Opening a coffee shop finally!

Dec 24, 2003
19
0
Victoria, BC
Well next week I have my soft opening of my coffee shop. Finally, I have one of my own to take on the giants.

It is located in a local business hub surrounded by businesses and then downtown. My biggest worry was how to get people in off the streets but I know I just have to build up the clientele with high quality coffee, smart marketing and a couple things that I can offer to my customers that give me a competitive advantage over the other coffee shops in the area (which there are many).

My shop will be extremly evironmentally friendly with all organic fair trade coffees, recyclable cups, organic sugar, cream etc etc. From my experience, I have not seen many coffee shops that are this strongly environmentally aware and am excited to see what the reaction is with the customers. If anyone knows of coffee shops that operate like this please let me know what you've seen.

The shop is actually a very small bar area and will be more of a "take out" coffee shop but in the next couple months I will probably be getting tables and chairs outside on the sidewalks of downtown. Right now I will probably only have enough seating for about 10 people inside, not many.

I will also be serving fresh bakery items every morning and also hot lunches on fridays to start off with and probably expand to selling lunch everyday. Breakfast too of course.

Finally, I guess I should say the name of the shop, it's called Maya Cafe and will have a Mayan influenced design "theme" with decor and music to match. I'm sure my clientele will enjoy the change of pace with the other coffee places around.

Please feel free to reply and talk about your own coffee shop or ideas for one.
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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Seattle,Washington USA
First of all, why are you only trying to target one market? Fair Trade, and all of that is good, but you are leaving out an entire market that couldn't care less about fair trade, especially if they have to pay extra for a drink whereas, they could get a drink somewhere else for less. The same applies for organic coffee. I'm not shooting down your idea, just telling you how things are in the Seattle. There are a lot of operators here that sold organic and fair trade coffees only to find that they were expensive for them to buy and even more expensive to sell to their customers. And since their sales fell quite a bit, some dropped have dropped serving either. Might I suggest that you add these items to your menu after you've had the opportunity to open first. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
 
OP
T
Dec 24, 2003
19
0
Victoria, BC
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Coffee Guy said:
First of all, why are you only trying to target one market? Fair Trade, and all of that is good, but you are leaving out an entire market that couldn't care less about fair trade, especially if they have to pay extra for a drink whereas, they could get a drink somewhere else for less. The same applies for organic coffee. I'm not shooting down your idea, just telling you how things are in the Seattle. There are a lot of operators here that sold organic and fair trade coffees only to find that they were expensive for them to buy and even more expensive to sell to their customers. And since their sales fell quite a bit, some dropped have dropped serving either. Might I suggest that you add these items to your menu after you've had the opportunity to open first. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

I agree with what you say. Although my coffee prices will actually be lower or at least the same at most with all of my competitors who do or do not sell organic fair trade coffee like I will. The only coffee that I will be charging more for will be my Kona and Maui, which I am almost positive is not served anywhere else in town.

I position my coffee shop and coffee beans as higher quality than what you would find out there but lower in price, if only just a bit. It should be a foolproof plan, but we'll see how it goes.

I work very closely with a company that imports and roasts beans so I can get a pretty good rate on fresh roasted coffee from a variety of countries.
 
OP
T
Dec 24, 2003
19
0
Victoria, BC
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^^^ Thanks for the good words

I am really excited and happy about it. I think that if I am able to offer a better product, even if it mean sacraficing some profit, I'm going to go ahead and do it, it will pay off in the end once my clientele sees what they are getting.

I've read a lot of your posts and seen that you make kiosks. I would be interested but I do not have a need for one at the moment. In the next several months I will be working towards getting a kiosk in the mall in my town also but they already have kiosks available for the vendors.

I wanted to have a theme for my coffee shop because most coffee shops that I know of do not, and why not if it adds value to my customers experience? And it will also differentiate my store from others.

I will be offering customers a small discount if they bring in their own mug. Hopefully that is something allowable, I actually didn't realize that it would be a problem until you brought it up, thanks.

I think that about sums it up, here is a picture of the coffee kiosk inside the business hub before we got a hold of it (we are going to put in some high tops over in that empty area on the right side of the picture):

kiosk.jpg
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
Your place looks pretty cool 8) I especially like the lighting, nice touch. I have to agree with E.O., needs something else. I'm kinda thinking something backlit with neon. Do you have a logo?
 

topher

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Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,747
19
Boca Raton
hate to add this but if I was you I would start to source replacement bulbs...they can be expensive to replace for that particular fixture...buddy had them in his shop.
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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Seattle,Washington USA
Ooh...I gotcha :) In fact I wouldn't go with halogen lights anyway, your're right they are quite spendy to replace. I would get some of those long life bulbs. You know the ones that are suppose to last up to 5 years? They also give you a guarantee replacement as long as you keep the receipt.
 
OP
T
Dec 24, 2003
19
0
Victoria, BC
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Someone else is responsible for those nice lights, not me :D

As for the "mayan" theme, we have just very subtle things that make it more Mayan but not too much, as rock does not really go well with all that wood.

Regarding the blank area in front of the bar area that E.O. mentioned, a decal would be a great idea. It's a good thing I also run an ad agency so I can not only get it designed but printed all in house. (So if you need anything advertising related, feel free to contact me, logos, handbills etc etc, and I can do really cheap business cards too!).

I just very recently got a logo made along with a flyer for the grand opening, I'll post a picture below....

Grand opening flyer with logo:
mayacafe.gif


edit: about the espresso machine, YEAH where is it?? I don't have one yet. Can someone lend me $13,000?? It will come eventually, hopefully in time to serve all these tourists this summer. I was looking at an illy machine that is fairly quiet and can grind and brew two types of coffees seperatly. But I don't really like illy for some reason...

Also, I wanted to ask you guys, what price do you charge for coffee or what price do you pay for coffee when you go to a coffee shop and what do you think is fair? Right now my pricing scheme is REALLY low from what I remember from the competitors. I have it at $1.25/$1.50/$1.75 for small medium and large for regular coffees (all organic and fair trade) and then $2.50/$2.75/$3.00 for Kona and Maui Coffees. I'm still making a profit but I know other coffee shops hike thier margins up an insane amount. I don't want to be like that, I want to offer a higher quality product at a lower cost. That's what I've been doing since I started selling coffee beans by the bag on my website.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
Hey Think Coffee and Teas:

Nice touch. Regarding the espresso machine take a look on our site and see if this is something you like, if so I can get you a better deal than the Illy. Umm, you do advertising...I might contact you regarding something. As for your drink prices, they do seem a bit low. But since you are in Canada, they may be in line. Here's and example of our pricing here. 8 oz single latte $2.00, 12 oz single latte $2.25, 16 oz latte (comes with double shot) $2.50.

Anyway, I hope this helps :p
 
OP
T
Dec 24, 2003
19
0
Victoria, BC
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It's been awhile since I've posted but I've been pretty busy with my new shop. It's been up for a whole 3.5 weeks now!!! I am pretty much set up inside the store with products now, and just need to work on other things now.

I am having a tough time getting the awareness out about my shop since it is sort of hidden inside a busines building. Walk by traffic is growly very slowly. I actually don't even have tables yet, and am running a take out type operation right now. I will be getting tables out front this next week so that should increase awareness and increase walk by traffic sales.
 

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