Startup - How many to-go cups to start with?

charmcitycoffee

New member
Jan 28, 2005
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Baltimore, MD
Well, progress is ever so slowly being made on the cafe I'm working on opening. The larger business has hit some problems with the design team (aka they don't listen to a damn thing we say and we've had to do a lot of leg work), so we've had to change the opening date to late summer, but it's still happening!

Right now we're looking at placing orders for logo printed hot and cold cups, and I was wondering what people have found to be the standard order minimum on that type of item? I just got a quote that I'm trying to clarify with the company we're looking at - they said 50, 000 cups/size is the minimum we have to order to get our logo printed on them. So, at 50, 000/size, we're looking at three sizes of hot and 3 sizes of cold cups (300, 000 items). Their cases run 1000 cups/case, so that's 300 cases. (the thought of storing that makes my head swim). The rep said that will last most cafes 6 months (I think we'll have stead business, but that we will not be slammed right away).

Does this sound like the standard? We are going with a company that sells biodegradable cups (the focus of the our shop is organic, natural, and sustainable products), so they will cost us more, but we don't want to go bankrupt pulling this off. We do want logos on our cups, because that is a good way to market ourselfves.

This quote comes from http://ecoproducts.com/ , but I'd be happy to hear about any other vendors people like.

Thanks for your help! Reading these boards is as much a part of staring our business as all the financial work and meeting I've been attending (and a lot more helpful).

-Amy (Baltimore, MD)
 

dawnsessions

New member
Apr 28, 2005
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There are some companies that do small batch orders. When I started my business I wanted my logo on everyhting. I found a company that made hot and cold cups and the minimum was 5,000 for logo orders. This was quite affordable. I also got plain white hot cups and used Java Jacket sleeve with my logo printed on it. This was also affordable. Hope this helps. Let me know if you want the company name that does small orders. :)
 

joeburr

New member
Feb 19, 2005
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Logo for cups

Hi
I am allso looking for logo cups and can only get minimum of 50,000 per size.
my paper goods supplyer will hold them for a fee but it is still a big check to pay up front.
dawnsessions if you can sher the inrormation abut the company you worked with it will be very helpfull and higly apritiated.
Thanks
 
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charmcitycoffee

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Jan 28, 2005
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Baltimore, MD
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dawnsessions - thanks for the input, I'd love to know who you went with.

We're looking at the coffee sleeve option too; a local cafe owner suggested BriteVision Media for printed ones: http://britevision.com/

(another place local to us had a custom stamp made, and stanp their sleeves)
 

dawnsessions

New member
Apr 28, 2005
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Hello,

The company I used is Vistapak. There number is 1-800-223-6170 or (352)-315-9100. They have plastic cold cups, clear and translucent. They also have hot cups. As far as the sleeves go, the plain Solo hot cup with a sleeve with your logo works great. The cups run about 6 cents a piece, and the sleeves run about 4.5 cents each. I hope this helps. I have both brands of sleeves, Java Jacket and Britevision. Call them and they will send you samples of their custom work. I hopr this helps!!!!

Good Luck!!!!!
 
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charmcitycoffee

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Jan 28, 2005
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Baltimore, MD
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Thanks for all the coffee sleeve tips - I may need to make a spreadsheet to compare them all, though the custom printed with no case limit sounds awesome.

I'm still a little lost on how many to-go cups to start with. I know it will partially depend on order minimums and turn around time for ordering (i.e. will order greater amount less often if I have too). Any tips on how to figure out a good amount of starter stock? Or is there some kind of rule of thumb?

Thanks!
Amy
 

neilt

New member
May 23, 2005
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You will not move 300 cases a year. If you really smoke, you may move 150 a year, but that would be a freakish success.
I am a buyer for a cafe purchasing group. I have a good understanding of the industry. dispributers and cup manufacturers love to hose people like you. Dont do it.
Why are you so brand intensive? Are you planning on very rapid expansion and want brand recognition store to store?
The person has already bought the coffee by the time they see the cup. They will remember the taste and the service and the location, not the logo.
If you really want the brand image, buy white cups one case at a time. Have a stamp or nice stickers made up and self-logo the cups during your down time, prepare to have down time.
If after six months, if you are moving five cases a week, rethink. At that point the destributer will have faith in you and will be happy to wharehouse your cups and charge you for them one at a time.

If you really wnat to save money, buy china. Ikea has nice stuff for next to nothing. Plus, china always feels better and delivers better taste to the customer.
good luck.
 

mikefly

New member
Jul 22, 2005
35
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wow sounds like the same problem we were having a few months ago and we probably talked to the same 50,000 min order co. you did and went thru the sleve thing unless you have a big bank roll for operating cost when you first open go as cheap as you can...we found a perfect touch cup and put a black lid on it different than anyone else in the area and only cost us a few cents per cup.... we have had an awsome first two weeks and we wont order cups till next week.... we started out with 2,500 hot cups ...save the money and get great coffee and good cups
 
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