To everyone out there who has a dream to one day own a coffeehouse I give you this small piece of advice: start small.
Eric Spivack wants to own an amazing cafe someday. So he decided to take it one step at a time, and part of this is taking the time to learn more about the industry, and get his feet wet with a small shop. I mean small.
Like, real small.
Like, can only fit 1 grinder inside.
Because it is inside of a tow-behind trailer.
But its also pretty awesome looking and gets the job done.
Now after running his mobile shop he has the experience he needed to launch into a retail location (way to go Eric!). In May 2014 Eric and I got on Google Hangout to chat about his coffee trailer. The following is both an audio and blog transcript of what we talked about.
The following Q&A aren’t direct quotes but rather the main ideas behind out talk.
Q: what can you do when you run out of materials or products from inside your coffee trailer?
A: people seem to be forgiving or understand that the later in the day it is the less likely they will be able to find everything
Q: What social media can you use?
A: Yelp and Twitter. Tweet in the first part of the day of where you are at, unless its the usual spot. If you are in the usual spot make sure to call out any interesting activity going on around you.
Q: how consistent of a route do you need to have?
A: as consistent as you can be.
Q: where do you store your food truck or trailer?
A: we keep our machine on over night, and try to keep it hot at all times and ready to go.
Q: What questions do you need to ask before you start?
1) Equipment and quality are the two big limitations. Ask yourself if 110V is enough power for a smaller machine? Or do you want to have a 2 group machine in a trailer?
2) How big of a footprint will I need inside and outside? Will there be enough elbow room to move around inside the trailer? Enough counter space on the outside of the trailer?
Q: How do you deal with bad weather?
A: Enclosed structure for staff and supplies, and we do have an awning that have fit two people. We don’t drive with it up, so we have to physically put it up when we want it.
Q: How to pick a good location?
A: get out there and walk around. Find a place that has a lot of foot traffic (not car or bus traffic) and has consistent visitors at different day parts. A steady flow of people is a good sign. Also pay attention to the ages of people you see.
Q: What prep time do you need each day?
A: Keeping the machine plugged in helps the recovery time and allows us to get operational fast. Sometimes you will need to pick up food or other supplies so plan accordingly, much easier to pick up on the way to the trailer rather than making stops with a trailer.
As promised here is a link to a post I wrote about what equipment I use. Take a look at the espresso machine. It is great for catering or other events. It wont be able to keep up with an hour long line, but it will get you on your feet!