mobile coffee shop

javalover

New member
Sep 20, 2004
2
0
wayland,ny
HI,
I'm new to this forum and would like some help with an idea!
My wife and I are thinking of starting a coffee shop using
a concessions trailer.
we would take this trailer to local festivals in NY state.
We would serve most of the items a regular coffee shop would like
espresso,lattes,chai and fresh ground coffee.
Maybe even roast our own beans at some point.
Has any one out there tried this before?
Would like input from anyone out there!
thanks,
alan
:)
 

makjava

New member
Sep 3, 2004
9
0
My first thought is electrical needs. We have been in the biz for 8 years and power seems to be the biggest challenge. We finally purchased a large generator to solve the problem.
 
OP
J

javalover

New member
Sep 20, 2004
2
0
wayland,ny
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
thanks for the reply,
I'm at the point now that i'm trying to add up all the things that run on
electric and go from there.
So you are doing the same kind of business?
what kind of wattage did you get?
Also, can you tell me what kind of money maker it is?
thanks,
alan
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
0
Greetings,

We're doing the same thing. Instead of standing inside, I'm going to be on the outside with the side opening to form a cover.

Powerwise, we're using propane to create the plumbing system and a small generator for the grinder, lights, fridge and regular coffee brewer. I was really surprised to learn that an espresso machine took as many watts as a stove :!: , but since most of that is to heat the water, we'll take the power needs off the gen. and put it onto the propane.

I was also surprised how many watts a satellite coffee brewer takes. I need the satellite for the health codes here.

Then, there's the four sinks, waste water tank, fresh water tank, water pump... It's a never ending list, ey?

Right now, we're looking at a start up budget of $7500. I have a confirmed place in the spring at our community farmers' market, but we're building it now to use during the holidays. I'll opt for the plug-in power whenever it's offered, that's for sure!

But, we don't have leases on property, do we? :grin:
 

makjava

New member
Sep 3, 2004
9
0
We bought a 30 KW - I think that is 30,000 amps - not sure. It is a very large generator, but it does the job ! We are running frozen beverage machines, ice shavers, blenders, freezers, frig, commercial cooler, coffee brewing equip. and pumps for water, ect ect. Like I said, we have been in the biz for 8 years. It is a profitable business - the key is to pick your events carefully. We have made some big mistakes over the years- always get the info you need before booking an event - number of expected patrons, other vendors attending, ect.
 
We had a buzz mobile made. The yahoos in facilities like stainless so they made all the counters in stainless. Then the damn thing was too heavy to pass inspection in its classs.

Weight is a huge consideration. All the DOT rules.

In addition, check the venues you're interested in. Vehicle size can be an issue. Stay small enough to maneuver, park, get permits.

Big enough to be a coffee shop on wheels. Remember - cups take up a lot of space. If you're doing a big event, make sure you've got room for a few cases of cups.

Don't skimp on your heater. Oh yeah, if you're doing something in winter, don't let the water freeze. Even with a big generator, you're not going to thaw enough water to serve hot coffee in time for your event.

If you're using airpots or cambros, you may want to travel with them full of hot water. Once you arrive on site, you'll want all your hot water for brewing, not for pre-heating your servers.

Spend the extra money for a wrap. Fabulous marketing value, even when you're moving. Put a phone number and a web address so people driving behind you can have an easy way to get in contact with you.

Good luck.
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
0
Hey Makjava, would you mind sharing any of those "Big Mistakes" you mentioned? Would love to learn from someone who's been doing this successfully awhile :!:
 

makjava

New member
Sep 3, 2004
9
0
Some of our big mistakes ??? Basically, not doing our homework & using common sense. Always, get the necessary information before booking an event ---- number of patrons expected, other vendors that are competition and never "over-pay" to be at an event. Whenever possible, call vendors that have attended the event previously - see if they are returning, what kind of moneymaker it was, ect.
 
Mak - Have you found the best events to be craft shows, country fairs, sporting events, music festivals, antique car shows, horse shows, balloon festivals, concerts, political events or something else? We've had the most luck with sporting events - there are some issues on the big ones like the X-Games who have official coffee companies (like Dunkin Donuts).

Balloon festivals turn a pretty good early morning business, but you need to be up darn early to catch those balloonists before the am launch. It also makes for great photos if you have a web site.

If you're going to do something like that, try to get branded cups. We've found that people are more likely to ask, "Where did you get that coffee?" if the cup clearly indicates there is coffee in it. I can't think of too many people who have asked, "Where did you get that cup of tea?"
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
0
Thanks for your thoughts.

I'm not planning on doing many events this year as we're just getting it up and going. I have a confirmed place in our community's Farmers' Market, but this holiday season I would like to break it in at a few shopping centers like JC Penny.

The style of the cart is what I hope opens the doors for me in these shops (which have no other coffee places in their shopping plazas). As soon as the painting is done, I'm taking a picture and business card and heading to the stores to see if I can set up to service their super-early day-after Thanksgiving sales week customers. I'm still amazed that sooo many people go there at 5:00 to freeze until the stores allow them in...

Since the Farmers Market gave me the okay, I can't help but noticed the areas around town that funnel the early morning communte to our city's downtown area (capitol of the state). There is a bakery on a main artery that has two entrances and they serve no coffee (!). Again, as soon as the paint job is complete, I'll talk to them.

Thanks again for your thoughts. :grin:
 

Latest posts

Top