Research on Opening a Coffee Shop

Aliya

New member
Apr 12, 2004
33
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Illinois
Hi! I am new to this site... but I have been reading some of the posts and am very impressed with the knowledge/experience/passion some of you have. I am opening a coffee shop, and would like to know what else I need to research before spending money on securing a lease, coffee-shop consultant, equipment, inventory, etc.

I have been doing A LOT of research. So far I have bought several books on the history of coffee and tea (also planning to serve tea) and other business-related books. I have observed the pedestrian (and vehicle) traffic in the areas/locations I am looking at. I have also done some research on the demographic profiles of the areas. I also understand the importance of a skilled barista. A great looking shop with not-so-great coffee is pretty worthless.

Any help with any of the following would be GREATLY appreciated!
Cheers,
~aliya

*Where is the best place to get equipment?
*Is it easier/better/cost-effective to roast your own coffee? Or to buy the beans from elsewhere?
*Anyone know a good tea supplier with a good variety?
*Should I just focus on coffee/pastries? Are other foods profitable?
*Is it worth it to hire a baker? Employ a local bakery?
*How many cups (downtown area of large city) a day would I expect to sell?
*How important is the name of the shop?

I could go on forever! Sorry for all the questions... any info would be helpful.
 

PerkyGirl

New member
Apr 14, 2004
6
0
Rowlett, Texas
Hello Aliya,

I am thinking of opening a drive thru espresso place and I am just getting the research done. I am thinking of doing a small survey around my town. I live in a suburb of Dallas, Texas and the only thing anyone really knows of here is Starbucks and I feel that they need to be educated on the other coffee's out there.

Have you gotten any responses from your questions that you asked? If you are looking for a consultant I have already met with one and would recommend him HIGHLY!! I am going to go with him with I get closer to my decision.

What do you do for a living now? My other problem is the job I have now is not a bad one I have a great boss. I just also have this dream and passion for this business, but how do you leave a good paying job with a certain paycheck? I suppose that whole issue of having savings set aside would be helpful :wink:

Good luck in your research. Maybe we can help each other out if necessary!

Regards,
PerkyGirl

No cute coffee quote "YET"
 

PerkyGirl

New member
Apr 14, 2004
6
0
Rowlett, Texas
Thank You!!

I really appreciate your response. I thought the research thing was a good idea as well. As for "keeping my day job" you are the first that actually gave me some good advice on that issue. I have really been struggling with that. We have some new things going on at work and I would hate to let my boss down at this time.

So on with the research and this great venture that has been my dream since 1998. :)
Thanks again,
PerkyGirl

No cute coffee quote "yet"!
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hi All and welcome Aliya!

I must say I totally agree with E.O. on his comments, and Perky Girl yours are helpful as well. This is what makes this forum such a pleasure to be a part of. I'd like to throw my hat in the ring offering my help. I'm not going to add anything to E.O.'s and P.G's comments only to say, that I would suggest having a single company (me maybe :oops: ) be your one stop shop for your equipment, training/consulting, coffee, and building if you wish to do a drive thru. Everything else can generally be done in your locality.

Since it appears that you've done a lot of the correct things in educating yourself for this business your next step is to begin. Send me a private email and I'll be more that happy to get you started.

To E.O. and P.G. great responses. Looks like we all helped another deserving person :grin:
 

geburton

New member
Apr 1, 2004
9
0
Leaving the Day Job?

PerkyGirl said:
Hello Aliya,
... how do you leave a good paying job with a certain paycheck?

I have the same dilemma but I only see two choices. Quit the "day" job and devote 100% of my attention to the new business, or hire someone else to run it and hope they care as much about its success as I do. Leaving the existing paycheck is hard, but I think it represents the greatest likelihood of long-term success. Opinions???

Thanks Much, Glenn
 

PerkyGirl

New member
Apr 14, 2004
6
0
Rowlett, Texas
Leaving day job....

In repsonse to geburton's question I'm not sure that it says that it can't be successful, if its going to be successful it will if not, then not. You could get the help of a business partner that can share in the responsiblities of getting it off the ground. Maybe you wouldn't have to miss as much work getting it going. I think I can probably get that part taken care of when I get started.

To CoffeeGuy thank you for your comments as well. You know I'm going to be contacting you! By the way I have contacted the Planning and Zoning people in my town this past week. I didn't get a response yet, I am going to try again on Monday, then set up a time to go and see them :grin: You'll be hearing from me as well.

Talk soon,
PerkyGirl

No cute coffee quote"Yet"
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
If you go the percentage route be sure that you interview hard and smart. Meaning, you don't just want a pretty face, but also someone with some business sense. Usually, but not always a family member can be of great help in this situation. Maybe someone in college studying business or some related course of study. This will give them some O.J.T. in addition to practicing real life senarios. Plus their schedules are usually flexible enough to work around your schedule. In addition when you write your business plan remember it is only a guideline not a bible on your business. It will give you an idea of how you want to proceed with each phase of your business and its growth. I've seen too many people put together a novel before they actually got to the point. Make it simple so you can understand what you are trying to accomplish, remember if you can't understand it, how do you expect an investor (bank, SBA, etc.). Remember the K.I.S.S. method..."Keep it simple stupid" Not that I'm saying anyone is dumb, its just a saying I learned a long time ago. :D
 
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Aliya

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Apr 12, 2004
33
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Illinois
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Thank you to all for your responses! E.O. GEB and C.G. thanks for your wonderful advice. There is still a lot of research I have to do, but your postings have really helped out.

P.G. - As for your concern with leaving a great job and a steady paycheck, I think you are better off following your dream of opening a shop. Of course, you have to become knowledgeable about the industry and business in general, and I don't recommend jumping into anything blindly. But I think that being your own boss is more fulfilling. Yes, you will have to work 80+ hours a week. Won't get many days off. Have to deal with employees that let you down. Take care of things that you are not used to taking care of. But in the end, you are your own boss. And you are doing what you love. In the end you are creating a exciting opportunity for yourself.

You have to remember that nothing is 100%. I work for an big advertising agency in Chicago. And last year I was laid off. I bounced right back with a better job... but I have always wanted to run my own business. I figure, at this point anything is a risk... and I would rather try to follow my dream than always be unsure in Corporate America. Not that there is anything wrong with Corp. America... it's just not a place where I will be happy 5 years from now.

Sorry for the long post... but I do have one more question: I am looking into going to "barista school" in Portland. It's about $2,500 for a five-day crash course. I want to know if anyone has heard of this or gone to this. And would you think it would be effective. I think I am going either way, but I wanted your opinions... Thanks!!
~aliya
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
874
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Seattle,Washington USA
I am looking into going to "barista school" in Portland. It's about $2,500 for a five-day crash course. I want to know if anyone has heard of this or gone to this. And would you think it would be effective. I think I am going either way, but I wanted your opinions... Thanks!!


Wow!!! $500 per day plus you have to travel and pay for lodging and food??? Where do I sign up? :twisted: That all sounds a bit high, in fact I know that's too high. I hope you get your own personalized apron and so forth. For that kind of money they should be coming to you. I'm not going to try to talk you out of it, but unless you are ready to open within the next couple of weeks, paying that kind of money for training you are bound to forget is a waste of your investment. Besides it is a lot better to be trained in your own facility on your own equipment, additonally having your staff available during this training. This way the training can be administered once to everyone so all are on the same page, and you don't have to worry about trying to remember the information glut that they are teaching you in this so-called "Crash Course"...Training should not have to be a "Crash Course". It should be fun, entertaining, and educational. Remember you are investing in it. Send me a pm if you are that serious. By the way I have some swamp for sale in.... :twisted:

Just kidding, contact me first before you jump into that investment.
 
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Aliya

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Apr 12, 2004
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Illinois
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Okay okay. Point taken. E.O. and C.G. - you said certain roasters would be able to train me, right? So, I suppose I should wait until I open? As far as running a business, I am pretty comfortable... but I don't want to NOT know how to make espresso. I understand that it's an art... and takes a long time to learn. There are people who open coffee shops that have less knowledge than me about coffee. How do they do it?? What am I to do?????
~aliya
 
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Aliya

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Apr 12, 2004
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Illinois
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Right, obviously, waiting until I open is not a good idea. I will definitely practice at home as much as possible. And I haven't hired a consultant yet, but I will make sure that if I go that route, that I will also be able to be trained.

I worked at a chain coffee shop in Atlanta, GA for a summer while I was in college (won't mention names - not SB, though) and I have to say that I learned nothing. They basically threw me into the mix and I probably served crappy coffee to all my customers. Not that I didn't know what I was doing, but I didn't have any training, much less sufficient training.

Anyway, I do know a little about a little. But not a lot. So, thank you for your advice! I really appreciate it!!! You guys are so nice!
~aliya
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,723
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Boca Raton
Aliya...if you want I can email you a copy of my barista training guide...it might help out...I wrote it for the last place I was at....just give me the word and I will get it out to you. :wink:
 
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