new business within large uk hq


New member
Mar 29, 2004
North East England
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I'm opening a coffee shop within a large corporate HQ in the UK (about six weeks off opening). I'm having a million and one last minute panics the most significant being - have I got enough potential customers on site to keep me afloat?!

I have a business masters and have worked in coffee shops since I was 16 (I'm now 25). I won the contract by securing a meeting with their top people. I am going for the quality angle - why can't you have high street standard coffee whilst at work etc. and local/regional snacks. I am not allowed to do 'full scale' meals, sandwiches or soup - the other guys are doing it and I can't persuade them to let me. I'm getting round it with open toasties, cheese & biscuits, homemade cakes and snacks.

Help! See if you think it's viable - deep down I do, I'm just having a last minute crisis of confidence!!!!

Here are the details:
-The HQ has about 1000 employees
-The unit seats about 40, people can take coffee to their desks
-My only competition is Compass group (mass market contract caterers)
-Have negotiated a deal whereby I am the only 'bean to cup' offer (They can only do instant sludge)
-I'm wanting to keep my prices low - people are at work they don't spend as much as on the high street
-Coffee hasn't taken off anywhere near as much over here although I am convinved it will
-The company are paying for the fit out, all equipment and utlities
-My big plan is to bring drive thru to the UK - it hasn't been done and I don't see any reason why not. I just need experience in opening a shop and a great deal of cash..!

Thanks in anticipation - it's such a relief to find places like this.

Mr. Bingley

New member
Mar 16, 2004
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i would think about having a seperate liine for people who want 'regular' coffee. it's very annoying to be pressed for time in an office and get stuck in line behind three people who want double-frappo-mocha-cappa-dappa steamed frothies that take a few minutes to concoct while i just want an honest cup of coffee...

good luck, though!

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
Seattle,Washington USA
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You say that the company paid for the build out? That's great! What kind of equipment do you have there? Who laid out your space for operation? How long is your lease? If the ground work has been set, I wouldn't concern myself with the catering company since it appears that you have a non-compete on certain items. If you only have about 6 weeks til opening I would concern myself with the training of your staff and make sure you have your operations end covered. Of course you better have some great coffee to serve. Good suggestion about having a seperate line for drip coffee. In fact, that can be self served with a variety of different coffees to choose from. Remember the beginning will always seem overwhelming until you work the bugs out :lol:

Good luck