Anyone own a little cafe or coffee shop? Nice advice!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 3:42 PM GMT
    Basically, I work in mcdonalds McCafe making coffees as a Barista. I work full time. I have like over 30 regular customers. I know all there orders off my heart, have excellent customer service and all my coffees are perfect. I Usually have up to $70-$80 hours from 12 til 8. That's Monday to Friday, My partner is the store manager.

    I'm only 20 but I want to start thinking about having my own little coffee shop. Just coffee though, maybe like macaroons or muffins but i want it to be about the coffee, i hate where i work. but i love what i do. My partner says that cafes dont make enough money for him. he wants to be rich. I don't. I just want something i can be proud of n have something i love doing.

    Like i said, it would pretty much just be coffee. if your good at something specialize in it. maybe once its perfected branch out. but i want it to be really small. like just a walkway. maybe a table n chairs. he says that cafes dont make enough money to stay afloat.

    i really want this though. any advice?
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Aug 20, 2013 3:56 PM GMT
    Tell your partner being rich can start with one cafe .... it is called a franchise
  • patmos9990

    Posts: 146

    Aug 20, 2013 4:47 PM GMT
    Develop a business plan and see what your net revenue would actually be. Location is the key for coffee shops as you are completing with the national franchises.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 5:19 PM GMT
    check to see if there are any business expos going on in your area and check with the SBA for more info.
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Aug 20, 2013 5:28 PM GMT
    patmos9990 saidDevelop a business plan.

    It all starts here.

  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Aug 20, 2013 5:33 PM GMT
    I grew up in the '50s in a very small town in central Indiana. Summer without air conditioning was a hot affair and having an exhaust fan was a luxury. About three miles outside of town there was a little drive-in restaurant that had the coldest root beer and orange drinks you could imagine and they were brought to the car in heavy chilled mugs.It was very popular, but had a very short season. Of course the owner could not make a real living from it, but it went like mad when it was hot. The secret? He also owned the liquor store in town. That did a nice steady business year-round.

    maybe the trick for you is to look into complementary businesses that will allow you to stabilize income and also to enjoy what you do. Perhaps a wholesale bakery wih no storefront which has a general line and also does a few special items available only at your coffee shops or certain restaurants. It's like mowing yards in the summer and plowing snow in the winter. Of course, it is best not to try that in Arizona.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 6:20 PM GMT
    Maybe you could ease into it by joining the Starbucks franchise and opening one. I have no idea how much financial risk is involved in that. But they must have a rule book for all the things you have to do that would give you a good idea about the nuts and bolts. It might be interesting to check with them and see what's involved.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 6:59 PM GMT
    One thing for sure; don't make your own pastries. We have a chain here in the San Francisco area called Peet's and the one I used to go to has excellent pastries. Then I joined a group that goes to another coffee shop that makes their own and their pastries are very lackluster. Peet's even has a little sign that says where they get their pastries from.

    So find a top notch pastry shop to get your pastries from.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 7:08 PM GMT
    patmos9990 saidDevelop a business plan and see what your net revenue would actually be. Location is the key for coffee shops as you are completing with the national franchises.


    If you're a decent Barista (which I wonder about, MacDonalds coffee? One button bean to cup blandness round here) - then your usp will be decent coffee, something which most franchise shops don't do. Being a Barista isn't just about making a decent latte, it's about the art and skill you put into it. Anyone can call themselves a Barista, it's just when you come up against a real Barista you find out if you are or not.

    (Trained Barista, paid my way through Uni for 3 years doing it)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 7:09 PM GMT
    Lumpynose saidMaybe you could ease into it by joining the Starbucks franchise and opening one. I have no idea how much financial risk is involved in that. But they must have a rule book for all the things you have to do that would give you a good idea about the nuts and bolts. It might be interesting to check with them and see what's involved.


    Starbucks? You don't know proper coffee if that's the standard you work from!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 7:13 PM GMT
    Paulie73 said
    Lumpynose saidMaybe you could ease into it by joining the Starbucks franchise and opening one. I have no idea how much financial risk is involved in that. But they must have a rule book for all the things you have to do that would give you a good idea about the nuts and bolts. It might be interesting to check with them and see what's involved.


    Starbucks? You don't know proper coffee if that's the standard you work from!

    Agreed. I was thinking along the lines of using it as a springboard for learning how to run a business.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 20, 2013 7:20 PM GMT
    @Lumpynose That's a relief lol

    If you want to be a really excellent Barista, get a position in an independent coffee shop, their reputation lies solely in the quality of the brew, whereas the franchises are just, well, franchises. Thousands of branches, and if one's rubbish, there's another just down the road.

    The independent will ensure that you're trained to an excellent standard. The one I trained in won the Northwest UK Barista championships a month or so after I joined them (I didn't win it, the guy training me did lol)

    And almost most importantly (the brew is the most important) - serve with a smile, if you're not happy with the drink, don't serve it, and if you can be making the drink within moments of a regular walking in the door without even asking what they want, that'll bring the customers in in droves. There's no better advert than a happy customer telling their friends all about that lovely boy who makes such gorgeous coffee, and he's so polite and friendly too icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 21, 2013 12:49 AM GMT
    Paulie73 said@Lumpynose That's a relief lol

    I'm not sure why it should bother you if I like Starbucks coffee. My food tastes are all over the board. For example, I love Kentucky Fried Chicken, original recipe, which most people with any sense avoid like the plague. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is another guilty pleasure (which I haven't had in years). And then there's Spam, mmm ...
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Aug 21, 2013 12:52 AM GMT
    Oh, Starbucks has a rule book all right. Terrifying.
  • Irishguy22

    Posts: 66

    Aug 21, 2013 1:12 AM GMT
    Ignoring you're partner's not wanting you to do it; Id suggest maybe looking for any classes/courses/information sessions on starting a business. Do lots of research into it regarding tax, payroll, insurence, health and safety training/certificates, any licencing you may need, importing or getting deliveries, etc.
    There may also be information on business ownership on your government's web sites. Another thing to do is to talk to any café owners you may already know personally or trust and ask them how they got started. Probably good to have a folder (on your PC or IRL) that holds all the information you need on this. Then when you got all that down you're gonna need to find the money to open up. It'll take a long time but thats fine because people arent going to stop drinking coffee any time soon icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 21, 2013 1:28 AM GMT
    *Put some money together..
    *You can buy a business plan/ template..
    *Personalize it..
    *Have it reviewed by an analyst ..
    *Your analyst will provide you with statistics that will in turn provide realistic data that will determine probable success.

    Give us a heads up on the grand opening!
    Make the men's room really,really dark.
    Good luck.. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 21, 2013 1:41 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Paulie73 said@Lumpynose That's a relief lol

    I'm not sure why it should bother you if I like Starbucks coffee. My food tastes are all over the board. For example, I love Kentucky Fried Chicken, original recipe, which most people with any sense avoid like the plague. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is another guilty pleasure (which I haven't had in years). And then there's Spam, mmm ...


    Just trying to explain to the OP that quality is the way to go if setting up a coffee shop, not the sugar laden tat that Starbucks pass off as coffee icon_biggrin.gif

    Kraft....they're really getting their moneys worth out of the cadbury name, aren't they...although, choc philly on a digestive biscuit is just instant cheesecake icon_biggrin.gif

    I gather you lot in the states don't have digestive biscuits, they have some other name...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 21, 2013 6:37 PM GMT
    Paulie73 saidI gather you lot in the states don't have digestive biscuits, they have some other name...

    I'm guessing that that's what we call "crackers." Both names are funny.

    I recently bought this book but haven't made anything from it yet.

    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/crackers-dips.html
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 21, 2013 6:50 PM GMT
    Meticulous survey
    adaptable plans
    cautious & proper implementation

    and the rest depends on the customers
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 22, 2013 12:07 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidMaybe you could ease into it by joining the Starbucks franchise and opening one. I have no idea how much financial risk is involved in that. But they must have a rule book for all the things you have to do that would give you a good idea about the nuts and bolts. It might be interesting to check with them and see what's involved.


    Starbucks doesn't franchise. They are all SORO (salary operated retail outlets).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 22, 2013 12:15 AM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Paulie73 saidI gather you lot in the states don't have digestive biscuits, they have some other name...

    I'm guessing that that's what we call "crackers." Both names are funny.


    They're called Graham Crackers, apparently

    That's an even funnier name icon_lol.gif
  • LuckyGuyKC

    Posts: 2080

    Aug 22, 2013 12:18 AM GMT
    In my market you need to be able to sell 100 cups a day to open a small shop. You also need a secondary item like wine or ice cream that pair and compliment time of day and seasonal demand cycles.

    A coffee cart is a great way to get started in a major office building on a pedestrian friendly location that can draw from several buildings.

    Most of the small shops are personality driven .... so hire well.

    There are some good books on starting a coffee shop .... spend the weekend at the library.
  • Irishguy22

    Posts: 66

    Aug 22, 2013 12:19 AM GMT
    Paulie73 said
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Paulie73 saidI gather you lot in the states don't have digestive biscuits, they have some other name...

    I'm guessing that that's what we call "crackers." Both names are funny.


    They're called Graham Crackers, apparently

    That's an even funnier name icon_lol.gif


    Graham Crackers are NOT digestives!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 22, 2013 12:33 AM GMT
    Irishguy22 said
    Paulie73 said
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    Paulie73 saidI gather you lot in the states don't have digestive biscuits, they have some other name...

    I'm guessing that that's what we call "crackers." Both names are funny.


    They're called Graham Crackers, apparently

    That's an even funnier name icon_lol.gif


    Graham Crackers are NOT digestives!


    Well I don't know! Apparently they're the nearest thing to a McVities Digestive that they have in America...
  • Amelorn

    Posts: 231

    Aug 22, 2013 5:47 AM GMT
    Know thyself. Also, know thy customer.

    Knowing yourself: Do you want to become rich with a chain of shops? Or do you want to indulge a passion for your product? If you're going the chain route, "predictably mediocre" has made billionaires. Consider McDonalds, Budweiser beer, Starbucks, Applebee's, etc etc.

    Knowing your customer: Good luck trying to sell the "art and skill" of coffee to a working class, blue collar town. Are you really focusing on the morning rush? Or maybe you're looking more for sit down, light meal/snack customers?


    Random advice: If possible, locate on a college campus. Such locations are veritable goldmines.


    P.S. I love how coffee has evolved into something made by "baristas." I'd wager that the vast majority of what's sold in the US is a relatively uninspiring delivery vehicle for cream and sugar. The truly unique creations or rarer coffees are obviously in the minority. Most "baristas" are doing fairly low-level component assembly, where their real skill is rapid assemblage.