board game plan without investing too much money. If it starts to catch on, then you could think about getting your own place.
 

Jasonmck

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Feb 20, 2014
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There is an amazing store in my small town called Dave's Pop Culture. It's a board game store. They specialize in rare and cult board games. They also host a lot of game nights, Days week end tournaments. I come home at 2;00am some times and still see the lights on.
I'm a coffee guy and not a game person but I have friends who are.
The place is very successful because he is passionate about board games. Selling them and playing them. Maybe that would be a better avenue for you. Go high end gaming
 

PinkRose

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Feb 28, 2008
5,224
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Near Philadelphia, PA
There is an amazing store in my small town called Dave's Pop Culture. It's a board game store. They specialize in rare and cult board games. They also host a lot of game nights, Days week end tournaments. I come home at 2;00am some times and still see the lights on.
I'm a coffee guy and not a game person but I have friends who are.
The place is very successful because he is passionate about board games. Selling them and playing them. Maybe that would be a better avenue for you. Go high end gaming

I did a Google Search for Dave's Pop Culture. There are a lot of nice comments about Dave and his store.

Is it a big store? I would imagine that a lot of people would be taking up a lot of space - for hours - just playing games. What do they sell as refreshments?

I see that he sells other things such as comic books and toys in addition to the board games. It sounds like something "anitduke" would be interested in doing.
 
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antiduke

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Apr 22, 2014
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I did a Google Search for Dave's Pop Culture. There are a lot of nice comments about Dave and his store.

Is it a big store? I would imagine that a lot of people would be taking up a lot of space - for hours - just playing games. What do they sell as refreshments?

I see that he sells other things such as comic books and toys in addition to the board games. It sounds like something "anitduke" would be interested in doing.

Yes, I have of course thought of opening just a game store. The problem I have with this is that I think it would need to be in a BIG city to work. The core issue is board games are a very niche market. The majority of people don't know that there are games out there aside from monopoly, scrabble, and you have the "transitional" games like Settlers of Catan that are becoming a little more mainstream. The idea of pairing it with the coffee shop is to get a larger variety of people in the door and expose them to something new, which I think they will enjoy. (I have taught friends and family games for 3-4 years now and have converted everyone I have taught into a gamer.)

The other problem with the retail game stores is you very rarely have any idea of what a game is like before you buy it. And when they have sticker prices of 50-90 dollars, that makes it a tough sell. And for customers that already know what they want, they will likely be able to find it on amazon for 15% less. With the coffee shop, I am hoping to alleviate that burden by allowing them to play an open game before they buy it.

I do appreciate the thoughts though and I am obviously still in the *very* early steps of planning, so all ideas are welcome.
 

janry

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Dec 16, 2013
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Nashville, TN
Instead of having a full blown coffee shop, maybe you should start with just a snack bar that offers fine brewed coffee. Maybe some options such as pour over. See how that goes and if there is indeed interest in further coffee offerings.
 

Jasonmck

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Feb 20, 2014
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Yes, I have of course thought of opening just a game store. The problem I have with this is that I think it would need to be in a BIG city to work. The core issue is board games are a very niche market. The majority of people don't know that there are games out there aside from monopoly, scrabble, and you have the "transitional" games like Settlers of Catan that are becoming a little more mainstream. The idea of pairing it with the coffee shop is to get a larger variety of people in the door and expose them to something new, which I think they will enjoy. (I have taught friends and family games for 3-4 years now and have converted everyone I have taught into a gamer.)

The other problem with the retail game stores is you very rarely have any idea of what a game is like before you buy it. And when they have sticker prices of 50-90 dollars, that makes it a tough sell. And for customers that already know what they want, they will likely be able to find it on amazon for 15% less. With the coffee shop, I am hoping to alleviate that burden by allowing them to play an open game before they buy it.

I do appreciate the thoughts though and I am obviously still in the *very* early steps of planning, so all ideas are welcome.

Yes I understand that a board game store is a very niche market. That being said I live in a very small town and the store dose great. They may have comics and collectables as well to tell the truth I've only been inside for 10 seconds.

The store is not huge but then have a retail side and a game side.
 
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