Are you thinking about starting your own coffee shop or mobile coffee outlet?

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I noticed the other day on the beach that there were no less than four places where you could buy coffee. Two of them were part of restaurants and the other two were mobile operations.

When you go to the Main Road or just off the Main Road you see coffee shops lining both sides of the street. In a space of about 80 meters there are six coffee shops. Customers are spoiled for choice.

Now with this explosion in coffee shops and mobile coffee vendors is there room for someone like you? Well that depends. Location is important for opening any business and you would have to do your market research.

?Seeing that you are unlikely to find a place that is free from a coffee shop, it would be advisable to visit all the coffee shops and coffee stands in the area and sample their product and make observations. You need to do this so that you can hone your competitive positioning.

The other thing is, setting up your coffee shop or mobile vendor stall, you are going to need a lot of equipment and perhaps you can get help from a coffee bean vendor. There are plenty that you can find with an internet search and perhaps they offer training on setting up a coffee business.

You also need to determine your price points.? Most coffee shops sell, for example, an Americano upwards of R30 and there are associated eats that can be included in your offer.

Like all small business ventures, a high percentage fail. Research shows that up to 60% of coffee shops fail in their first year. This is bad news, but it’s a fact.

What it means is that you have to do your homework and do ultra careful planning before you open your business and sell your first coffee to a customer. You don’t want to get locked into analysis paralysis, but speak to existing coffee owners in a different area to where you want to open up and find out what is making successful and what are the dangers and traps to avoid.

I’m not here to paint a glowing picture of the coffee market in the Western Cape, especially in the coastal areas. All I can say is that the market for consumable coffee appears to be growing more so than it has in previous years. It’s something worth looking into if you are that way inclined.

Remember too that unless you have someone working for you, and that is going to reduce your net margins, it involves long hours. What retail business doesn’t involve long hours? B?ut of course you can, if you’re running a mobile vending operation, bring out your mobile unit at times when people consume more coffee. When I was on the beach in the Strand after everyone has gone for a morning walk, they go straight to the coffee vendor and order a coffee and a muffin.

In a nutshell, the coffee shop and vendor market is still brewing hot. Perhaps there’s a gap for you in your area that you may be able to exploit, but do your homework, don’t just rush in. Ask other coffee shop and vendor owners to spill the beans, so you can find out what to anticipate.

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