Need advice

Kara

New member
Sep 16, 2004
2
0
PA
I would like to start a coffee cart business in PA. I would provide this service for weddings, conventions, caterers, etc for a predetermined charge. I need advice on whether I'm better to go with a franchise like cafe ala carte or try it on my own. The cafe ala carte franchise fee is $25000 and that seems kind of steep to me, especially considering I'll be doing this on a part-time basis..at least to start. But on the other hand, I want to have a successful business, and if that means going with a franchise, then it's worth it. I don't have any experience/knowledge in the coffee business. How hard is it to choose your equipment, good suppliers, etc? I have a great business sense and don't think I'd have a problem dealing with the business aspects of it myself (getting customers, expenses, etc.).
 

Chelle

New member
Sep 14, 2004
26
0
My advice is to shop and compare. You can purchase carts that include your equipment, and are not part of a franchise. Then you can supply your cart and make choices about the the products you supply, which would be my personal option, as the quality of the coffee would be to my discretion. But buying a frachise is more like one stop shopping and if this is a part time venture that may be a good choice for you.

What does the franchisor provide, equipment, training, product, marketing etc? If it's all inclusive $25,000 doesn't sound like a bad deal, but, I would still research the business, especially the franchises you are considering

Good Luck!
 

coffeenewbie

New member
Jul 30, 2004
3
0
Maryland
Cafe in PA

Hi KR,
What part of PA are you in, or did I miss it in your post? I know of a place in Shrewsbury that is looking to sell. It's a beatiful place, 3700 sqft, mtg room, fireplace, leather sofa....the works. The only problem I see with it is the most important....location...it's on the third floor of a converted sewing factory....other tenants include Curves, a dance school, and other low traffic offices (lawyers, accountants, insurance agents).

If you know Shrewsbury, you know it has tons of churches, and the owner was hoping to lure local church groups in for meetings, events, etc. He even has a keyboard and sound system installed and used to have musicians in the evening hours.

I can hook you up with the owner if interested.

Ken
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hi Kara:

This is a common question asked repeatedly. You might want to visit some of the previous threads on this forum and review some of those responses. This forum and a few others can be pretty helpful, but may not totally answer your question to total satisfaction. Everyone's replies will be different and may confuse the issue for you especially if they are not in your neck of the woods. Although I could be wrong. Additionally everyone's level of experience in certain areas may not be exactly helpful to you either. So you may want to search some of the older postings if they are still available on this subject and see what you come up with.

But first and foremost, sit down and pencil out some ideas as to what you are trying to accomplish. And figure out if there is someone else you might partner with. It's always easier to have a second person to both bounce ideas off of and to share with the operations and expenses with. By doing this first, you stand a better chance to determine if it is even feasible to start the business. Purchasing a bunch of equipment in hopes of doing a catering type of business is very hard to be successful especially if you don't have a market to cater to. That is why you pencil things out first and make a plan that you feel good about. Plan first...spend later.
 
OP
K

Kara

New member
Sep 16, 2004
2
0
PA
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Thanks for all of your advice! I plan to do extensive research on the feasibility of a coffee cart business in my area before investing in either my own business or a franchise. I'm just trying to figure out which would be the better way to go if I do determine that this would be a good business for this area. I was hoping maybe others had experience making the same decision and/or knew more about the cafe ala cart franchise and whether it was even a good franchise to look at. Thanks Again! I've read a lot of the postings on this website and it has been very educational.
 

espressomaniac

New member
Jul 8, 2004
67
0
Tacoma
franchise

$25k for some equipment I'd normally charge 10k max, that gives me another $15k for all of the "fluff" you are buying into for the franchise, yeah, there are "some" supplies, but the bulk of it is an overhead that needs to be ordered fresh, ie. coffee, milk, juices, etc.. Coffee Guy is right on when he said to pencil this down, I think once you see the numbers, comparing what you get with the quick fix verses assembling this yourself, you'll find the indecision to melt away.

To expand upon this further without rehashing the general concensus, money to the side, do you want to run this as "your own" with your own rules, or do you want to buy into a job where you are just the manager?
 

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