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  • Need help with setting up a coffee stall at markets?

    Okay, so I'm 22 and am looking into my own business opportunity. I've worked in a successful cafe for the past 6 years and I absolutely love it and am an avid coffee drinker. Generally we take in $300-$400 an hour in the mornings and I handle it incredibly well.

    I'm looking to start small, hopefully at a market stall. I'm a graduate of graphic design. branding and marketing and I worked in sales for 2 years with great results aswell.

    I know how to sell is my point.

    What I don't know, is the mechanics of it all. I have no clue as to what coffee machine to purchase for a market stall, I've been told i need 15 amp power supply and a rotary pump. I don't know where to even begin finding one of these, I'm from victoria, and also need to know about permits. I want to serve premium barista coffee, ive been spending alot of time researching espresso coffee at my local markets. all are pretty much old men in the back of dodgy vans. i hasn't seen anything appealing. ive made my business plan but at the moment i just need to know how to get set up.

    So I need to know what machine/s (cheapest as possible) to buy, also how will I connect the water supply? just a bucket of purified water? I will also be selling an assortment of three with sandwiches, muffins and cakes. Will I need a food permit?

    Any advice will be helpful! Thank you!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Christoffrrr View Post
    all are pretty much old men in the back of dodgy vans. i hasn't seen anything appealing.
    Any advice will be helpful!
    Don't go looking in the back of dodgy vans.... no place for young whippersnappers like you.

    If you're asking for advice on CS ..... be careful...... you might be asking dodgy old men.

    Ahhhh to be young and precocious ... again! ;-D

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    • #3
      Lol! Watch out for these dodgy old buggers here [emoji14]

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      • #4
        Research power supply before anything else. I've a friend who espressos at markets with a diesel generator and a lot of (dodgy old men) absolutely crack it because they can't hear what their customers are asking about the selection of potatoes on offer.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Christoffrrr View Post
          Okay, so I'm 22 and am looking into my own business opportunity. I've worked in a successful cafe for the past 6 years and I absolutely love it and am an avid coffee drinker. Generally we take in $300-$400 an hour in the mornings and I handle it incredibly well.

          I'm looking to start small, hopefully at a market stall. I'm a graduate of graphic design. branding and marketing and I worked in sales for 2 years with great results aswell.

          I know how to sell is my point.

          What I don't know, is the mechanics of it all. I have no clue as to what coffee machine to purchase for a market stall, I've been told i need 15 amp power supply and a rotary pump. I don't know where to even begin finding one of these, I'm from victoria, and also need to know about permits. I want to serve premium barista coffee, ive been spending alot of time researching espresso coffee at my local markets. all are pretty much old men in the back of dodgy vans. i hasn't seen anything appealing. ive made my business plan but at the moment i just need to know how to get set up.

          So I need to know what machine/s (cheapest as possible) to buy, also how will I connect the water supply? just a bucket of purified water? I will also be selling an assortment of three with sandwiches, muffins and cakes. Will I need a food permit?

          Any advice will be helpful! Thank you!
          Oh dear, the brashness of youth, all the theory in the world with little practical experience won't get you far, what were you doing during your 6 years working in a successful cafe? surely your powers of observation would have helped you glean a few hints about what would be needed in a business venture! did you talk to fellow workers, sales people, customers, use your powers of observation? surely normal human curiosity came into play.

          Google is a great research tool, we constantly hear how much more skilled young people are at using electronic media compared to us dodgy old men, suggest you use the medium you (grew up with) and do a bit of research.

          This bought a smile to my face: "also how will I connect the water supply? just a bucket of purified water? I will also be selling an assortment of three with sandwiches, muffins and cakes. Will I need a food permit?"

          I would suggest if you need to ask these questions here in a public coffee forum your simply not ready for the venture.

          I know I'll be jumped on for being harsh, so be it, all the sugar coating in the world won't help when creditors start knocking on the door.

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          • #6
            Love a little enthusiasm!

            My advice? Do your homework because even with it, you are heading for a baptism of fire. A (hugely incomplete) checklist for you.
            • Food handling and then a food safety supervisors course
            • Small business course
            • Learn about machines. You may know how to use one, but you have a whole heap more to learn. You might need onsite running maintenance so as to not lose a day's trade. Who's going to do this?
            • Talk to your local council
            • Talk to event operators/organisers
            • Observe successful outdoor operations

            I have done plenty of what you propose to do. Don't think that just because you can make coffee that you can run a successful operation. More small businesses fail than succeed and I have seen wealthy people blow their dough when they start and run cafes with little or no actual experience.

            Baby steps and good luck.

            Chris

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            • #7
              Welcome to CS.

              Wasnt it Willy Nelson that is supposed to have said something like "...old age and treachery trumps youth and good looks everytime..." ?

              Guys dont worry about it.....to someone that's 22, anyone past 26 is "old" perfectly normal.

              Mate, if you have been working in cafes for that length of time and you say you know what you want to do, then I guess you have a coffee supplier in mind.

              That is the place where you need to seek advice....your coffee supplier. The smaller ones who are ONLY cafe/roasters or micro roasters usually dont do equipment, but the moderately larger ones that have some years under their belts have usually branched out with growth into equipment, training, whatever, and have ties with subcontractors that do fit ups etc etc etc etc. They are the ones you need to direct your questions to. You would be mad not to purchase equipment form someone that can SERVICE you when problems arise....no private purchases please or you will ne going it alone...

              Good luck with it.

              Oh and one more thing...regarding your quote "...I need to know what machine/s (cheapest as possible) to buy..."

              That would be big mistake number 1. If the sign over your door (figuratively speaking of course) reads "CAFE", the the equipment is one of the most important aspects of your venture. Reliability and ongoing service are paramount, so I'm a afraid "cheapest possible" does not compute. If I had a dollar for every tme I hear that gem from newcomers that want to start up a coffee venture, id have quite a bit of pocket money !

              Anf of course it depends on what you mean by cheap. Bottom end but NEW with guarantee & ongoing service , or cheap used rubbish. Cheap used commercial rubbish is not what you want.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TOK View Post

                If I had a dollar for every tme I hear that gem from newcomers that want to start up a coffee venture, id have quite a bit of pocket money !
                TOK , have another dollar ( go get yourself a coffee ) :P, i actually want to start up a coffee venture too and yeah 21 >_< . but i have no plans on it till im like 30. You are right tho, there is so much aspects to it than what it seems on the surface, Unlike OP, i don't have 6 years experience working in a cafe ( mostly because i can't find a job for it - even if i did, they needed experience ;_.
                So i've just been quietly observing, talking to barista on what they know, gathering information here and there, and piecing it together,
                Maybe you should do the same OP
                I guess having a few barista friends always helps in decreasing the amount of thoughts on how to do the coffee venture,
                As much as i probably am against getting friends into the cafe business. They influenced me to start drinking coffee, and well, lets just say, i know that they know their stuff,who knows, they may be co-owners of cafe. :P

                Currently doing Masters in Business IT
                Last edited by luvmidnite; 17 December 2014, 01:53 PM. Reason: thought changed

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by luvmidnite View Post
                  TOK , have another dollar ( go get yourself a coffee ) :P,

                  ........who knows, (my friends).....may be co-owners of cafe. :P

                  Currently doing Masters in Business IT
                  Good luck with your degree. In terms of your looking into a cafe business venture some time in the future and the selective quote I've taken from your post. Just keep in mind that Big Mistake number 2 is where someone goes into business with a bunch of mates/friends. I have seen enough groups of friends do this and cant make ends meet because everything has to be split up equally between them. If there are 5 of you doing something that pays just enough for a couple of partners but you have to split it 5 ways, there is no future in it.

                  hope that helps

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TOK View Post
                    Good luck with your degree. In terms of your looking into a cafe business venture some time in the future and the selective quote I've taken from your post. Just keep in mind that Big Mistake number 2 is where someone goes into business with a bunch of mates/friends. I have seen enough groups of friends do this and cant make ends meet because everything has to be split up equally between them. If there are 5 of you doing something that pays just enough for a couple of partners but you have to split it 5 ways, there is no future in it.

                    hope that helps
                    Thanks , Yeah, I've heard stories like that, thats why , i probably will only do it with 1 other friend, since both my friend and i knows how to make coffee, i think that might save a bit on hiring a barista till at least we are successful enough. As far as i can observe, either the internet has been trolling me, and the profit margin of cafe are actually decently high if successful, or its kept a secret,
                    For a 1000 cups of coffee a week at $3.50 per cup ( assuming small). thats 3500, which minus water and electrical bills ( lets say 600 just cause coffee is mostly water), neglect barista cost, idk how much buying coffee beans by the bulk cost, cups is like 100 for like a stack?, rent on the coffee machine and grinder, cafe rent, hiring staff. maybe like 1000 dollar left at the end of the week? and that is assuming a semi successful store maybe?
                    you split it with a friend 500 each, for a month you get 2,000, which is pretty low, considering the rent of living in the city in melbourne, thats why there are other products for sale to increase the profit margin i assume?

                    I've done thorough thinking through different factors, unless im missing important factors, please do let me know.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by luvmidnite View Post
                      ....and the profit margin of cafe are actually decently high....
                      oO Famous last words!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
                        oO Famous last words!
                        Its probably not that high is it, it takes time to build and everything and to even reach breakeven point,
                        -seeks to find all the information first before deciding whether it is an applicable dream
                        even if i had like a little layout plan in my head, there is just sooo many factors

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                        • #13
                          Hi luvmidnite,
                          Many aspire to own a cafe, but without prejudice, here are some cold hard facts:
                          -Rent in Australia is astronomical, landlords want a high return on their asset.
                          -Wages and associated costs of super, workcover are very high.
                          -fitout costs are huge.
                          -tradesmen charge an arm and a leg, due to the previous shortage of skilled labour in the mining and OGP sector. This will decline as jobs become scarce, but they have high upkeeps, they all want to drive V8 utes etc.
                          -the market is over saturated.
                          -work out the costs to run the place per week. This is your fixed overheads. Assume you will have no turnover for 52 weeks. This is the absolute bare minimum reserve of cash you will need.

                          If still keen, scale down, consider a market venue or similar to start off with. Have a point of difference, be an innovator, not a sheep.

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                          • #14
                            I do not plan to do it in Australia, there is too much existing competition, and promoting the same beans, even with using the same supplier,there is just too low buying power, when competiting with other already well known cafes in Australia/melbourne.
                            I plan to tackle places like indonesia and singapore (well not really singapore - its emerging abit too fast with mediocre quality no offense, Singapore brunch places, are overpriced, and there is only like 3-4 cafes that serves amazing coffee ). but yeah, its difficult to start a business in Australia,
                            With the new generation of youngsters popping out of bellies, coffee is like an emerging trend in both of intended places, less competition, slightly cheaper rent, and still an existing market
                            But thank you for alll the facts, definitely keeping them in mind

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by luvmidnite View Post
                              For a 1000 cups of coffee a week at $3.50 per cup ( assuming small). thats 3500, which minus water and electrical bills ( lets say 600 just cause coffee is mostly water), neglect barista cost, idk how much buying coffee beans by the bulk cost, cups is like 100 for like a stack?, rent on the coffee machine and grinder, cafe rent, hiring staff. maybe like 1000 dollar left at the end of the week?
                              I've done thorough thinking through different factors, unless im missing important factors, please do let me know.
                              1000 (@ 20 gm dose) coffees a week plus waste = 22kgs = somewhere between $550 - $660, insurance, power, phone/IT, milk ( about 120 litres for 800 x

                              150ml ), sugar, napkins, cleaning products & consumables, takeaway cups/lids, cocoa, tea, chai, soft drinks/juice, breakage, wastage, staff @ $20/hr, food to

                              have with coffee plus wastage of leftovers, rent on fridge & food display, council permits (if required), accountant/bookkeeping costs.... and that's just for

                              starters!! ;-D

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