Mobile espresso truck/van?

keithkranc

New member
Feb 21, 2005
1
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I'm considering buying a mobile truck or setting one up myself. Wondering if anyone has advice on the best way to go, and/or what kind of sales numbers I might be able to attain. Any general advice or opinion appreciated. Thanks.

Keith
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
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Mobile espresso truck/van

Keith, first of all, do you have a business plan? Having the business plan is the "Most Important". Without it you have no idea how to get from one point to the other (how or when to grow the business etc.). Get your business plan together "First" then worry about getting or building the truck. But if you build your own truck get ready for some very hard knocks from your local health dept (county/city). I hope you know how to draw blueprints for the health dept so they'll approve them before building the truck. Yes, they have to be very, very detailed and specific.

There are a bunch of mobile units out there. The Original Seattle Coffee Company, Trolley Car Coffee Co., Run Around Brew, Coffee Guy of Idaho are just a few.... The one of the few I listed is the one I see most of on the Internet as the one truck that most people are actually using. That one is The Original Seattle Coffee Company. Here are just a few of the places to go to see the truck online by those who are using it. Sam's Mobile Espresso Bar (www.samsmobileespresso.com) The Curbside Cafe (www.thecurbsidecafe.com) Now these two are of the older trucks that were made before the newest of the line came about... Now here is one of the newest trucks that The Original Seattle Coffee Company makes now. Cooks Mobile Coffee Co. has the newest truck design of them all. (cookscoffee.com)

I sure hope I have been of some help to you in your quest for a mobile espresso truck.

Signed,
Daniel.
 

mcgofy

New member
Nov 1, 2004
2
0
Espresso Van

The mobile espresso business is a great business, but as the other post says, you need to really be thoughtful and creative in how you set it up.

I own a mobile espresso unit myself, and am very succesful in its operation. But be very thourough because many many more are unsuccesful than are succesful!

The units that I have seen out there really vary as to quality and funtion. One popular model uses a "pickup" truck with basically a converted camper shell on the back. These trucks are "ok" but really do not age very well as I have 2 friends who own them. They are very expensive for what you get, and you better do well becaue their resale is maybe 50% of what you pay new! Do yourself a favor and see if you can buy a used one, you'll find one or two around, and their owners will be GLAD to take 30k!!

I have another friend who just completed a new one, built on a new stepvan chasis. She is probably spending 70 k or more, and is working out some problems with it. You really have to think it out when you do it yourself.

if you would like to talk about it, send me your email.


m
 

Jumpin Java Bean

New member
May 27, 2005
23
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& what about those health departments?

Very cool finding this thread - I've been thinking about the same thing, business plan and all. Enjoyed checking out the sites referenced. This is a pretty newbish question: I've inferred from my searching and surfing that mobile concessions are regulated by local county/municipal health departments - is it right to assume that if I want to vend at festivals and special events in three nearby counties, I will need permits for each county? In particular, my question has to do with wanting to do festivals in my own and nearby states. Does this complicate matters? If the vehicle has to be inspected for the permit, will I have to drive to the state a week before the event for the permit turnaround? Yuck. What do carny vendors do? Thanks in advance.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
Re: & what about those health departments?

Jumpin Java Bean said:
Very cool finding this thread - I've been thinking about the same thing, business plan and all. Enjoyed checking out the sites referenced. This is a pretty newbish question: I've inferred from my searching and surfing that mobile concessions are regulated by local county/municipal health departments - is it right to assume that if I want to vend at festivals and special events in three nearby counties, I will need permits for each county? In particular, my question has to do with wanting to do festivals in my own and nearby states. Does this complicate matters? If the vehicle has to be inspected for the permit, will I have to drive to the state a week before the event for the permit turnaround? Yuck. What do carny vendors do? Thanks in advance.

First off Jumpin Java, It helps to have a good idea as to what type of rig you're going to buy before asking the different counties for their health requirments for mobile vendors! Most mobile coffee manufactures do this work for you. This only works as long as you have already made a commitment to buy or at the very least a good faith deposit (50% down)! Now, with that in mind, contact the manufacture of said rig and let them know what county you plan to do the most vending (home county)! Also tell them all of the other events you plan to do and what counties they are in, so they can make sure your rig is going to meet all the different requirments for all of those counties! This is what your paying them to do when you buy their rig, so let them do it! And if they try to charge you more for that service, go elsewhere to buy your rig! Yes, you will need a business license & health permit for each county you do business in. Yes, they all have their hand in your pocket before you even get started doing business in their county, but that's the cost of doing business if you want to do business there!
 

Jumpin Java Bean

New member
May 27, 2005
23
0
Barista E: Thanks! I am totally in the information gathering stage, not ready to quit my day job, though in that context I am already self employed, and flexible, so I think I can creep up on this idea stealthily.

By your own recommendations on other threads, I have contacted Original Seattle and the Idaho Guy to see what they have to say, but I didn't know the manufacturer would work it out for the local environment, so I am a step ahead, and more prepared to ask intelligent questions. I expect to hear from them after the holiday.

Scrolled around the website of my local health department last night, and I think it told me that a permit for a Temporary Eating Event, if applied for with sufficient notice, would be field approved as concessions were being set up. Of course, they reserved the right to be vague, they're the government! Made sense to me, in that if a folk festival had a couple dozen vendors, they'd be arriving from all over at more or less the last minute, and the health department would be working overtime, thanks to our tax dollars. Would you say that this would typically be the case, and as long as you had a home county permit, had made a timely application, had a rig with a rep for compliance, and showed up with it in clean condition, proper temp in the cooler, and so forth, that scoring the permit would likely be a simple matter?

And any more insider tips for wrangling with the manufacturers?
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
Jumpin Java, I know that The Original Seattle Coffee Co. does do the work for you. They contact your home health dept. and send them the specs. of the truck to see if it would meet their requirements. And if not they will mark what they would like to see changed and send it back to The Original Seattle Coffee Co. But like I said before they won't do anything until you have paid for the rig (in full) first, then they go to work for you in getting it cleared by your local health dept.
 

Espresso911

New member
May 30, 2005
38
0
SF Bay Area/East Bay
New to the room

Hi guy's, I purchased a Mobile Espresso Vehicle from Seattle Coffee Trucks in Camarillo, Ca. about 5 months ago. Still searching for my niche, business wise, but I'm pretty happy with my rig and the support service. Actually, Bruce; the guy who builds them, only requires a small down payment to start the process and he won't build the vehicle unitil Health Department Approval has been obtained. Mine even passed the City of Berkley's inspection!

I'm starting a contract on a Coast Guard Station next week. Hopefully this will be profitable.

I'm just looking for others out there running the same sort of biz to trade information and experiances with. Look fwd to talking with you.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
Espresso911, Did you buy one of the new models or the older model? If you bought a newest model of the mobile esprsso truck, would you mind sending a few pics of the newer model. Just PM me for my e-mail.

Thanks ahead of time.
 

BaristaExpress

New member
Dec 21, 2004
51
0
Expresso911, it means private message (PM). Down below here (lower left) you'll see profile, pm and a e-mail button, just hit the pm one to send me a private message. :D
 

Espresso911

New member
May 30, 2005
38
0
SF Bay Area/East Bay
Yes it is a bit costly

You are right about it being a bit on the costly side. But it is custom built and I've been able with some modifacations to run my rig 14+ hours at 10,000 person plus events. Plus it looks COOL! well it will when I can afford to get it wrapped :grin: Now if I can only get a real route or gig??
 

Espresso911

New member
May 30, 2005
38
0
SF Bay Area/East Bay
Regarding Pictures

BaristaExpress;
Will send you some general pictures showing the outside of the truck. The inside is proprietary and you'll have to get Bruce's permission to check it out.

On the plus side, I've started my new gig with the Coast Guard and it seems like it will profitable :!:

Talk to you soon:
Denis
 

Coffee Newbie

New member
May 31, 2005
2
0
Actually I am new and interested in what the new models look like also so post them in the forum for all of us to see. thanks this thread is great, very informative.
 
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