New seaonal Coffee/Ice Cream Shop Owner asking advice.

Java Surfer

New member
Feb 22, 2007
Fenwick Island, DE
Hello all. Not so long time listener, first time caller. I've been reading the posts and it's nice to see that there are some very savvy people tuned in. I'm surprised these forums aren't a little busier though.
Need advice. I have had a seasonal Ice Cream shop for 3 summers and at the end of last season purchased a neighboring Coffee shop. I am combining the two businesses into one space, the Coffee shop, because it's twice as big and because that space faces the highway. That said, let me tell you about the coffee shop. The people I purchased the shop from had no food background, did nothing to make the space nice and to top it all off, they didn't even drink coffee!
I have a blank slate just about. I have my theme, The Hula Hut was my Ice Cream shop, and it has a reputation, so that stays. And the coffee shop will be called Java Surf Cafe. Total Name-The Hula Hut & Java Surf Cafe. Hawaiian, Hula, Tiki, Surf, Blue Hawaii Elvis, Beach Boys, Woodies. Hey, we're located at the Beach. 8)
I have my roasters picked out and I've focused on ones that have nice retail items also, mugs, hats, etc. I plan on adding Shock Coffee for instance.
Smoothies- Dr Smoothie
Shakes-Using The World's Best (made on the farm) Ice Cream
Tea- Revolution
Have the Espresso Machine
Use Ghirardelli Products
I try to use good stuff and be as healthy as possible, at the beach.
OK, so I have a huge opportunity to do some other things, namely food- breakfast sandwiches, lunch sandwiches, cereal, baked items, what else?
Does anyone have some advice as to the food items I should get into? Particular vendors of such.
My space is small, 880 SF, so I'm not looking to prep anything. I think I want to devote the room to freezers. Your thoughts?


New member
Aug 22, 2006
Columbus, OH
Be careful in your planning stages, "bright lit, stainless steel clad" ice cream parlors with "easy to clean" chairs and tables may not attract coffee drinkers. If your ice cream parlor is dimly lit with coffee house style chairs, (comfy reading chairs) and coffee tables, you may have stained furniture from small children dripping ice cream everywhere. When planning two companies like this, you may want to consider making each store separate with a dividing wall down the center. That way if you host a birthday party for a ten year old in the ice cream parlor, you will not disrupt the coffee house. Same said for a Friday night poetry reading in the coffee house, it only takes one screaming child to scare away all the patrons.
The other problem you may encounter is duel branding. When Friendly's started closing locations across the country, they realized it was because of branding. Customers did not know if Friendly's was a restaurant or an ice cream parlor. They did not execute ice cream and restaurant very well and started closing locations everywhere.

Just some food for thought! :grin:

Java Surfer

New member
Feb 22, 2007
Fenwick Island, DE
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Point taken...

however, no stainless, it's not a 50's theme, more 60's Hawaiian bamboo tiki theme. Like BadAss Coffee. My shop is located at the beach, it is seasonal, open May-October, small 880 SF inside with doors on both ends. Seating limted to 12 inside, but there are tables and benches and plenty of seating outside. It is a tourist, beach across the street location located in a cluster of fairly nice shops with a very busy lower end "big box" T-shirt, summer stuff joint next door.
No BD parties, No overstuffed chairs inside. The space is too small. I offer WiFi and the space is better utilized with tables for the "vacationing" biz people that come with laptops in the morning.
So it's Coffee drinkers in the AM.
Smoothies and Frappes in the day and
Ice cream lovers at night with a little crossover here and there.

I need to carry some food though. So, I would like some to hear from someone that possibly has some experience in a seasonal beach location.

Branding. McDonalds might mean hamburgers now, but not always. I think friendly's should be ashamed of themselves if that's the stance they took. I have no pity for them. McDonalds didn't sit there crying, while watching peoples tastes change. They reacted, adapted and in some cases directed peoples tastes.