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Is opening a Coffee Shop a good idea ?

Discussion in 'Ideas, Needs, Concept Feedback' started by AlessioLC, Jul 19, 2017.

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  1. Fpm9
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    Do you know where you will open this store ? Is there many other coffee shops / cafés in the area ? Is it mostly a business / shopping / residential area ?
     
  2. AlessioLC
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    AlessioLC Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Yes, in a provencal city, in the south of france. In the historical center of the city.
    Yes there is cafés (french way/brasserie) but no CoffeeShop/Espresso bar, and this is all in one (business/shopping/residential).
     
  3. Camaro68
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    Anyone have thoughts about coffee shops being a "fad" or trend to get the best cup similar to the current craft beer trend? Granted coffee shops have been around for quite a while longer than craft beer fad, but just saying.

    I have a friend who works for what I call a mid level craft beer company, for the past 15yrs. They have def noticed a hit to sales due to the fact that everyone and their brother thinks its cool to make beer and open a craft brewery with restaurant and sell their own label, but eventually the market gets saturated and there is little brand loyalty. People go into the liquor store and pick something new they haven't tried yet, buying a new pack each visit. The larger guys get some repeats when customers just want something they knew is decent. He said the business is simply waiting out the small fish until they fold. Many guys start a brewery cause they think its "cool" but don't know how to run a business and fold within a year or two.

    Just wondering if there are parallels here. Also, what is your exit strategy? At least with beer, if you have a large enough following you can hope to capture enough market share that the big boys take notice and perhaps buy you out...I don't see that happening in the coffee space..is there an exit strategy? I don't think there has to be, but I just think its another limiting factor in the business, as well as the fact that it might be hard to find a buyer when you want to sell/retire. If you have something that is working, what is stopping someone from buying the same equipment as you, with the same décor and opening up next door with enough capital, while undercutting your prices and waiting you out? At least with craft beer you have a brewer with perhaps unique recipes/flavors...I think you are more limited in the coffee space. You don't have recipes for you cups.

    Just adding input to the convo, what I would be thinking if I was gonna open a coffee shop. I think it would be a tough space to compete in.
     
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  4. AlessioLC
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    AlessioLC Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I don't have any exit strategy, this is a lifetime project, i've been working on it for 2 years, i only aim success and developping myself slowly but surely.
    But there's a need for what i will do, at least i'm convinced that there's one and i will work my ass off to develop my shop.

    Beer Market Opportunity : Create great beer and sell it to supermarkets / Pub - Bartender owner, possibility of making a lot of money if you sell to Walmart for example.

    Coffee Market Opportunity : Exactly the same, Roast / Create good coffee, make a great packaging and branding, get your name out there and present your product to Walmart and hope to sell it to their store and on an e-commerce store and see your sales growing each day, it's just execution and constant quality.
     
  5. Puppy
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    my understanding is this isnt about coffee. coffee has no value in itself. its not the coffee you are trying to sell or build a franchise with. its the value. what is the value you offer? having everything for everyone? atomophere? service? is your parents coffee house successful? what is making them successful? why are your competiters succesful?

    one thing i dont understand is if starbucks sucks and are losing customers why are you using their ideas? if you need instagramable cups to get people interested and keep people interested and need to have those cups then you have no business and no, its not a good idea. now, can your coffee shop thrive with plain jane white cups with a simple logo?

    edit added
    scaleablility - once coffee house has proven it is successful with out a cool cup and has a strong customer base it engage them buy asking them to choose or design the cup. make a contest out of, and then you have serious customer engagement because someone is asking them what they want. social media hit and tremendous marketing oppertunity.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  6. AlessioLC
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    I got a big interest in Coffee, that's for sure, even if my passion is Automotive world and i always wanted to be a racecar driver but to be able to become one, you must have a huge amount of money so..
    I've been in the coffee industry for 3 years and i love it, i love the vibes you get when you work in a coffee shop and managing one.

    But yes it's about value, my concept is kind of new, no one as ever done what i want to do so yes, i guess it's value.
    For the "is there a need?" Me and my brother who work in the top lawyer firms of France, we've been asking friends and coworkers to give feedbacks of my concept and they all say that they would be my first clients and would love to get a concept like mine near their firm, they can't stand hippies coffee shop, with haughty Baristas.
    (Both in Paris and South of France)

    Of course i would love to franchise it, it's one of my goal, but i will only do that if people like my concept. And yes the fact that i got everything, the atmosphere, the good services,good vibes, great products and also me who cares about my customers.
    Why are they successful ? They've fulfilled a need in my city, no starbucks, no coffee shops, only us for 3 years so we've been smashing everything as i'm good in communication/marketing/branding (but we've choosed to go with a franchise in the first place because we didn't knew how to open a business at that time)
    Starbucks is coming in the next 10 days and we know that this will have an impact on us, but not that big, because we are doing the same but better, we don't use sugar to add some kind of flavours to our drinks, we use good products such as real cacao, premium quality syrups with less sugar, home made pastries, foods is ordered from a craftman, the coffee is from a well known Coffee brand, we use real coffee machines with the know-how. There multiples reasons we're good, also because we don't mind about money but much of ours customers, make sure we're providing the best products they've ever had and make sure everything is ok.

    I've been in Starbucks twice, the only thing i see is Mcdonalds, i mean the clothes they're wearing, the products, the drinks, it's a fast food not a coffee shop. This is definitly not the concept i want to open, a new traditionnal espresso bar is what i want to open.

    Ask an italian to take a coffee in a starbucks and he will be screaming at you that you're crazy, Starbucks provide bad quality, i'm from the industry i know everything now and i can tell you, everything you order can make you fat in no time!
    BUT, Starbucks has managed to create a brand with their logo and cups and people take their selfies or post them on instagram so yes it free publicity.

    Yes it's scalable, no doubts, it's just that France is way smaller than USA and there will be a point where you can not have a new coffee shop because it will be full..
     
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  7. Fpm9
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    I think the opening of Starbucks in your area in the upcoming days will be a good sign of how customers will react. I'm pretty sure Starbucks will be full for the first week, but I wonder if their customers will keep coming back.

    I'm writing this post from a Starbucks in Paris, and I made a few observations :

    - I'm at Starbucks because it is more convenient : the other non-starbucks coffee shops are a bit far from the train station and I was too lazy to walk
    - I know what to expect when I walk into Starbucks
    - I had an espresso and even though its far from being great, I feel like they improved their coffee quality over the last few years
    - There is almost no "Instagram kid" in the whole shop at the moment. Its a pretty big one and most people are here to use the wifi and work. I think you should not forget about those people who see coffee shop as a cool place to work.
    - I wish they served better food. I'd love to have lunch here so I can keep working, but I'll go somewhere else ebcause of their food quality
     
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  8. AlessioLC
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    Thanks for your feedbacks on Starbucks. What i can say on food is this : Not everyone can cook, and our margins are so low that hiring someone just to do that is not worth it.
    So the next fastlane idea is..to become a producer > Create food for Coffee Shop.
    But this is very complicated, i mean if you want to have a commercial space with a kitchen, you'll need an autorisation, you'll need an air evacuation (which not any building got) AND a chef/cooker..
    Even for me, this is actually the hardest part of the concept : Making food while not hiring someone else, finding something that need 5min maximum to prepare.
     
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  9. garyjsmith
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    When you've had coffee made at the same site as the roasted bean, you can't help but express a 'wow;' it's that much of a difference. You're right about Starbucks' quality, but take a Sam Walton point of view and keep an eye on what they're doing right.

    I have a friend that's heading out to France at the end of the month. Is your shop open and operational?
     
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  10. AlessioLC
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    There a huge difference between Freshly Roasted beans and a package of 1years old roasted beans which come from a storage of starbucks...and also the quality of the beans, the know-how everything is kind of automatic and that's why it's easy to work at a Starbucks and this is an advantage for them.

    Because us, real Baristas we took time to learn how to use an espresso machine and coffee grinder perfectly, to know everything between the grain harvesting from roasting it, using it in different way.
    At Starbucks > You push a button and this is water that flows lol! (actually coffee but you got my point)

    I've not been able to open mine for the moment because the owner of the commercial space i've been negociating with refused me the use of his terrace, it is a big loss of sales capacity...so i've told him that it was not possible. I kept his phone number if ever but i don't expect a phone call from him.

    I got an another one with the same problem, but this time i have to wait for the authorization of the Town Hall...i'm looking for Paris right now but i don't like Paris that much.

    I'm an italian, i need sun not rain.. and there is an opportunity in the South of France
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  11. RHL
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    Just want to point out that most of the posters here have no idea what the B&M business world is like for restaurants in France. You need to consider that most Americans have Wawa or Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts in mind when they think of fastlane coffee businesses. I've honestly never been to Paris, but I know the environment in many other places in the EU is radically different from the US in terms of how coffee shops work and when/how they attract business.
     
  12. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    That and beer consumption is down. Wine is on the rise with millennials.

    So I've read.
     
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  13. AlessioLC
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    In France, if it's good and trendy, it's fastlane for sure, example : One business as opened few years ago which is called "Big Fernand", simply a french way to do burgers with french cheese and great products, they've created an atmosphere in their shops.
    Their burgers are not Hamburgers but 'Hamburgés', french fries are not french fries but 'Fernandines', just few cool example how to create a concept from our culture, but from one shop in Paris, then 2, now they are EVERYWHERE and even in Dubai i heard from the CEO. And the guy didn't invest that much in the first one due to the margins he make.

    My concept could be fastlane too, i just have to wait and find the good commercial space and get the work done..i don't mind working from 8am to 8pm if it allows me to develop my concept.
    Actually what do you think about breakfast ? I've been thinking about that lately, i don't know if it's interesting..

    Also, everything is different here, taxes, human ressources, employees rights, hourly rate (paycheck) and that's why it's difficult to own a restaurant or any business, because some of your employees are lazy and you can't do a damn thing about it, in USA i heard that if you're not working and you're lazy you're fired, here we can't. (employees rights) I don't know if it's true btw..

    We drink beer a lot, especially craft beers even if they're more expensive.
    Same with wine, it's a tradition here, i drink wine every week and with family too.
     
  14. Fpm9
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    Yeah I can see why this might be difficult.. Is there a way you can get a partnership with a local restaurant or bakery, so they can supply food that you can then sell at your coffee shop ?

    Lol I was surprised you said Wawa, then I saw Location : PA

    I don't know much about the business side, but from what I saw in both countries, french customers tend to stay for a long time at their coffee shop. Fewer people grab a coffee to drink it at work or in class. Maybe that's another reason coffee is more expensive here in France. The only type of coffee that is more expensive in the US are espressos, I guess its because of a lower demand. I usually go to coffee shop for first dates, and american girls were always surprised to see me ordering espressos
     
  15. AlessioLC
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    Indeed, it's very difficult but few coffee shops has found success while preparing themselves their food, with a kitchen and a cooker, but it's in Paris ! They're some many people in Paris that you can open a shop next to an other one it would work...(that's why i think a lot about Paris).

    For the bakery there's no problem i got everything, for the food i had a little idea from the start and it would work too but it takes time.
    Ideally, i should do my idea (taking 5min to prepare) and also offer salads and stuff for the take away.

    But in other city, it's different, less people, people live apart from others... so you have to be in the right spot and be the best (no problem i am) in order to be successful.

    We drink a lot of coffee but not the one we should (instant coffee), Espressos are the top sellers in France.
     
  16. garyjsmith
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    People love this thread. Can you updated us with where you are with your plans and project currently?
     
  17. mom
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    But whilst we are on the subject of saturation i see many on here promoting Amazon/e-commerce businesses. If ever there is over saturation it is in that field..or am i wrong?

    Coffee shop....if you are that passionate about just invest in a Starbuck's Franchise (not fastlane though)
    Most coffee shops are 2 a penny and i'll bet they are lucky to make a small profit
     
  18. AlessioLC
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    I know the margins at Starbucks are huge, but i will not throw money in howard schultz's wallet i want to create my own brand, i don't want to work for anybody.

    Because if i open a Starbucks, i could make a decent amount of money, but if i open my own shop and that i can franchise it, i could win way more.
     
  19. AlessioLC
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    Actually i had a commercial space with a terrace but the owner has just taken away the right to use the terrace.
    I have another one in the south of france in negotiation but after this one, i will need to search again and maybe in Paris too..even if i really want to go in the south of France.

    I will update the thread if i got news.
     
  20. ThirtyOne
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    start with NEED.

    Is there a need for coffee shops where you are? If there's one on every block, sorry, no need.

    However, if you know a lot about coffee, and lots of people are consuming it, can you supply a need within that market? Not distributing coffee itself, but something else coffee-related. For example....

    Knowing very little about coffee myself:
    1. could you create a proprietary process that involved soaking roasted beans for a time, in say, honey or maple syrup? to give it a sweeter taste? that way, those trying to get away from adding sugar, can have a slightly-sweeter-than-black cup, and still feel like they are going black. license this process to the big players.
    2. coffee is a diuretic. could you manufacture a coffee cup or powder that has an anti-diuretic in it? why not? caffeine is a drug.
    3. can you create a post-coffee mouth wash that combats bad breath/whitens teeth? really, this would be a normal mouth wash that does those things, but marketed specifically for coffee drinkers, and sold at coffee shops. Maybe even a one-shot version with a tear top that you can then license to big players to sell with every order of coffee they get.
    4. etc
    5. etc
    These ideas may be dumb or unexecutable, but they might give you some place to start. Good luck.
     
  21. AlessioLC
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    Actually a good coffee don't need sugar, so that's exactly what i'm trying to do :
    1. Open my own Espresso Bar with the greatest patries/Services/coffee beans
    2. Roast my own coffee
    3. Sell it
    4. Scale my concept
    5. Fastlane, and even if this doesn't happen, at least i would have tried and i prefere to work for my own brand.

    There's no big need in the coffee industry in itself, we just need more and more product everytime.
    Actually the big thing would be, being a food supplier for coffee shops, but there some much regulations/laws and there's not many possibilities
     
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  22. ThirtyOne
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    This might be your problem here. There's always a need. The ones who make it big see it and fill it first/best.

    Barrier to entry + need are two of the Fastlane commandments. If you dodge them, guess what? You often end up not in the Fastlane.
     
  23. AlessioLC
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    Yes, but the problem is for example i'm actually searching for new fruits juices, with a decent quality and branding to get attention from my customer (a nice bottle always win), but guess what, if i buy it from my supplier for 1.80euros, and sell it for 3.50 euros, i'm only making 1.8~margin, that's nothing.

    In the other way, i have the same quality in my actual supplier, the quality is there but the bottles are not that nice, we're selling not a lot, but the margin is huge, we buy the unit for 0.80 euros.
    That's why i'm searching for the same type of margins of the product 2 but with the branding of the branding 1.

    > That's look like an opportunity for me, surely but i'm sure the farmer of the product 2 got his own lands and can allow himself to make these margins.
    The producer of the product 1, i think he is importing his fruits and then work those products and then got the final product > the juice.
    So many middleman
     
  24. AlessioLC
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    The other day i saw that a guy launched a business some years ago and was just making some energy drinks with a good marketing / branding, apparently he sold his business for few millions, i'm very confused on what i need to do. I mean my concept is good and could potentially work. But if it's as easy as making cool drinks / nice bottle and being able to do social media marketing..i mean that guy just had to add his products to the local stores, pay ads on Facebook & IG and ask for local food/coffee business to sell his products and sit all day waiting for the money to come.

    He made a lot of money, grow the sales as much as he could and then ask he saw the opportunity to sell his business while the sales were at the highest point...Fastlane.
     
  25. GastonEE
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    I think that the most important part in your future business is the place of your cafe and competitors around. You're right, there are a lot of similar places and you can be unique with your service and quality of the products. Thus you should think first about a popular place and what cafes surround you there.