Over the last few years, pedestrians have often – to their delight – discovered coffee shops in the most unusual parts of the city at the most convenient times. In an age where successful entrepreneurship is a result of marriage between innovation and opportunity, a lot of business models are going mobile to have a bigger impact.
While big investments do lead to bigger returns, sometimes owning a big start-up might not be your cup of tea (or coffee). Mobile coffee shops not only require small investment, but they also guarantee a large profit margin that increase quite rapidly.
Customers are more than thrilled to walk a small distance to the mobile coffee shop that parks in their neighbourhood for their regular caffeine hit in the morning. With coffee shops running on wheels, the concept of taking your business directly to the customers has been taken to a completely new direction.
Even though a mobile coffee business may be quite profitable, it requires some serious coffee brewing skills and excellent marketing platform to succeed. From deciding on the kind of vehicle you want to run, to the different locations you should park at to get most customers – every bit of your business must be carefully planned and handled.
Is this business for you?
Mobile coffee cart businesses are quite fun and adventurous. Since your level of operations will be significantly smaller than a static coffee shop, you will have few financial hurdles.
However, not everyone is built to handle a mobile coffee van. Are you street smart? Do you know much about coffee? Are you a people person?
As the sole owner of your small enterprise, you will be in charge of service, marketing, and maintenance. If multitasking and sociable skills are not exactly your forte, you will find yourself brewing up a challenge too big to handle.
What should you consider before starting your own mobile coffee business?
Every business requires some strategising before it can take shape. Understand what your customers want and what their daily routines involve. Decide on whether you would like to provide your services for huge events like weddings, corporate functions and festivals.
The success of your mobile coffee business will hinge on your ability to make swift decisions and making detailed preparations before service hours.
Take care of formalities. Register your business and get your license
If you do not do the necessary paperwork, your business will definitely take a blow. If you are the sole owner of the business, register as the sole proprietor instead of as a limited corporation or company. This way, your registration fees will be less expensive. Depending on the country you are working in, you might need to apply separately for a business license as well.
It is imperative that you get your service authorised and certified. Obtain a food service license. This will require some research, so make sure that you make yourself well acquainted with the rules and regulations of the city that you will be working in.
Choose the right vehicle for your business. Invest in necessary equipment
Your transit vehicle can be any model, as long as you can give its original look a twist that customers can love! Many mobile coffee businesses use three wheeler Piaggio, golf buggies, VW campers and even electric carts to serve coffee!
The more eccentric your choice, the rarer your set up will be. You can even hire a professional decorator to create your mobile coffee station!
Of course, your business set up will be incomplete without the necessary machines and equipment that you will need to brew some amazing coffee for your customers!
Make sure that your vehicle has a separate compartment inside where you can store coffee beans and powder, flavouring syrups and other ingredients.
Keep a refrigerator compartment for milk, ice cream, and cream. Since ice plays a big role in the coffee menu, keep a freezer compartment to store ice. Espresso machines, AeroPress and coffee bean grinders should be on the “To Buy” list as well.
Keep your mobile coffee cart well stocked, as your customers might increase in numbers if you do a good job at making excellent coffee.
Contact local businesses in the city
In order to make the highest profits, you need to take advantage of crowd surge. Contact some business owners and ask them about their lunch hours. You can park your coffee van near their locations to provide your services to the employees when they come out during their lunch time.
You can sell coffee to people near the transport hubs like entrances to metro stations and bus terminus to sell coffee to passengers.
Some of these companies might even decide to hire you during their corporate meetings or outdoor events. This can be highly beneficial to you, as you can keep expanding your network of potential clients.
Use smart marketing techniques
You can print flyers and brochures which you can give your customers when they buy your coffee. Printing ads in local newspapers is also a very good idea. But nothing can work as efficiently as getting your story out in magazines and papers.
If you can manage to convince a journalist that your coffee is definitely one of the best in the city, you will have more customers trusting your services. You need to create an effective brand by telling people about you and your love for coffee, and more people will come forward to show support.
Learn different coffee recipes
It all comes down to the quality of the product you sell. Many big brands like Starbucks and Nescafe have their own coffee carts which go around the city selling coffee.
How can you compete against big corporations? It is all about quality.
It does not matter if you do not have expensive equipment and machines to make fancy coffee drinks. As long as the regular coffee drinks you can offer are really good to taste, you are bound to be successful. With time, you can bring in enough money to expand your menu and make the right investments to earn more success and fame.
These basic strategies will help you to keep your financial expenditures under limit, and make the right decisions that will help your mobile coffee business to grow stronger and more successful. Perseverance is definitely the key, so you must keep working hard to see a positive difference.