Mobile Espresso Van Makeing Money or not ?

almostnuts

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Jan 29, 2005
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In my travels while over seas at a Military base they had a Mobile Espresso Van running 6:00 to 10:00 AM from shop to shop, after asking about the Van they make around $160.00 to 200.00 a day, same base same people.. Sooo after doing a little internet surfing, kinda confuess of what kind of gear you would need, looking at ebay for machine, ginders, gen, 240/120 volts, vans. So any adive would be nice. Who are where would be the best place to buy this items, not really looking to spend a whole of money on this. I have other income just thinking this would be nice in contracting new houses area etc...
thanks.Bob
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
Well you will be nuts by the time you finish this little undertaking. I have seen a lot of people do mobile coffee shops. The one thing I noticed on all of them, it was never cheap in the end. Retrofitting a van, truck or car to house a coffee shop will cost you more then you think.

If you don't have a power source handy you’re going to have to get a generator. 110 volt generators are very common. The problem you are going to run in to is the wattage. Even if you buy a small 110v espresso machine, they can pull 1,500 - 3000 watts. Tack on a coffee brewer for another 2000 - 4000 watts. Don't forget grinders, heaters, lights, and any thing else that draws power. I found a 7550 watt with a max at 13,500 watts generator at Lowes for $1200. You can also check here for generators.
http://www.portable-electric-power-gene ... ecials.htm
I would suggest a 220v generator, but the costs keep going up.

I have seen a few installs where they actually had the generator built in to the vehicle. But when you do that you have to consider venting, cooling, and noise control.

Now you also need a water supply, which will mean storage tanks plus a pump to give you some working head pressure. Don't forget a waste tank. Now by some miracle you can accomplish all this for under $10,000, you might want to check with local and state codes to make sure what you have done is even legal.

I am not trying to persuade you not to do this. I just want you to know that this isn't something you can just slap together and go do. And nothing in the coffee world is cheap. Most people who own coffee shops will tell you it is a labor of love.
 
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almostnuts

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On my way

So far found a real nice Ford van $500.00, getting ready to paint I'll do this my self and got a new used 120/220 volt gen, elec start $500.00. Like I said early this is a low buget project and still thank I can make this under 4k still looking for a used espresso machine send them my way.. Thanks..Bob
 

phaelon56

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Sep 25, 2003
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Syracuse NY
If they're making $160 - $200 per day NET PROFIT with six days per week of steady business at that rate. Not bad and it could a nice little independent business for one person.

But if the gross sales are $160 - $200 per day I just can't see it being a good opportunity. Keep in mind that you should have some mechanical ability to repair/maintain the equipment yourself as needed and ideally have some back up gear. If you have only one espresso machine and it ends up being out of commission for several days while you wait for parts or find someone to fix it... it might cost you customers.

It's not that the need for repairs is typically a frequent occurrence but you have to be prepared for the possibility.
 

ourcoffeebarn

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Nov 8, 2004
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Wisconsin
Keep looking on Ebay for your used machines and grinders if you catch the right auction you can save a bunch, but beware if you get the wrong auction you could just be buying a piece of junk! Be Careful, GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN!
 
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almostnuts

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Machine

Found a rebuilt Faema 2 group semi auto $1,000.00 with pump and filter, and flojet. Works great again trying to keep this low buget working on inside of van, next 9" ss sink 6.5 gallon waste tank, 2.5 ge hot water tank, 5 gallon frest tank, Coke Coca tank works great, LOW BUGET these guys saying can't be done for that price I'm right now up $2000.00 Van, Faema, Gen. :)
 
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almostnuts

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Tanks

Friend of mine works on refrigeration, and a/c, plus coke fountain machines looking on the net for water supply found out that Espresso cart used SS tanks same as coke syrup, so went over my buddy and presto he had three of them plus lines all hookups and pump, price freebee. Feels like Monster Garage and yes I'm taking pictures... :D
 
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