A mobile coffee business. Should you start one?
This year has not quite planned out how we expected, right? But all is not lost. If your plans to open a coffee shop were rudely haulted due to this pandemic, have you considered the simpler option of starting a mobile coffee business instead?
As we move into the last quarter of this year, it’s hard to imagine what else 2020 will throw at us, but one thing we know for sure, Brexit is coming and it’s a whole big dollop of more unknown.
With so much uncertainty, it’s hard to know what the right response is, but what I do know, you need to be fighting against the tide to ensure your hopes and dreams are not washed away.
That is not to say you should plough ahead with the same plans you had at the beginning of the year. A lot has changed, and it is absolutely prudent to take stock and adapt to our new world.
With the furlough scheme ending in October and the cuts to VAT finishing early next year, and the constant threat of a potential second wave, only then will we know the true cost of this pandemic on our hospitality industry. That doesn’t mean there are not good opportunities out there for the tenacious, the brave and the financially astute.
So, what plans did you have for 2020? With the UK’s booming and still growing coffee scene, you may have been thinking to get a slice of the pie. Whether that was starting your first coffee shop or looking down the micro-roastery route, both these options, if done well, are great businesses to have.
Although things look very different today, people’s love of coffee has shone through. When lockdown was lifted on July 4th, the most popular places to visit after seeing family and friends, were coffee shops.
So, if that dream is still alive, one area that I believe is worth a lot of consideration is a mobile coffee business. In fact, there are countless of now established cafes and coffee roasteries that started their journey this way.
Obviously, we have the unreliable British weather to contend with, but weather aside, in this Covid World, I believe businesses should be adapting to prioritise outdoor service.
You only have to look to the countryside pubs with their beautiful beer gardens doing so well this summer, to understand that we all feel safer being outside right now. So why not propose the perfect solution to these consumer buying habits and start a pop up or mobile coffee business?
There are a lot of positives to consider. The much lower overheads, both at start-up level and on-going. Fewer staff needed and greater flexibility in your location – in fact, not being tied to a physical space longer-term allows you to experiment with your audience and your offer, adapting both to maximise your turnover.
In a recent survey carried out by The Allegra Group, 34% of people contacted said they still felt unsafe visiting a coffee shop and 93% said social distancing was their preferred method of mitigating the risk of catching coronavirus.
It is no surprise. For 5 months we were told it was not safe to go out. It takes 3 months to learn a new habit, so we have had more than enough practice to learn that going out and socialising as we once did, is still not safe. That is going to take quite some time to undo, especially without the safety-net of a vaccine.
Bring the people what they want.
You will no doubt have seen the rise in community focus. People are interested in where they live again. Local councils and organisations are pushing for more pedestrianised areas to encourage consumers to come back to restaurants, pubs and cafes, but sitting outside.
I have no doubt that outdoor markets will be back better than before – with a focus on local, independent stalls. Food and drink were a huge source of stress relief and happiness during lockdown. More and more people are understanding what great coffee is and where to buy it online, but they still miss buying a beautifully crafted coffee, made by a talented and friendly barista. We are social creatures after all – we still crave conversation and community.
With mobile coffee set-ups there are a number of things that you will have to take into consideration that you wouldn’t normally have to – power and water solutions being the main ones.
Your coffee bar set-up is another – will you be serving out the back or from inside? Not forgetting the weather again, I mean its Britain. It is going to rain and it will be cold in the winter, but where’s your sense of adventure? If you have not experienced the challenge of dosing ground coffee in the wind, you haven’t lived.
There are of course still risks involved in any new venture, but why not test the water with a lower risk venture such as a mobile unit? With endless options for your vehicle and set-up, you can truly customize your business to suit your budget.
Is mobile for you?
If you focus on the coffee and the service, you will be setting up for success. Just because it is a mobile coffee shop does not mean you cut back on those crucial elements. Treat this mobile coffee business as seriously as you would a highstreet café.
If you’re just Starting Out, The Coffee Consultancy can help you. We would love to hear about your plans and how we can make them a reality.
Contact Louise today.