wise advice from coffee sages welcome

Sep 7, 2008
49
0
Las Vegas
Hello,

I am so glad that this forum is here on the internet because it has become an invaluable tool for me. There are so many people out there who actually care about their fellow endeavoring coffeehouse owners. I have had more help and comfort on here from reading the posts than approaching other local coffeehouse owners in my area.

The reason I have finally made first post was because I felt that my struggles should be chronicled for any future coffeehouse owners and stand up and let people know their is coffee culture in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is known for many things but, least of all their culture. This is slowly changing with an underground movement of Las Vegans who are into local art and music.

The need for a great local coffeehouse is so great that even in a slumping economy I believe that it will prosper (that and a thorough business plan)

My partner and I have struggled for two years to bring our coffeehouse into fruition and we are finally two weeks away from opening. The buzz around our store has already reached a high pitch fever in our business park area alone.

It has been a long hard road to make our dream come true but, I have never regretted all the setbacks because it has taught us about real world experience. I was very naive going into this and coming through has humbled my opinion of what I know. Which is always buy coffee for those who do know.

The point is, if you have any advice that you would like to share with me about the ins and outs of being a coffeehouse owner or what you would have done differently with the knowledge you know now, it would be immensely appreciated. Or your opinion on what constitutes a great coffeehouse. How I could be a better boss to my baristas or make my customers the happiest?

These are all welcome, I have read a couple of posts on something similar but, I know deep down inside there is more for you to say.

I have done my market research, I am in a sit down drive thru location with 65,000 cars a day and a one mile business park with a huge park across from me. I was lucky to get this place and the only way this can go bad is if I mess this up. I am gonna try my best not to.

My niche is all organic fair trade coffee with all organic products liked baked goods and eco friendly as possible from the compostable cups to recycled print ads for my direct mailing campaign.

I will have live music and set aside a corner of my store for a revolving art gallery for local artists. Why, when I don''t gain any monetary value because I can and I was there once.

I believe the green lifestyle is catching on to the masses and I should play my part as a business owner.


This is the gist of my store and thanks for reading.
 

roaster dave

New member
Aug 6, 2008
38
0
Guelph, Ontario
congrats on keeping the new shop in line with some very good values. I too have a 100% organic, fair trade coffee roastery with a couple of cafes. We are also a co-operative. We have tried to keep in line with the requirements of Trans Fair that are imposed on producers......Co-op, Organics, Socially Driven.
 

roaster dave

New member
Aug 6, 2008
38
0
Guelph, Ontario
another thing I could mention is....

Have you had any specific, formal coffee training? As an independant, you are going to be competing with the big guys, and you'll have to out do them in both quality and atmosphere. I'd highly recommend some training through the SCAA for espresso and brewing of coffee!
 
OP
S
Sep 7, 2008
49
0
Las Vegas
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  • #4
Thanks for the encouragement and if you don't mind, send me a link to your roastery.
I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna go with Higher Ground in Alabama and I wouldn't mind if you knew anything more about this company.

And I haven't had any formal training but, have had informal training from a guy who knows great coffee. I have been studying online about cupping and the characteristics of a good espresso.


I'm sure I can learn even more in formal training but, my budget is pretty tight right now. This coffee house is a bootstrap opening. Luckily, my partner and I have so many talented people around us contribute into our venture for just free coffee.

Do you use compostable cups and if you do what company?

Thanks!
 

villagejoe

New member
Mar 10, 2007
33
0
I use baristaworks.com for ordering compostable cups. Their whole deal is that they cater to the smaller independents who may just order a case or two instead of the minimum for most suppliers. They have a full line of biodegradable hot and cold cups. I think they deliver pretty much everywhere, and they're fair in price.
 

chip

New member
Oct 1, 2008
17
0
Congrats on your new store.

We've been open for over 13 years now. We opened with a budget projection and the bliss of ignorance. We moved into a great spot 5 weeks after deciding to open. Not much time for market research and business plans. We're a bakery / coffee shop / cafe and offer live music and art shows as well. We use ecotainers for our cups. I can find out what they cost if you're interested. We serve organic fair trade coffee too and make all our food and baked goods from scratch. We serve a sit down breakfast and a deli style lunch. It's been quite a ride but we're still here. We did a music festival at a local park a few years back and are going to do another this year. I think the music has, in part, been our advertising. We get a lot of listings in the papers and a lot of mentions on public radio about who's playing etc. Also, all the musicians have web sites and list us when they have gigs. It helps get the word out without much expense and I'd rather give the money to the musicians instead of to a newspaper ad. Good luck with the shop.
 

espressogirl

New member
Oct 6, 2008
39
0
I've managed a coffee shop before and I think the best I advice I could give you is to get to know your customers very well.

While you may have great products, a great location and probably great coffee brewing equipment. the question boils down to whether what you are offering items that your customer really wants. Also, be very sensitive to their changing needs. Customers need novelty, and you must always be on your toes to tickle their fancy when it comes to your coffee offerings. Offer core items, but don't forget to give your customers something to look forward to. The goal, as all business owners know, is to keep customers coming back.

Good luck on your business and I am sure this site will be a goldmine of valuable resources about coffee. :)
 
OP
S
Sep 7, 2008
49
0
Las Vegas
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I agree with you on that espressogirl. I hope that I can get to know my customers well and treat them with respect, kindness, and decency.

I am pretty frazzled right now. We should have been open last week but, shipments keep getting delayed and things that are supposed to work don't. So, this monday will be a very quiet opening and will have to be after 9am.

We have to run down to kinko and have our drive thru menu printed!

Wish me luck guys. I hope that even with this economy people can still come in and enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee.

Send me good energy!

Thanks for all the advice. I am pretty sure I will be here soon with more tears in my eyes because something went wrong!
 

espressogirl

New member
Oct 6, 2008
39
0
Hey SunriseCoffeeLasVegas! How did the soft opening go?

Managing a business is indeed challenging so don't be disheartened if some things don't turn out as expected -- it's all part of the game!

The good thing is you have some people here who are willing to lend an ear and offer some advice.

Good luck, and catch u soon! :)
 
OP
S
Sep 7, 2008
49
0
Las Vegas
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So, I opened the doors...and a lot of flys came in.

LOL. Ok. I cried three times and I am hoping it gets better.

Is there anything I can do get people's attention or should should I wait and bide my time?

I didn't do any marketing but, am reconsidering; the least I can do is blanketing the area to let people know.

There has been a steady stream of people coming in from my neighbors.

I did give away free muffins and biscotti to my neighbors and they seemed to like that.

Let me know, is there anything I'm missing.

Please, I want to keep the flies out and the customers in! Help!
 

espressogirl

New member
Oct 6, 2008
39
0
First of all, congratulations for finally opening! That is the first step!

Next is the tricky part, making people visit your shop and hopefully liking it enough to come back and tell their friends about it.

So, the free pastries should be ok. Sampling them out is a good idea since people are still feeling their way around, checking if your products are indeed ok. If you give then the chance to taste your products without paying, then you're doing them a favor. If they like it enough, I'm sure they are willing to pay for them next time around.

Bottomline: be on top of your products! If you are selling muffins, make sure it is a very good muffin for its price. Ask them how lthey liked it, and make adjustments if needed. Be open to their feedback since this will truly measure if you do have a good product.

Of course, this will extend to your coffee products as well. If you focus on product quality, then people will slowly notice you.

For now, this is what I can share.

Just be patient, and the fruits will come soon! :)
 
OP
S
Sep 7, 2008
49
0
Las Vegas
  • Thread Starter
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  • #12
Thanks for the positive energy and you are right about being on top of the quality of my products. I don't know what to do about the left over muffins though. I am gonna order alot less to reduce waste but, there are more people coming in so, it gets really confusing.

I wish I could make a blueberry muffin smoothie! LOL. With all the leftover muffins. yummy!

Anyways, more people are coming in and checking it out. One of the customers were saying that they couldn't really tell we were open so, gonna have to find some low cost ways to see us.


Wish me luck!
 

espressogirl

New member
Oct 6, 2008
39
0
Hey! Good job!

It would be good to take note of the events around the area, or write down in your business journal activities that may have affected the influx of people into your store.

This will help you monitor which days are "peak" for your store, and which ones are more "slack" days. This information can help you forecast your inventory, but it should probably take some time before the trend can be predicted.

For now, just continue observing the different factors and respond accordingly as needed.

:)
 
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