Opening a coffee shop

Grovie

New member
Dec 15, 2003
4
0
York, PA
Hi. I am also interested in opening a coffee shop in my hometown. I've been dreaming about it for a few years. I've started to write a business plan but I have some questions maybe someone out there could help me with.

1) Is it necessary to have experience in the coffee industry? I have none but I love to drink and relax in a coffee shop environment.
2) Where can I find industry information specifically about the coffee bar or coffee industry?

3) I know it varies but what are some estimates on the cost to open a coffee shop?

Thanks!
 

raven

New member
Dec 15, 2003
5
0
GEORGIA
new coffee shop

I have just been partnered in a huge coffee plantation in Chiapas Mexico. This plantation has never distributed any coffee beans in the United States, so of course Im taking it upon myself to start. I just need contacts. Maybe we can help each other.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hey Grovie:

Hi. I am also interested in opening a coffee shop in my hometown. I've been dreaming about it for a few years. I've started to write a business plan but I have some questions maybe someone out there could help me with.

I have a FREE commercial catalog on our site. Feel free to visit and print out the catalog. This will give you a good starting point and answer most of your questions. If you have more questions give us a call.
 

javaman

New member
Dec 22, 2003
3
0
New York
1) Is it necessary to have experience in the coffee industry? I have none but I love to drink and relax in a coffee shop environment.
2) Where can I find industry information specifically about the coffee bar or coffee industry?

3) I know it varies but what are some estimates on the cost to open a coffee shop?

Not sure how fast you are looking into opening a location but i think experience is important. few reasons for that is
1. making an espresso beverage is almost an art form.
2. being familiar with the equiptment.
I would sujest working as a coffee bar attendant for at least a year.

You can find tons of info on the net just by doing searches..coffee..espresso machines

Last bar i installed total cost was about $40,000. We purchased all the equiptment and had a contractor design and build the bar.

Hope this helps some
Dave
 
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Grovie

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Dec 15, 2003
4
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York, PA
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Not discouraged

Javaman,

Thanks for the reply. I am a little concerned about my lack of experience but there has to be a better way than spending a year in an espresson bar. Are there any crash courses out there available.

My thoughts were that I would hire an expereinced coffee bar employee or two, depending on the need. I could run the business end and learn the coffee side in depth while they make the drinks early on.

My idea is a coffee lounge/internet kiosk extablishment. I do have the start-up capital and I am in the process of writing a business plan.

Adam
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,724
11
Boca Raton
In my opinion it is bad to hire people with experience...it is best to be experienced before you go off on your own....it is hard to re-train people...and how can you train people to do what you want when you do not even know what is correct?
 

rosez36

New member
Jan 1, 2004
2
0
experience

About the question of needing experience...
No matter if you do a crash course or not, making expresso coffee is an art that can take years to perfect. There are so many things that can only be learnt on the job nd if you start a buisiness with not much experience then people will not return to your shop after their first visit. To open a buisiness where the reputation is earnt by people's first visit you must have everything perfect when the shop first opens!
R*SE :)
 

Coffee Guy

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

I admire anyone with determination. However, you must take the first step. And that step is to take a chance. No one is perfect, and experience has taught me through the years that our success did not come from having everything perfect before we opened the doors to our first operation. In fact our first customers knew that we were starting out, and they were willing to give us that chance. If you are wanting to open your business, my advise is to do so. If you waiting for everything to be perfect, then you may never open. My first question to those wanting to get into the espresso business is a simple to the point question, "Are you a dreamer or a dream maker?" If you are the latter, then prove it to yourself. I can't speak for others that have started this kind of business, but I'm almost willing to bet the farm that they didn't have everything perfect when they first opened either.
 
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Grovie

New member
Dec 15, 2003
4
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York, PA
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Thanks Coffee Guy!

Boy I was getting kind of discouraged :( reading Rose's reply. OK, so I don't know how to make a great espresso but I do have a true desire to open an enterprise that serves drinks like i like them to taste and better. I know the coffee drinks are very important but it is the ambience and the total package of the establishment that i hope will attract customers. As I stated earlier I have started to write a business plan. I have the perfect neighborhood picked between a growing college and a few burgeoning upscale housing developments.

Coffee Guy, I found your website and the catalog is a big help. :grin: Thanks! I'm also using the book Espresso! mentioned in some other posts. This is mainly a feasibility study but I think the potential is there.

I do have a few new questions though for anyone reading this...

Are there any success stories out there from folks who have been in the position I am in now? When did you begin to break even and how did you get there?
 

susmand

New member
Jan 19, 2004
5
0
Pacific Northwest
Do you need experience to open a coffee bar?

I read with interest many of the posting about this question. Sure, its nice to have experience but if everyone had experience in the type of work they wanted to do everyone would be an expert. My husband and I got into the specialty coffee business five years ago - without any experience and only the love of great coffee and a desire to be on our own. We did alot of homework over a couple of years before we develed into investing any money. Neither of us worked in espresso before! The key to making good espresso was learning from experienced people (not baristas but coffee people - roasters!). They are the ones best to learn from because they know what their product requires. Don't rely on hiring trained staff. It is too difficult to retrain them and too easy for them to do it their way. Who's to say they are making it right, except for themselves?

Check your local area for specialty coffee roasters. Interview them as if they were coming to work for you. Critique their product and customer service. Talk with other shops that may use their products and make certain you inquire about their customer service. Are the roasters just looking to get their product sold or are they interested in helping you become successful? They may also be a resource for equipment they might lend you while you purchase their product. This probably won't apply to an espresso machine (too costly). Seriously look at a 220v! They are worth the money and with proper maintenance can last a very long time. We've used a number of machines, Pasquini, Caramali, Futuramat and lastely an Iberital. I'd have to say my favorite was the Caramali but too costly to maintain. Second choice would be the Iberital.

As far as your building, if it is mobile, check with your local health department for mobile vending unit codes. Most counties and states east of the Rockies don't have a clue what an espresso kiosk or drive-thru is and may, at first blush, tell you you simply can't do it. We have manufactured units that have gone as far east as Wisconsin (we have the first with an ADA approved bathroom). You may need someone to interpret your local codes for you.

The best advice would be to do your homework in depth before you start investing any serious money and pursue your dream! :grin:
 

NYS8OFMIND

New member
Feb 26, 2004
2
0
Rochester, New York
Opening a Coffee Shop

We all seen to be in the same boat. I too am looking to open a shop with my sister. I was wondering if anyone knew what average start up capital is necessary. We are just beginning to look into this and I need to knwo what I am getting into financially. I have all the experience in the industry, but have never worked independently.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hey NYS8OFMIND:

We have a customer in Binghampton called Sip of Seattle. I don't know if you are close to that area or not, but she left Seattle to put up a drive thru location there in Nov 03. She's already going like gang busters. You might want to contact her (Linda Smith), she might be able to touch on a few things for you.
 

NYS8OFMIND

New member
Feb 26, 2004
2
0
Rochester, New York
Thank you Coffee Guy.

I will definately look her up. That is not too far from here. I am a restaurant manager so I have the backgroung and knowledge of the industry. It is just getting to know all the little things that are holding me back. Thanks for your help.

-NYS8OFMIND
 

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