The popular cafe

Var

New member
Jun 6, 2008
18
0
Several times I've thought about starting a cafe in order to "do it right" in the US.

This is surely a generic phenomenon in business: You see something being done incorrectly, with mistakes that might even be glaring, obvious pitfalls not avoided, obvious opportunities missed, obvious gripes voiced by customers falling on deaf ears, or you hear stories of business that are like slow motion car accidents. And you start thinking that if they're doing it so badly and yet are still in business, you surely can do it better. And you start planning to make your own attempt at it.

Then, in talking with others, you hear about other people who thought about doing precisely the same thing but backed out. And again, the obvious pitfalls appear, etc.

For instance, at one point I was told that an acquaintance wanted to start a cafe and believed the costs would be quite large, in the many 10's of thousands of dollars. I was aghast but then I learned he was fixated on the idea of starting a Starbucks franchise, and enduring all the fees imposed by Starbucks, buying their equipment, having their person come in and design the place, follow all their rules et cetera. It seemed an obvious pitfall.

I later visited a Coffee Beanery(?) and heard the same thing. Franchise fees were astronomical, such that the business was constantly on the verge of failure because huge loan payments were necessary. It sounded like the fees were actually a bit higher than with Starbucks. I heard some of the rules about how things must appear were bizarre. Again, an obvious pitfall: franchises are expensive.

I would never start a franchise. They are to me an unnecessary expense but also, existing franchises provide a constant stream of examples of how not to do things (hence my other posts).

From observation I've noticed that the many popular cafes do not fit the model that franchises like Starbucks adhere to.

Some popular cafes have rather humble, cheap coffee-making equipment.

Some popular cafes have used furniture, the kind you'd find at a yard sale.

Some popular cafes don't even have great coffee.

Some popular cafes have locations that are difficult to reach or require circling the blocks for 10 minutes to find parking.

Some popular cafes have almost no interior room but do have a good location e.g. next to a theater that has ample parking.

Some popular cafes may have only one food item that is good, but it is very good and people come back for it.

One of the most popular cafes that I went to was along a major street, 2 lanes each way, so lots of noise and presumably pollution. But it had spacious outdoor seating, great coffee, well dressed employees, no paper cups.
 

Crazy4Coffee

New member
Jan 27, 2007
39
0
Var said:
For instance, at one point I was told that an acquaintance wanted to start a cafe and believed the costs would be quite large, in the many 10's of thousands of dollars. I was aghast but then I learned he was fixated on the idea of starting a Starbucks franchise, and enduring all the fees imposed by Starbucks, buying their equipment, having their person come in and design the place, follow all their rules et cetera. It seemed an obvious pitfall.cups.

Starbucks does not franchise. All of their stores are company owned. The only exception is Starbucks stores/kiosks in Airports, Grocery Stores, etc., which are licensed (again, not franchised) by Starbucks to large vendors, i.e. Safeway, Target, etc.
 
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