congrats on your first post to this ever growing and respected community.
Why a semi auto?. I recommend a volumetric, it will be something less your operators need to think about particularly if they have little experience and even when you do, its still nice to have once less thing to think about.
You said "small business". Ok so I guess we are looking at a 1 grouper and in tha case there are more machines available to you then *when you start to get into high volume stuff.
That said, for any business where you are selling coffee suggest dont buy a semi-commercial. For not all that much more go for a plumbed 1 group commercial with water connection. Look for something reliable that performs well.
People in business need to have good local service backup, so forget buying from out of area. Unfortuanely that also means I am advising you NOT to buy equipment from me unless you are in my local area. *I firmly believe it is bad management for business people to go into things that they cant get serviced locally QUICKLY......that is in terms of the availability of parts, unless they dont mind being without their equipment for a couple of days if something that is not interchangeable with other machines goes wrong....eg, auto fill box, touchpad, CPU, steam valves....and whilst many machines these days are reasonably reliable....do you have a crystal ball?
Of course if none of that worries you, I would be pleased to talk you about my own great Diadema brand machines. Theyre very well designed to a tried and proven "old school" conventional design, run down the production line to our individual signature specifications to work at thier best in the australian market using our styles of espresso beans, they brew great coffee, and have very good capacity. And theyre simple to service / repair, all important factors for someone in business.
So what I am saying is........talk to a local equipment or service provider and definitely talk to your coffee supplier...why not, it is in their best interests to handle equipment that does justice to their product.
Should you wish to talk please do not hesitate to call me....during working hours of course, and yes we do have experience of the needs of machines to be placed into vans.
aka FC, first / original CS commercial site sponsor.