Food Empire Pro Podcast https://foodtruckempire.com/blog/ Wed, 16 Oct 2019 05:29:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 https://foodtruckempire.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-Food-Empire-Pro-32x32.jpg Food Empire Pro Podcast https://foodtruckempire.com/blog/ 32 32 Interview with food business entrepreneurs of all kinds: restauranteurs, food truck owners, caterers, and food innovators. New episodes published weekly. Learn how to start your own profitable food business at FoodTruckEmpire.com. Brett Lindenberg yes Brett Lindenberg brett.lindenberg@gmail.com brett.lindenberg@gmail.com (Brett Lindenberg) Copyright 2019 - Food Empire Pro Food Business Startup Podcast Food Empire Pro Podcast http://foodtruckempire.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/podcast-300px.jpg https://foodtruckempire.com/blog/ 47 Frozen Dessert Industry Statistics and Future Trend Analysis https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/dessert-industry-statistics/ Sun, 13 Oct 2019 01:35:57 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=23962 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/dessert-industry-statistics/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/dessert-industry-statistics/feed/ 0 <p>Our goal with this episode is to help you identify which frozen desserts and ice creams could become the next megatrend that you start seeing on Instagram or long lines forming outside retail shops. And I promise you’re going to learn about some up-and-coming dessert options, along with key insights and industry statistics you’ve never […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/dessert-industry-statistics/">47 Frozen Dessert Industry Statistics and Future Trend Analysis</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Our goal with this episode is to help you identify which frozen desserts and ice creams could become the next megatrend that you start seeing on Instagram or long lines forming outside retail shops.

And I promise you’re going to learn about some up-and-coming dessert options, along with key insights and industry statistics you’ve never heard of before.

We are not talking about frozen yogurt with special toppings here. We are digging into unique trends that are only beginning to make their way to the United States from East to West and from outside the country inside. Click on the link below to navigate to content direct. This episode is brought to you by our friends at the payroll management company Gusto.

Table of Contents:

Frozen Dessert Industry Statistics

Cookie dough ice cream.

The frozen dessert market is expected to hit $228.54 billion by 2024. This growth is being driven by rising incomes globally and flavor innovation. (Mordor Intelligence)

The top channels to sell frozen desserts are grocery stores (including retail locations like Target and Wal-Mart), convenience stores, and specialty stores like ice cream or froyo shops and cafes. (Mordor Intelligence)

North America is the largest market in the world for ice cream. The United States consumes 91.6% of the overall product. (Grandview Research)

Frozen yogurt continues to be the most popular segment of frozen desserts in the United States. There are an estimated 400 brands that provide different flavors and styles of frozen yogurt to eager consumers. (Grandview Research)

The global frozen dessert market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% from 2019 – 2023. (MarketWatch)

Nestle, Unilever, and Well Enterprise are the top global companies in the frozen desserts market in terms of sales. Each of these companies continues to innovate with flavor and non-dairy / low-calorie options. (MarketWatch)

The ice cream market within the United States has over 85% household penetration. This signals a very mature industry.

The frozen dessert industry is comprised of the following sub-segments: ice cream, gelato, frozen custard, novelties, sorbet, ice pops and more. (MarketWatch)

Milwaukee is the self-proclaimed “Frozen Custard Capital of the World.” It’s widely reported that Milwaukee has the highest percentage frozen custard shops per capita anywhere in the world. (Chicago Tribune)

Frozen custard has a gross margin of approximately 80%. Growing restaurant chains like Culver’s uses frozen custard vs ice cream as a major product differentiator. (Forbes)

Culver’s sells 59 different flavors of frozen custards. A different flavor is featured on their billboards each day and rotates throughout the year. Chocolate and vanilla can be purchased at all times. (Culver’s)

A cookie dough ice cream trailer.

The top five ice cream flavors in the United States is vanilla, chocolate, Cookies N’ Cream, mint chocolate chip, chocolate chip cookie dough. (IDFA)

The average citizen in the United States eats an astounding 23 pounds of ice cream per year. (IDFA)

The top selling ice cream novelty product in the United States are sandwiches, mini cups, ice pops, cones, and bars. (IDFA)

Halo Top, a company that specializes in low-calorie and high-protein ice cream completed an estimated $351 million dollars in sales in 2017 alone. This number is expected to have continued to grow in recent years. (USA Today)

Halo Top is also the best selling ice cream by the pint in U.S. grocery stores. (Food & Wine)

Private label products account for nearly 20% of all frozen dessert sales. (Mavrck)

45% of global consumers attempt to avoid frozen desserts that contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. This is part of a larger trend of consumers being more conscious about the food they eat. (GNT Group)

One in every five consumers want easy to understand ingredient and nutrition facts on clearly displayed on their packaging. (Nielsen)

Yasso is a novelty dessert brand that is now one of the top 15 growing brands in the United States and will hit $100 in revenue before the end of this year. Yasso utilizes Greek-yogurt that is also protein rich as an ingredient differentiator. (PRNewsWire)

The frozen dessert industry is embracing new forms like marketing like influencer marketing. Breyer’s was a category leader in terms of engagement using this form of marketing. (Mavrck)

Ice cream and frozen dessert manufacturing is a top job producing industry in Wisconsin. This industry adds all sorts of jobs to the economy including truck drivers and manufacturing roles. (The MPI Group)

Unilever is an ice cream behemoth and owns 8 of the 15 top selling ice cream brands, including Magnum, Ben & Jerry’s and Cornetto. The company holds about 22% of global market share. (Forbes)

Häagen-Dazs (whose parent company is now General Mills) is credited with creating the premium ice cream category back in the 1960s. (Wikipedia)

Ice cream makers have had to rethink their brands to stay relevant with millennial consumers. In recent years brands like Häagen-Dazs have focused marketing efforts around highlighting the ingredients and care for producing the product. (Business Insider)

Breyer’s sells over $500 million worth of ice cream each year. They are the number one ice cream brand in terms of global sales behind private label. (Statistica)

Ice cream is one of the most lucrative products in the food industry from a cost standpoint. Profit margins can be more than 20% higher than other snack foods like chips or candy. (IBISWorld)

According to a 2016 industry survey of 3,000 adult Americans, 28.3% of men and 26.9% of women stated their favorite brand was Ben & Jerry’s. (Statistica)

The frozen yogurt or froyo market peaked in 2013 in the United States. Consumption has declined annually in recent years. (Euromonitor)

Skinny Cow is the tenth leading novelty ice cream brand in the United States with sales of over $18 million annually. (Statistica)

The Japanese dessert Mochi ice cream is the fastest growing categories in the ice cream market as of 2018. You can find the product just about anywhere ice cream is sold including Walmart and Target. (Food Dive)

Inside a frozen yogurt shop.

The ice cream industry is becoming more fragmented with new competitors and innovators entering the market. The ice cream giant Unilever posted lower than expected growth in 2019 due in part to this competition. (WSJ)

In a recent industry survey, three out of every four consumers preferred eating premium ice cream versus low cost.

The ice cream industry created more than 188,000 jobs annually. (IDFA)

The most popular nut topping to put on ice cream is the pecan. Strawberry is the most popular fruit topping. (IDFA)

The most popular topping for ice cream in the world is chocolate syrup. (IceCream.com)

87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time. (IceCream.com)

The State of California produces the most ice cream of any state in the United States. (California Dairy)

The biggest ice cream sundae on record was assembled in 1985 in Anaheim, California. It used 4,667 gallons of ice cream and was 12 feet tall. We can only guess how long it took to melt. (California Dairy)

In 1984, President Ronald Regan designated July as National Ice Cream Month. The third Sunday of each July is national Ice Cream Day. This is a holiday both sides of the aisle can celebrate! (Wikipedia)

It takes about 3 gallons of milk to make one gallon of ice cream.

Novelty ice cream is also sold through vending machines and contributes to the $8 billion dollar per year industry. This is a declining industry. (IBISWorld)

About 9% of all milk produced in the United States is used to make ice cream. (IceCream.com)

The average cow can produce enough milk to make 2 gallons of ice cream per day. Keep those cows happy!

People over the age of 55 eat the most ice cream annually. If you’re over 55, you likely enjoy ice cream 56 times a year. (The Christian Science Monitor)

New Zealand eats the most ice cream per capita of any nation in the world. The United States come in at number two per capita for consumption.

U.S. domestic consumption of sherbet is 262 million pounds annually. (Statistica)

Key Consumer Trends and Analysis

Handmade ice cream with sprinkles.

In the podcast today, we speak with Evan Waldt from ICES (the Ice Cream Equipment Specialists) about hottest trends in the frozen dessert space. Evan has a unique ability to be able to identify trends in the frozen dessert and ice cream space that others overlook.

Not only does Evan intimately understand frozen dessert equipment, but attends the major industry events, speaks with business owners, and visits shops across the country that are innovating and pushing the industry forward.

Related Reading: Things to Consider Before Opening a Frozen Yogurt Business

Historically, food or fashion often start on the coast and gradually move to Middle America. But… more and more popular desserts are carried over from other countries, particularly Southeast Asia and Italy.

More often than not, if you pay attention to trends happening outside your market, you can replicate the product that’s performing well in your market to get that first mover advantage. So let’s dive into the latest and greatest ice cream trends.

Trend #1: Paletas and Ice Pops

Gourmet ice pops are a growing trend.

Paletas can be described as Mexican dairy ice cream on a stick. These types of desserts have been popular for decades in Latino neighborhoods, but the product is now increasing more broadly.

Gourmet Ice Pops made from certified organic ingredients is another growing trend on the East Coast of the United States and the South. This is not the KoolAid pop that you dug out of the freezer as a kid. This is often about fresh local fruit and other ingredients.

The ice pops trend is expected to grow in the coming years. Here are a two innovators mentioned in the podcast:

Trend #2: Support Local

In every mid-sized town in the United States you’ll find independent coffee shops that are supported by the community and reflect the tastes and style of the town. This is also happening in the craft brewing mega trend. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, you want to taste the unique flavors of your area.

The popularity of local is also hitting frozen dessert and ice cream shops. Consumers want unique flavors from small producers that you can’t find anywhere else. The consumer has become more sophisticated and educated in recent years and they are actively looking for this type of dessert product.

The big takeaway here is to create a brand that celebrates your local culture. If possible, find ways to integrate toppings and flavors that are distinctly recognizable by your customer.

Trend #3: Non-Dairy and Clean Label

Non-dairy and clean label alternatives are essential for any business owner in the frozen dessert category.

The frozen dessert and dairy industry is always a little bit behind larger food movements. But the demand of clean label and non-dairy ice cream and soft-serve alternatives has grown steadily in recent years.

This is a trend that’s not going away. There used to be a stigma that non-dairy couldn’t taste good. But that believe has been shattered by new chef inspired soft serve shops.

If you own a retail store, you need to offer non-dairy dessert options like oat or almond based ice cream for example. Banana based ice creams are also rising in popularity.

Here are a few businesses that are driving innovation and mentioned during the podcast:

Hakuna Banana – A banana based frozen dessert sold at WholeFoods. The product is also low-fat and Paleo friendly.

Banan Hawaii – Banana’s grown in Hawaii and turned into dairy-free soft serve.

Pregel – Ice cream mix and gelato company based out of Italy. They are creating a lot of new flavors, lactose free options, and toppings like passion fruit seeds that can be placed on a treat.

How to Stay on Top of Changing Trends

If you want to stay on the cutting edge of dessert trends here are some of the specific ways that today’s guest Evan Waldt stays in touch with the fast changing industry.

  • NICRA Convention – Annual convention of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association. This is a terrific annual event that will help you stay on top of evolving consumer tastes. Ice cream people helping ice cream people!
  • Scoop School – This is a website highly recommended by Evan to understand the industry. This is a fantastic training resource with videos, classes, and other resources. This is one of the best resources on the internet on this topic according to our guest.

The post 47 Frozen Dessert Industry Statistics and Future Trend Analysis appeared first on .

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Our goal with this episode is to help you identify which frozen desserts and ice creams could become the next megatrend that you start seeing on Instagram or long lines forming outside retail shops. And I promise you’re going to learn about some up-and... Our goal with this episode is to help you identify which frozen desserts and ice creams could become the next megatrend that you start seeing on Instagram or long lines forming outside retail shops. And I promise you’re going to learn about some up-and-coming dessert options, along with key insights and industry statistics you’ve never […] Brett Lindenberg yes 15:23
How I Started a Vegan Chocolate Bar Company with a Powerful Mission https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/rescue-chocolate/ Sun, 29 Sep 2019 03:44:00 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=23880 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/rescue-chocolate/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/rescue-chocolate/feed/ 0 <p>Today we are speaking Sarah Feoli the Founder of Rescue Chocolate, a vegan and organic chocolate bar company that donates 100% of its net profits to animal rescue. Each month, the company partners with a different rescue group to provide financial support and drive awareness for their important mission. Rescue Chocolate is also a Certified […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/rescue-chocolate/">How I Started a Vegan Chocolate Bar Company with a Powerful Mission</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Today we are speaking Sarah Feoli the Founder of Rescue Chocolate, a vegan and organic chocolate bar company that donates 100% of its net profits to animal rescue. Each month, the company partners with a different rescue group to provide financial support and drive awareness for their important mission. Rescue Chocolate is also a Certified B Corporation Honoree, meaning the business meets very high standards for positive impact.

Sarah founded the company in 2010 after an inspirational morning walk with her adopted pit bull named Mocha. After enjoying a bite of chocolate, Sarah got the idea there should be a chocolate bar company that raises awareness for pets and contributes proceeds to animal shelters. On that morning, the idea for Rescue Chocolate was born.

Sarah Feolie Founded Rescue Chocolate in 2010.

Each chocolate bar flavor highlights a specific animal rescue issue in a fun way. Some of the most popular bars are Peanut Butter Pitbull (the top seller) and The Fix, which help raise awareness for spay and neuter.

One of the issues Sarah had when she founded the company was that while visiting and donating time to animal shelter was fulfilling, it could also be a really heavy experience. Another goal of Rescue Chocolate as a more light-hearted way to bring awareness to an issue that often leaves people feeling down.

Share this episode of the podcast on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll be automatically entered to win The Four Paw Collection Gift Box from Rescue Chocolate. This giveaway is thanks to our amazing show sponsor the payroll processor Gusto.

This doesn’t solve everything, but it’s a really fun way to think about the issues and to educate people who might not think about it.

Getting Started

The Fakin’ Bacon Bar from Rescue Chocolate.

One of the biggest lessons from Sarah’s story is that you can launch a food business without a team full-time employees, investing in equipment, and renting a longterm space to convert into a food manufacturing center. Sarah is able to operate her business as a one-woman show.

This doesn’t mean that Sarah is doing all the chocolate bar making herself either. Sarah learned early on that you can partner with a factory that’s able produce bars or other products with by following a proprietary recipe and specifications. Sarah also partnered with a chef to create these unique chocolate bar flavors. The taste testing of course is an important part of the operations to keep in house!

By going this route of partnering with a factory and chef, Sarah was able to really bootstrap and save on the startup costs. The first version of the packaging design didn’t require a designer. As a result, Sarah was able to produce her first run of a few hundred chocolate bars without taking out a loan, looking for partners, and investing in potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead expenses.

Another piece of market advantage that Sarah brought to the table was experience working at a raw chocolate company. By working as an employee she was able to get an understanding of how the ins and outs of the industry works and flavor combinations that paired well together.

The lesson here is that most food businesses you could create are going to require a lot of overhead investment. But before you begin investing in infrastructure start to ask other people in the industry about alternative options to accomplishing your goal. There are often creative options that can be used to achieve the same result.

Marketing a Chocolate Bar Company

A Stack of Rescue Chocolate Bar Flavors.

One of the super powers of Sarah’s is her ability to generate press for her company. Part of the reason Sarah is able to generate this press is because she’s got a powerful story and mission for the company that goes beyond making money.

When Sarah tells the story of walking her adopted pit bull and eating the chocolate you get an immediate visual of how the idea for the company came into the world. When she share’s the fact that the net profits go toward that’s a powerful mission that everyone can connect with.

This powerful story has helped Rescue Chocolate generate major exposure in outlets like the LA Times, CBS, Time Magazine and other outlets. To pay out of pocket for this level of reach would cost tens of thousands of dollars in advertising.

From a tactical standpoint, Sarah submits press releases regularly in an effort to get picked up by press outlets. Sarah uses the free option of PR.com and 247PressRelease.com to publish these updates.

For example, every time there’s a new partnership with an animal shelter a new press release is written and syndicated through places like . By staying consistent these continue to be picked up and create ongoing promotional opportunities.

Sarah Feoli and her adopted dog Mocha.

Overtime, Sarah stays connected with people in the news industry including bloggers and writers by maintaining a list of PR contacts through MailChimp. Over the years her list of contacts has continued to grow.

The other benefit to joint venturing with different organizations each month is that it creates a cross promotional opportunity. The animal shelter will promote the partnership across social media and with local media as well. This creates a very synergistic marketing event that happens every single month.

What’s Your Story?

As a takeaway from Sarah’s journey, think about how your business could pair a larger mission with your product. This does not mean that you necessary need to donate proceeds to a certain charity. Maybe your organic granola bar has a mission is to help improve overall heart health.

If you’re struggling to find a mission / story for your own product, look toward your own personal interests and passions first. If fighting homelessness is important to you, see if there’s a way that your product could help there. If mental health is important, find ways to get involved here.

At the end of the day, people connect with stories. Understanding your businesses story and mission will not only help improve the bottom line, but you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process too.

Cold Calling to Get a Product on Store Shelves

Checking all the boxes: Fair Trade, Organic, Vegan and B Corp Certified.

Getting product into store shelves is often viewed as the holy grail of food products. Sarah has also been extremely successful getting her product into retailers like natural food stores and gift shops. Most of this business was acquired by picking up the phone and making a cold call to the retailer.

Sarah describes the cold-calling process in our podcast interview. But the gist of it to find a retailer where the product could be a good fit. Then calling the business and asking to speak with the buyer. At this point, Sarah is usually referred to an email address for the buyer. Then an email pitch is made that shares the story of Rescue Chocolate and details about the product line and cost.

This is the point where having a powerful story can really help yet again to differentiate your food product from everyone else that’s contacting the buyer. Then the product itself needs to perform from a sales perspective and be really high quality to get reorders.

There’s also a wholesale business where they can produce custom labels for weddings or birthdays. This is another source of revenue and way for people to discover the brand.

Even though Sarah is someone that really understands marketing, at the end of the day she recognizes that producing a high-quality product key to a sustainable business. We’d like to sincerely thank Sarah for taking the time to join us on the podcast and sharing the story of her food business!

The post How I Started a Vegan Chocolate Bar Company with a Powerful Mission appeared first on .

]]>
Today we are speaking Sarah Feoli the Founder of Rescue Chocolate, a vegan and organic chocolate bar company that donates 100% of its net profits to animal rescue. Each month, the company partners with a different rescue group to provide financial supp... Today we are speaking Sarah Feoli the Founder of Rescue Chocolate, a vegan and organic chocolate bar company that donates 100% of its net profits to animal rescue. Each month, the company partners with a different rescue group to provide financial support and drive awareness for their important mission. Rescue Chocolate is also a Certified […] Brett Lindenberg yes 19:09
Things to Consider Before Opening a Frozen Yogurt Business in 2020 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/frozen-yogurt-business/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 12:29:40 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=23616 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/frozen-yogurt-business/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/frozen-yogurt-business/feed/ 0 <p>Thinking about starting a frozen yogurt (AKA: froyo) business in the coming year, but aren’t sure if it’s right choice? This is the podcast episode for you. When you crunch the numbers into a spreadsheet selling frozen yogurt can be a very attractive business model. Low product cost, minimal staffing requirements, and national consumer demand […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/frozen-yogurt-business/">Things to Consider Before Opening a Frozen Yogurt Business in 2020</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Thinking about starting a frozen yogurt (AKA: froyo) business in the coming year, but aren’t sure if it’s right choice? This is the podcast episode for you.

When you crunch the numbers into a spreadsheet selling frozen yogurt can be a very attractive business model. Low product cost, minimal staffing requirements, and national consumer demand for the product has aided growth. But is this dessert market oversaturated or a fad past its prime?

Today, we outline the pros and cons of the business model, the steps you’ll need to take to differentiate the product and give you a no BS instruction to approach the opportunity thank to today’s guest Evan Waldt of Slices Concession.

Brief History of the Industry

The initial wave of popularity for soft-serve frozen yogurt began back in the 1980s with TCBY. While the dessert never disappeared it didn’t begin a return to popularity until 2006 – 2013 when there was a massive resurgence of interest in the product. Part of this was due to innovative toppings being served with the treat.

Fast forward to today and there have been a lot of closings over the past 5 years. Many of the closings were the result of markets being over saturated or absentee ownership situations that resulted in poorly managed stores. But of the shops that remain open as of 2020, many are doing well financially.

Cake batter frozen yogurt. Photo Credit: Pinterest

Key Characteristics of Profitable Yogurt Shops

Yogurt shops that stayed in business share similar characteristics according to Waldt. If you’re still in the consideration phase, think about ways you could build the four competitive advantages below into the business.

  • Location: The location of any small business is key to operating any successful small business. Look for retail spots near anchor stores such as a Target or restaurants. This will ensure steady foot traffic and discovery of the business.
  • Active Ownership / Management: For many of the businesses that closed their doors, it was because the owners of the business weren’t actively involved and slowly let the business die. If you view a yogurt shop as a fully-passive source of revenue this probably not the right choice. You need to get involved and meet customers to improve the odds of success.
  • Focus on Quality: To deliver the highest quality product possible, you’ve got to regularly maintain and inspect equipment. This attention to detail will make sure you continue to crank out the lightest and highest quality soft serve.
  • Ongoing Innovation: We’ll dive into the specifics of this later in the post, but you’ve got to be tracking trends and testing new flavors to keep things fresh.
  • Keep Marketing: Winning shops don’t stop marketing after being in business for 6 months. They keep going. Continue to look for more joint venture opportunities with schools or non-profits. Think about and test new ways to attract people to the store.

At the end of the day soft serve remains a great concept. It’s an affordable treat that families continue to enjoy. But this is not a set it and forget it business. You must be willing to put in the work and able to adapt with the market.

Inside a frozen yogurt shop.

Advantages:

  • Dairy Free, vegan, healthy and low-calorie options can be easily added to menus. This allows you to attract a variety of market segments to the business.
  • Low product cost. The cost of froyo is under $.10 per ounce on average, but you can often sell the product between $.25 – $.50 per ounce.
  • Minimal staff requirements. If you operate a self-serve shop, you only need 1 – 2 employees to operate the business at a time.
  • There are many ways to differentiate your product from and remain innovative. If you love experimenting with flavors and trends this can be a fun business from a creativity standpoint.

Challenges:

  • In many markets the competition can be cutthroat. Over the past 6 years, many independent shops have gone out of business for this reason.
  • The quality and volume of toppings you offer can cut into profitability. If you have a topping bar there can be a significant amount of waste that eats away at profit.
  • Although the core product is low other expenses like rent, labor, marketing, and machinery and insurance can reduce profitability to just 15%.
  • Maintaining equipment can be a challenge. Ice cream machines are not set it and forget it. They must be cared for to maintain the quality of product.

Frozen Yogurt Shop Startup Costs

soft serve cone
The perfect soft-serve ice cream cone.

Here are some of the typical costs associated with starting a yogurt shop. Many of these are variable costs depending on the location of your business like labor and rent. For states like California you can expect the startup cost to be more expensive than middle America. However, the opportunity in these areas can also be higher.

  • Labor Cost: $10 – $15 per hour for counter employees ($200 – $250 for 20 hours part-time). $16 – $21 for managers ($640 – $840 for 40 hours full-time).
  • Rent: $1,500 – $6,000 per month.
  • Bank Loan / Interest: $1,000 – $3,000 per month
  • Product, Mix and Toppings: $1,000 – $2,000 (Highly dependent on sales volume and waste.)
  • Cups, Spoons, napkins: $500 – $1,000 per month
  • Taxes: The effective small business tax rate is 19.8% on average. This rate will vary depending on factors like location, expenses, and business entity.
  • Utilities: $1,000 – $2,000 per month. Expect your electric bills to be significant to keep product cold.
  • Electrical Setup: $5,000 – $6,000 Unless you taking over an existing ice cream shop or froyo establishment, you’ll need to hire an electrician to ensure you’ve got sufficient power.
  • Permits / Licenses: $1,500 – $3,000 You’ll need to conduct research to see what the startup fees are in your city and state.
  • Insurance: $300 – $1000 Depends on level of coverage and location.
  • General Construction Cost: $10,000 – $50,000 – Always get different bids for the conversion. Cost will vary widely depending on your vision and size of the unit.
  • Ice Cream Machines / Equipment: $10,000 – $50,000. Depends on the number of machines, model, new or used.

All In Startup Cost: At the end of the day you can expect to invest $250,000 – $750,000 to open the doors to a frozen yogurt shop.

Is a Frozen Yogurt Business Profitable?

The profitability of the frozen dessert business remains strong… Mainly because the core product cost is low. Whether you decide to go the self-serve route and charge by weight or simply have a flat rate, you’ll can make a substantial profit.

Keep in mind that all frozen yogurt businesses will have a different profitability based on a variety of factors like location, product quality, management, and brand. With that being said here are a few examples that help demonstrate revenue potential:

  • Some chain yogurt shops report and average of $750,000 – $800,000 in annual sales volume of assuming the location has been open 2 years or more (Source). Not this is a gross sales figure that does not factor labor, taxes, and other typical business expenses.
  • Menchie’s owners make $94,795 on average per year according to Paysa.com. This is after expenses and provides closer insight to the take home pay of operators.
  • According to IBIS World the frozen yogurt is a $1 billion dollar per year industry with 2508 stores in operation. Based on this estimate the average store generate $398,724 in annual sales.

As Evan points out during the interview, although the frozen yogurt is lucrative ongoing maintenance of machines is essential to maintaining high profitability.

If machines are not cared for and properly cleaned, the mix won’t be as efficient and food cost will rise. Simple ongoing care will also reduce the number of times you need to call a repair man.

Mentioned in The Show

Gusto – The best payroll solution for small business. Sign up for Gusto today to get a free 3-month trial.

Southwest Traders Show Product Show – Show put on by the largest frozen dessert supplier in the West. This is an annual show worth attending if you’re in the industry.

Slices Concession – Big thanks to Evan Waldt for sharing his industry knowledge.

The International Frozen Yogurt Association (IFYA) – Source of information and support for individuals considering this business. Also, check out their classified section to find frozen yogurt businesses that are listed for sale.

Frozen Yogurt Shop Ideas

In order to have a successful frozen yogurt shop, you’ll want to offer a unique experience and differentiated product. Here are some specific ideas you can implement in your business that are described in greater detail by Evan Waldt in today’s podcast:

  • Ways to Innovate with Frozen Yogurt: There are all sorts of ways to get creative with frozen desserts. Some simple ways are to follow megatrends to see if there are ways you can latch onto them. For example you could start offering Paleo frozen yogurt or perhaps a non-dairy option. This is an easy way to create appeal across market segments. Another creative option could be created around holidays by season like apple cider or pumpkin spice in the fall.
  • Self-serve versus Employee Served: By having an employee handcraft the frozen yogurt and toppings, you have more control over the quantity and presentation of the product. The timeless favorite Dairy Queen uses this approach. This creates a totally different experience and leads to more Instragram worthy desserts since your employees will get good at assembling the product.
  • Broaden Your Dessert Business: You don’t just need to sell frozen yogurt. You could offer drinks like iced coffees, Boba teas, or scooped ice cream as well. This will set you apart from the self-serve yogurt shops that have sprung up across the country.
Learn more about Slices Concession

Frozen Yogurt Chains VS Independent

These are the top 5 frozen yogurt chains by market share according to Guidant Financial. Evan Waldt suggests that if you’ve seen a lot of mom-and-pop frozen dessert establishments go out of business in your area it can be a good idea to look into a more established franchise with brand recognition. Here are a few of the most popular.

  • TCBY
  • Menchie’s
  • Yogurtland
  • sweetFrog
  • Red Mango

Other popular froyo chains include the following:

  • Cherry Berry
  • Orange Leaf
  • YogurBerry
  • PinkBerry
  • Red Mango

Conduct Market Research

Consider other gourmet dessert businesses as competitors in your market, not just froyo.

Before embarking on any type of business, you’ll want to complete some due diligence. Part of this process is to conduct in-depth market research in your market. This market research data should be included in the business plan for the store.

Google Maps and Search: Go to Google and make a list of the number of dessert shops that are in your area. Don’t just compare frozen yogurt shops, but other things that compete for the dessert or snack dollar. Take into account places like Dairy Queen, boba tea places, and Baskin Robins.

Visit Competitors During Peak Times: Spend time getting to know your competition. Visit these establishments at peak times like Friday night to see how many customers are at the store. Record your findings in the business plan to review later. You’ll also want to take note about the things you like and dislike about each business for later review.

Poll Potential Customers: Ask people in your area whether or not they would visit a dessert shop like the one you plan to open. Questions like this can be asked in person or online in forums or social media groups. People love providing their opinions and you’ll get a good sense if there’s any interest locally.

Popular Frozen Yogurt Menu Flavors

Here are some of the most popular flavors of frozen yogurt on the market. While innovation is key for longterm success in this business, make sure to offer at least a few of timeless flavors as well.

  • Blueberry
  • Peanut butter
  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate
  • Birthday cake
  • Vanilla
  • Cotton Candy
  • Cheesecake
  • Pistachio
  • Butter pecan

Popular Yogurt Toppings List

Keep tabs of new topping trends by monitoring social media, food television, competitors, and by attending industry events. Traveling internationally and domestically can also be a smart strategy as trends usually start on the coasts and are gradually discovered in other markets.

  • Gummy bears
  • Cereal
  • Peanuts
  • Whip cream
  • Chocolate, strawberry and other sauces.
  • Mochi
  • Chocolate and Brownies
  • Crumbled candy bars like Heath, Snicker’s and Crunch
  • A variety of fruits like blueberry and strawberry

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Getting into This Business

When you’re determining whether or not any type of business is the right fit, it’s important to be honest with your interests and skills. Here are a handful of questions you can ask yourself as a starting point to determine whether or not this is the right choice for your situation.

  • Can I see myself running a frozen yogurt business for the next 10 years?
  • Is this the community I really want to serve and get to know (Important when determining a retail location)?
  • Does coming up with new flavors and being obsessed with this product excite me?
  • Is this something that I could lose interest in within 1 – 2 years?
  • Do I enjoy talking to customers and serving people?

The most important step you can take is to be honest with yourself when answering these questions. A frozen yogurts shop is a viable and legit business opportunity that you can make a good living as an owner. But without a passion for the operations of the business, it’s going to be tough sledding to be a success.

The post Things to Consider Before Opening a Frozen Yogurt Business in 2020 appeared first on .

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Thinking about starting a frozen yogurt (AKA: froyo) business in the coming year, but aren’t sure if it’s right choice? This is the podcast episode for you. When you crunch the numbers into a spreadsheet selling frozen yogurt can be a very attractive b... Thinking about starting a frozen yogurt (AKA: froyo) business in the coming year, but aren’t sure if it’s right choice? This is the podcast episode for you. When you crunch the numbers into a spreadsheet selling frozen yogurt can be a very attractive business model. Low product cost, minimal staffing requirements, and national consumer demand […] Brett Lindenberg yes 24:55
Pros and Cons: Should You Start an Independent Juice & Smoothie Bar in 2020? https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-smoothie-bar/ Sat, 06 Jul 2019 13:41:09 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=17901 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-smoothie-bar/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-smoothie-bar/feed/ 0 <p>Thinking about starting a self-funded juice or smoothie business in 2020 or beyond? According to industry reports this industry can expect steady growth in the natural juice space globally for the next half decade. Here are a few statistics about the encouraging trajectory of the industry in coming years: The fruit and vegetable juice market […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-smoothie-bar/">Pros and Cons: Should You Start an Independent Juice & Smoothie Bar in 2020?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Thinking about starting a self-funded juice or smoothie business in 2020 or beyond? According to industry reports this industry can expect steady growth in the natural juice space globally for the next half decade. Here are a few statistics about the encouraging trajectory of the industry in coming years:

  • The fruit and vegetable juice market is expected to hit $257 billion by 2025. This market was estimated at $158 billion in 2016. This is phenomenal global growth. (Source: Grand View Research)
  • Total revenue for juice and smoothie bars in the United States is estimated at $3 billion with an anticipated annual growth rate of 1.8%. (Source: IBIS World)
  • The cold pressed juice market in the United States is expected to reach $8.1 billion by 2024. (Source: Reuters)

In short, the growth of the juice and smoothie market is a bye product of the larger mega trend of a change in consumer tastes. Consumers globally are replacing sugary “junk food” with organic snacks and beverages that offer more nutritional value.

In spite of all this promising data, the decision of whether or not starting a cold press juice or smoothie business is the right opportunity for you depends on you! Your current situation, skill set, and interest the the business model. Based on all the research this is a growing business opportunity, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

The goal of this post is to help you figure out if this is the right business opportunity for you. In today’s interview, we dive into what it’s really like to operate a juice or smoothie bar in addition to giving you the basics on how to start the business.

Today’s guest Andrew McFarlane has operated a juice food truck, multiple juice bars over the past 15 years, and is the founder of Start A Juice Bar agency. Learn more at TheJuiceConsultant.com where Andrew helps entrepreneurs start profitable juice bars through business planning, menu development, branding and more.

Andrew McFarlane from Start a Juice Bar.

We cover the financials of operating a juice bar, cost to get started, equipment you’ll need to invest in, whether or not you should join a franchise, the pros and cons of operating a smoothie truck and most importantly… Is this business right for you? Click play on the video interview below to find out.

Table of Contents:

Business Overview: What’s a Smoothie / Juice Shop?

A smoothie or juice shop is a retail store with a menu offering a wide-range of fruit and vegetable based beverages like cold-press juice, smoothies, and . These shops attract health conscious consumers looking for nutritious beverages and snacks.

Popular examples of these juice and smoothie bars include Juice It Up!, Orange Julius, and Smoothie King.

The Inspiration for Getting Started

Andrew was introduced to juicing while working as an actor. Andrew observed one of the cast mates was in insanely good shape. Not only did was the actor extraordinarily fit, but was a lighting rod of energy to boot.

Andrew had to know what this guy was doing. So he asked. The actor informed Andrew that he was a raw vegan. Being a vegan or having another specialty diet is not uncommon today, but in the early 2000s these diets were not well known.

This conversation led Andrew down a path to understanding more about his own diet and overall health. Shortly thereafter, Andrew discovered juicing and transformed his eating habits. Andrew was hooked.

Ultimately, Andrew decided to turn his passion for this healthy diet and lifestyle into a full-time business. We dig into Andrew’s back story and tips for getting started in this interview.

Starting a Juice Food Truck Versus a Store

Learn how to start a juice bar.

When Andrew decided to take the leap and open a juice bar at a retail location, he came to the same realization so many other entrepreneurs face. It was going to cost a lot of money to start a juice business in a commercial space.

Fortunately Andrew did have some savings. But not enough to pay out of pocket to rent a space, convert the retail space into a juice / smoothie shop, purchase equipment, pay for licenses in California, and other typical upfront expenses.

After some attempts to raise money to start the company with investors fell through, Andrew got the idea to start a juice truck instead.

The advantages of starting a truck versus instead of a retail store are significant. First off, you don’t have a monthly rent payment to make which is often your first or second biggest expense. Second, you don’t have to risk it all with a location. If a certain vending location doesn’t work you, you move on to the next more profitable spot.

For these reasons, Andrew decided to start a juice / smoothie truck instead of a juice bar.

While hindsight is 20/20, Andrew would not start a truck first if he had to do it all over again. Instead, Andrew would have found a way to open a retail location.

As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to solve problems and make it happen. If that means opening a juice truck first this path can work as well. But in an ideal scenario, starting a store first and adding a truck to supplement those sales is the preferred approach.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Operating a Juice / Smoothie Truck:

One big reason entrepreneurs start out with a food truck is due to the lower upfront startup cost compared to a retail location. But as Andrew explains the overhead in greater detail within the interview. After looking at the economics, Andrew realized the juice truck business was spending $4,000 a month for rent at the commissary, fuel, parking tickets, and payments on the truck. In many parts of the United States, you could lease a retail space for that kind of overhead.

This realization led Andrew to the conclusion that a retail space is often the right choice for startups even if the one-time startup costs are higher. There are advantages and disadvantages to either approach you decide to take:

Pros:

  • Lower barrier to entry and upfront cost. Expect to pay between $50,000 – $100,000 to be all in with a juice food truck.
  • You aren’t stuck in a permanent location. You can move to more profitable locations at anytime.
  • Labor expenses can be lower on a truck, especially if you plan to operate the truck yourself. You may only need to hire 1 – 2 part-time employees to assist in the operations.
  • This can serve as a lower cost way to create a proof of concept for your business.

Cons:

  • A retail location is simpler to operate in many ways than a food truck. You don’t need to find a new location to vend each day. You don’t need to commute to different locations.
  • Space is a major limitation on a truck. When you operate a juice bar, you need a lot of space for inventory. It’s not uncommon for you to use 100 pounds of apples per day. It’s easier to store fruits and vegetables with ample refrigeration and freezer space in a commercial kitchen versus a truck.
  • Smaller menu. This is related to the space limitations of a truck.
  • File this one under mechanical issues. If your truck breaks down, you won’t be able to generate sales until it’s fixed.
  • Many cities require you to park your truck at a commercial kitchen or commissary overnight to be cleaned. The monthly cost of storing the vehicle at these locations can range from $500 – $2000 per month. This is a big chunk of the rent you would be investing in a store instead.
  • You’ll need to regularly fuel, maintain (regular oil changes, washing), and repair the food truck.

The barrier to entry is low, but the cost of operating is high.

Andrew McFarlane on the advantages / disadvantages of starting a juice truck.

Establish a First Draft Route Right Away

One of the big takeaways that Andrew has for those considering a juice truck is to establish a tentative route or list of places you plan to vend before you buy the truck. This is a mistake that Andrew admits making early on in the business.

Decide in advance specific ideas for locations to generate sales on a smoothie truck. Some locations that can be profitable include yoga studios, farmer’s markets, fitness centers, and business parks. Special events like marathons, fundraisers, or mud runs can also be lucrative.

You should enter this list of prospective locations in a spreadsheet. After you create the list, reach out to the business by phone or email to see if they are open you to vending there. This will help you understand specifically where to setup shop after you open.

As Andrew points out, you should complete this research before you get a food truck. This will help you be more prepared and reach profitability faster after opening.

Related Reading: 6 Profitable Locations to Park a Food Truck

Are Juice and Smoothie Shops Profitable?

Smoothie shops can expect to generate between $250,000 (low-end) and $800,000 (high-end) in gross revenue per location. As an example, in 2015 the top 25% Smoothie King franchisee’s generated $681,724 in gross sales per unit.

The location, quality of product, staff, brand, marketing knowledge, ownership, and many other factors will determine your actual revenue numbers.

How profitable are juice bars?

How to Estimate Juice / Smoothie Shop Profitability

One thing to keep in mind is top-line revenue numbers do not represent how profitable a location is. Expenses for all smoothie shops incur include labor, lease payments, taxes, and the cost of goods sold or COGS (apples, bananas, carrots, almond milk, kale, and other ingredients).

You can start to building projections for sales volume profit margin of your juices with this downloadable juice profit spreadsheet. Juice businesses should have between 50% – 70% gross margin on the products they serve before overhead like rent, taxes, and labor. If your estimated gross margins don’t fit into this range, consider increasing prices for find ways to cut costs.

Cold Press Pricing and Profit

Non-OrganicOrganic
Retail Price Per Unit$7.00$8.00
Packaging (Disposible cups / straw)$.50$0.50
Food Cost$1.50$2.50
Total COGS$2.00$3.00
Gross Profit$5.00$5.00
Profit Margin71.42%62.50%

Looking at the profitability per unit, you might be thinking you’ll be making killing in the juice business. Not so fast! Remember that labor, taxes, any debt payments, and rent haven’t been taken out yet. These costs represent your biggest business expenses.

Each item on your menu will have a different set of fruits, vegetables, and total cost to make. As a result, you’ll need to complete this process for each item on your menu to understand menu profitability.

Be sure to include both smoothies and juices as part of your menu. Most shops will do about 60% of sales in smoothies and 40% in juices according to our featured guest.

One other consideration that Andrew makes during the interview is on the topic of food spoilage. Fresh produce has a short shelf life. After you operate the juice business for a few months, you’ll get an understanding of how much inventory you’ll need to keep in stock. Make understanding your inventory needs a priority early in the business to avoid food waste.

Profitability Per Day

After you’ve determined the profit margin per sale, it’s time to figure out what your profitability per day in a store might be based on sales. It’s important to do some self exploration with these numbers to get an understanding of what level of daily profit would satisfy you as a business owner.

If a few hundred dollars profit per day meets your goal for the business then you will need a much smaller operation to be successful. If you require a few thousand dollars in profit to be worth it, you’ll need a higher-volume location.

Daily Sales Volume / Profit
Units SoldProfit (Not-Organic)Profit (Organic)
1$5.00$5.00
20$100.00$100.00
50$250.00$250.00
100$500.00$500.00
250$1,250.00$1,250.00
500$2,500.00$2,500.00
1000$5,000.00$5,000.00
1500$7,500.00$7,500.00
2000$10,000.00$10,000.00

Create a Juice Bar Profit and Loss Statement

A profit and loss statement often referred to as a P&L shows the revenues, costs, and expenses of a business. As an informed business owner, you’ll want to review this statement on a monthly basis. You can learn more about the details of a P&L statement for a juice bar here.

Here’s what a typical P&L statement will look like for a juice or smoothie shop:

P&L Statement for Organic Juice Bar, LLC


Total Monthly Income$20,000.00


Expenses
Perishable Goods$8,000.00
Labor $6,000.00
POS Fees$400.00
Monthly Lease / Rent $2,000.00
Insurance $300.00
Internet Access$100.00
Debt$300.00
Supplies$1,000.00
Legal Services$200.00


Net Monthly Income: $1,700.00

What’s the average day like operating a smoothie bar?

Operating a smoothie bar, whether you decide to use a food truck or juice bar is no easy task. As with any startup business, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get the business off the ground. Here’s what a typical day for Andrew was like in the early days with a juice truck:

My lack of intellegence forced me to work harder!

Andrew McFarlane describing the early days of his food startup.

Andrew’s first juice truck started in Hollywood, California. For anyone thats visited you know this is a highly congested urban area. As a result, Andrew had to wake up at 4 a.m. to begin prep work for the day and secure a vending location for a 28 foot truck.

Andrew would regularly park his truck outside a Trader Joe’s location. Around 6:30 a.m., the windows would be up and they would start taking sales for the day.

From this point Andrew describes being in a flow state most days. Andrew would be making juices to order, cleaning the truck, and working as fast as possible to meet demand until about 3 p.m. when business would slow for the day or they would run out of product.

Even though the work day was ending at this time there was still a lot of work that needed to be done to prepare for the next day. Ordering more produce and cleaning the truck for the next day all happen after hours. On average it would take a team about 2 hours to clean out the truck after a day of operation.

In the first phase a business, Andrew recommends being extremely hands on so you understand all aspects of the operations. This includes understanding how to clean machines. You can’t manage what you don’t understand!

What’s the biggest challenge associated with running a successful juice bar?

How much does it cost on average to start a juice / smoothie bar?

You can expect to pay between $150,000 – $250,000 on average to start a juice / smoothie bar. On one occasion, Andrew has consulted for a business owner that invested $400,000 starting a single location. For comparison purposes you can start a juice truck for between $50,000 – $100,000.

There are numerous factors that go into determining the total startup cost of a smoothie bar. Some of the biggest factors include location, square foot or size of the location, the type of equipment you plan to install, how much renovation needs to be complete to transform the space into a juice manufacturing facility, furniture, branding investment and license fees.

As Andrew points out during the interview, no one wants to pay more than they need to during the startup process. But you don’t want to cut corners to save money on key areas of the business either. The branding and experience of the business can be the thing that allows you to charge more, attract the right customer base, and differentiate the business.

Don’t cut corners on the things that make a business special! The most important thing is getting started in the right way, not the cheapest way.

What type equipment will you need to start a juice bar?

Create a juice equipment checklist.

The simplest way to ensure you have all the equipment you need in a juice bar is to reserve engineer the menu. Look at each menu item then build the equipment list needed to make each menu item.

Here’s a sample list of equipment commonly found in juice bars:

  • Automated Citrus Press – Juicer. This will save you on labor cost.
  • Manual Citrus Press – Juicer (If you want to do it yourself.) More affordable to purchase, but will increase labor cost.
  • Refrigerator
  • Ice Machine
  • Knives, knife wracks, cutting boards.
  • Blenders – Vitamix or BlendTech. Andrew says Vitamix is slightly more heavy duty.
  • 3 Compartment Sinks
  • Portion scales.
  • Shelves for storage.
  • POS system
  • Food processor if you plan to serve food.

Go one step further with your equipment list by figuring out how much inventory you plan to hold in your shop. This will determine the size of refrigerators you plan to purchase.

Juice Franchise VS Independent

Should you start a juice franchise or start an independent concept? There’s no right or wrong answer on this one. This will depend on your goals and preference.

Key advantages of operating a franchise smoothie business is that you get to leverage an existing brand, systems, processes and supply chain. Ideally, you’ll already have a built-in customer base that knows how you are and what the menu is.

Generally speaking, however, Andrew does not recommend enrolling in a franchise juice opportunity. One big reason is because you’re creating extra overhead to your business in the form of franchise fees, royalties and sometimes being stuck buying supplies from a specific supplier that is high cost.

By creating a juice brand, you retain the upside of being able to create your own franchise opportunity in the coming 5 – 10 years. You’ll have less overhead and have the flexibility to change suppliers, menus, or brand positioning if needed. Andrew’s consulting company helps new juice / smoothie entrepreneurs establish a new business with the benefits of enrolling in a franchise without the ongoing costs and other downside of this approach.

Next Steps

The organic juice / smoothie segment is an appealing market that will experience steady growth in the United States for the next 5 – 10 years. If you’re passionate about producing a healthy product, offer exceptional customer service, and understand basic business principles this might be the right business opportunity for you.

After reading this post and listening to the interview the immediate next steps should be to create a first draft menu and business plan for your juice shop. This will get your ideas onto paper to begin creating a formal plan for the business.

The post Pros and Cons: Should You Start an Independent Juice & Smoothie Bar in 2020? appeared first on .

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Thinking about starting a self-funded juice or smoothie business in 2020 or beyond? According to industry reports this industry can expect steady growth in the natural juice space globally for the next half decade. Thinking about starting a self-funded juice or smoothie business in 2020 or beyond? According to industry reports this industry can expect steady growth in the natural juice space globally for the next half decade. Here are a few statistics about the encouraging trajectory of the industry in coming years: The fruit and vegetable juice market […] Brett Lindenberg yes 51:28
Writing a Cookbook While Running a Restaurant with Eric Silverstein of The Peached Tortilla https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/peached-tortilla-book/ Mon, 06 May 2019 14:55:02 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=19340 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/peached-tortilla-book/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/peached-tortilla-book/feed/ 0 <p>Eric Silverstein, founder of Austin’s The Peached Tortilla is releasing a cookbook / memoir titled The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food From Tokyo to Texas. The cookbook will be available in May, 2019 through Barnes & Noble and of course Amazon.com and features a staggering 100 recipes. For the reader’s unfamiliar with The Peached […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/peached-tortilla-book/">Writing a Cookbook While Running a Restaurant with Eric Silverstein of The Peached Tortilla</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Eric Silverstein, founder of Austin’s The Peached Tortilla is releasing a cookbook / memoir titled The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food From Tokyo to Texas. The cookbook will be available in May, 2019 through Barnes & Noble and of course Amazon.com and features a staggering 100 recipes.

The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food from Tokyo to Texas

For the reader’s unfamiliar with The Peached Tortilla and founder Eric Silverstein here’s a quick recap. Eric left a promising career as a lawyer to start The Peached Tortilla in 2010 with a rented food truck. Fast forward nearly a decade and the brand has grown from a single mobile food unit to one of the most recognized food brands in Austin.

While developing recipes, taking food photos, and writing content for a book like is an enormous undertaking by itself, even more impressive is that Eric wrote the book while continuing to manage his multi-restaurant and food truck business. An impressive feat in time management!

Although Eric’s progression seems swift from afar, he’s the first to tell you The Peached Tortilla is not an overnight success story. Success was anything but guaranteed at numerous stages of the business.

There’s a little something for everyone in today’s episode of Food Empire Pro. Eric digs into the process he took to create the new cookbook, how to manage a growing family while running a business. Click play for the full interview.

Win a Copy of The Peached Tortilla’s New Book

To celebrate the new book we will be giving away 20 copies of the book to our readers and listeners. All you need to do is share this post on Facebook for a chance to enter.

We’ll even give you a bonus entry if you share your favorite food to eat at The Peached Tortilla (if you happen to be in the Austin area) or just tell us why you’re personally excited to read the cookbook. We’ll be selecting winners with the best and most creative responses!

The post Writing a Cookbook While Running a Restaurant with Eric Silverstein of The Peached Tortilla appeared first on .

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Eric Silverstein, founder of Austin’s The Peached Tortilla is releasing a cookbook / memoir titled The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food From Tokyo to Texas. The cookbook will be available in May, Eric Silverstein, founder of Austin’s The Peached Tortilla is releasing a cookbook / memoir titled The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food From Tokyo to Texas. The cookbook will be available in May, 2019 through Barnes & Noble and of course Amazon.com and features a staggering 100 recipes. For the reader’s unfamiliar with The Peached […] Brett Lindenberg yes 30:56
Coffee Shop Location Analysis: How We Found Our First Location https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/location-analysis/ Wed, 27 Mar 2019 21:06:31 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=18306 https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/location-analysis/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/location-analysis/feed/ 0 <p>Finding the right location for your first coffee shop business is usually a make or break decision. Choose the right location and you could end up with a thriving business that can be passed down to your children. Choose wrong and you could lose everything financially. No pressure! This is the situation the Reynolds family […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/location-analysis/">Coffee Shop Location Analysis: How We Found Our First Location</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Finding the right location for your first coffee shop business is usually a make or break decision. Choose the right location and you could end up with a thriving business that can be passed down to your children. Choose wrong and you could lose everything financially. No pressure!

This is the situation the Reynolds family found themselves in when they started looking for their first location. The family had no experience managing or growing any type of business, much less a coffee business. They needed to make the right choice on location because they might not get a second chance.

In order to raise the capital needed for their first location, the family took a loan against their house to fund the first location. It was a massive risk, but decision paid off. Anthem Coffee & Tea eventually grew to six locations serving the Tacoma area with more scheduled to open this year.

Click here to learn the full story of how the Reynold’s family started their coffee business if you missed part one of the series.

Click play on the video below to learn the different options that are available to you to finding the critical first location for your coffee business.

Before starting the search for your first location, Bryan Reynolds recommends investing time into getting your brand vision, goals, and business plan established.

You can find more training videos and coffee shop startup worksheets when you join the private coffee shop startup community for free here.

Table of Contents – Jump to Section

How to Start the Search For a Great Location

When it’s time to start looking for a location, you’ll need to reach out to commercial real estate agent that’s local to your area. A commercial real estate agent will be able to show you the location options that are available in your desired areas of town. 

Any good commercial real estate agent will have a deep understanding of the different commercial locations, the local demographics, and costs of different venues around the city. Find someone that is willing to show you around some of the different locations and explain the advantages / disadvantages of each property.

It’s important to find an agent that will actually listen to the dreams and hopes you have for your coffee shop so that they will find and show you locations that are in your companies best interest.

You can start this search by tapping into your local network, especially someone that owns a successful local business since they will likely have connections with these people. If you don’t know anyone that owns a local business you can start by heading to Google and searching for commercial real estate agents in your area. If there’s a location you already have in mind, you can typically find the contact information of the property management company on a sign outside a strip mall or shopping center. This is another excellent way to inquire about pricing and availability.

find a coffee shop location
How to Find a Profitable Coffee Shop Location.

Class A, Class B, and Class C Commercial Real Estate Options

When it comes to commercial real estate the properties are graded on a rating system from A (in theory these are the best and most high-traffic locations) to C (the less attractive spaces due to location, resident demographics and traffic). You can learn more about the details of these Class A, Class B, and Class C ratings in this post.

When you start looking for your own location, keep in mind that just because something is in an A location doesn’t mean it is going to be the right location for your coffee shop. In fact, it could be a terrible location. Likewise, a location that’s rated as Class C might actually be the ideal location for you to start your business. Bryan’s story does an excellent job explaining why you shouldn’t blindly follow the advise of a commercial real estate professional for your small business.

Serious About Starting a Coffee Shop? Join Our Private Coffee Shop Community Here for Free.

When Bryan’s family got started in the coffee business they visited three different locations to determine if it was the right fit. Two of the locations visited where graded as Class A. One of the three locations was considered Class C.

The first Class A location visited by the Reynold’s family was a Class A property inside of a chain grocery store. This was a very popular grocery store with a lot of foot traffic in a popular shopping area. While it’s certainly justifiable that the location should be considered “Class A” it didn’t fit the vibe that Bryan and his family had envisioned. After all… Who wants to meet up at a grocery store to have a cup of coffee?

While there are plenty of coffee chains that do well inside of grocery stores, it’s not the environment that the family wanted for their own business.

The Reynolds family visited another Class A location for the second visit of the tour. This property was next to a Best Buy on a very busy four lane road. There were also a handful of small restaurants and shops in that area. As Bryan points out in the video interview, the location looked great on paper. The population density was there, the income profile of the people that lived there was terrific, and the drive-by traffic looked great. But the location didn’t feel right to the family.

Finally, the family visited the Class C location property. The Class C location was located underneath a community of apartments / condos. The property was also located across the street from a park and a subway station. Within two blocks of the location was a bank, a fire department, a police department, and a high school. Despite these elements of a thriving coffee shop location, the property was considered to be Class C.

As you see during the video interview, the class C location didn’t have much activity at the time. The area of town was considered to be a slightly run-down area known for antique stores. But Bryan and his family were able to look beyond numbers on a spreadsheet and see the vision of what could be with the location. Increased development was beginning to come into the area and the venue had the right feel based on their vision.

The interior of Anthem Coffee & Tea’s first location in Puyallup, Washington.

What was rated a C location became an A+++ location in hindsight. – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder / CEO of Anthem Coffee & Tea on selection their first coffee shop location.


Even thought the commercial real estate advisors didn’t recommend the Puyallup location, the Reynolds family decided to move forward and open their coffee shop there anyway. Ultimately, this location became the most profitable store for the 27-store coffee shop franchise at the time. Fast forward to the time of this interview, the location now does $1 million+ in gross revenue annually. Not bad for what was considered to be a Class C location in an undesirable area!

If you’re wondering what happened to the Class A location next to the Best Buy, it ultimately became a Starbucks franchise and closed down after four years of business. After Starbucks left, it became an ice cream parlor replaced it and also closed down shortly thereafter.

Am I willing to go all in, love and serve the people of this community, and is this where I want to put roots down? – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder / CEO of Anthem Coffee & Tea on the question you should ask yourself when analyzing a location.

The story of the Reynold’s families experience finding their first coffee shop location should not disregard data from property managers or other expert in the field. The demographic data, average income of residents in the area, and proximity to other thriving businesses should be considered in the overall location analysis. Our point in sharing this story is that you shouldn’t look at these numbers in a vacuum.

At the end of the day, when you open an independent coffee shop it’s your money that’s on the line. If something doesn’t feel right about a location then keep looking.

Outside of the Puyallup Anthem Coffee & Tea location.

What Are the Size Requirements for a Coffee Shop?

When designing a floor plan for a coffee house, Bryan does not recommend leasing a location under 1,200 square feet. When you operate a location that falls under this threshold it can be uncomfortable for more than 30 customers inside a cafe. The smallest location of the six locations that Anthem Coffee & Tea operates has a floor plan of 1,300 square feet and comfortably seats 60 guests.

A previous guest on the show recommended investing in a coffee shop that has no less than 60 covers (or guests) at one time. The reason for this number is that while a smaller cafe can be profitable, if you want to be able to make enough revenue to a pay full-time manager salary you will need a larger location to generate enough sales to cover employee salaries.

If you don’t intend to be an active operator in the coffee business forever then size is a consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you plan to operate the business yourself, then you may not need as large of a space since labor costs will be lower. But you also won’t be able to expand or grow the business if that’s something you want to do by going too small. For this reason, Bryan stresses the importance of understanding your goals before opening the doors to your business.

On the flip side, the largest coffee house operated by Anthem Coffee & Tea is a massive 2,800 square foot location. Due to the size, they offer amenities you might not expect at a regular coffee shop such as a conference room that fits 20 people. This conference room is regularly used for classes or meetings.

There’s also plenty of room in the lobby to become a destination for events, benefits, or small concerts. With more space, you can offer unique gathering places that draw different groups into the establishment.

Outside of the Anthem Coffee & Tea location in Old Town Tacoma.

There’s an Exception to Every Rule

Bryan points out that the 1,200 square foot minimum size for a coffee shop is a good general guideline, but smaller venues can work too depending on your city and personal goals. One example is Laughing Man Coffee Company based in New York. They operate some of their locations in a spaces that aren’t much larger than 400 square feet and are extremely successful.

Another popular example is the drive-thru coffee shop that has done well for numerous brands including Better Buzz Coffee based in San Diego. Everywhere in Southern California is known for lots of traffic and spending a lot of time in the car to get to work. As a result, the drive-thru model been extremely successful in this area.

It can’t be understated that drive-thru is extremely important for profitability with some coffee businesses. According to Bryan, adding a drive-thru can yield 40% – 60% in extra revenue for some businesses. That’s a staggering number that can be the difference between a runaway success or business failure.

Dutch Bros is another terrific example of a brand that is killing it thanks to their drive-thru coffee options. It’s been widely reported that in 2017 alone, the Dutch Bros did $235.7 million in revenue. That’s a lot of coffee and demonstrates the high ceiling for this model!

Should You Look for a Location with a Drive-Thru?

For the next location, Anthem Coffee & Tea plans to test a drive-thru window. There’s no specific reason that Anthem Coffee & Tea has avoided this in the past… It’s simply that their previous locations haven’t made sense or had the option of a drive-thru counter.

Depending on where you live and your location this can be a major revenue source for your business. According a to QSR Magazine report, about 70% of revenue goes through quick-serve restaurant drive-thru windows. If you live in a place where people commute regularly this is something that you should seriously consider. You should also ask your commercial real estate agent to view locations that allow a drive-thru option.

Anthem Coffee & Tea Menu.

Find a Space Where You Can Offer a Variety of Seating Options

There are all sorts of reasons people come to your coffee shop. Some are looking for a place they come for a good cup of coffee, strong Wi-Fi connection, and get work done on the laptop. Others are looking for a comfortable place to relax, catch up with friends, and have a conversation. Make sure you create an environment that provides seating options for the the different types of people that will enter your shop.

Here are some of the different seating options available at Anthem Coffee & Tea locations. Consider these differing seating options when developing the layout of your venue:

Bar Seating: For customers that come alone or couples that want to belly up to the coffee bar. A good location for customers that want to engage in casual banter with baristas.

Seating at the Windows: Similar to bar seats, some customers will like to sit next to a window and flip open their laptops to work. When possible try to provide plenty of electrical outlets for people to power up cell phones and computers.

Two Tops / Four Tops Throughout Cafe:  Different sized tables help encourage groups of all sizes to meet at your location. Four top tables can be pushed together for larger groups.

Couches / Comfortable Seats: The goal of Anthem Coffee & Tea is to be the “living room” of the communities they serve. Depending on the location and size more cushy seats and couches are available.

Conference Rooms:  You can attract different groups and organizations by offering a conference room. If desired, you can also charge a small fee for groups to reserve. This is another great way to attract more people to your business.

Small Stage: While not technically seating, it can be helpful to have a small stage if you want to have small concerts or live events at your venue. When no acts are on stage, you can add additional seating so the space is never going to waste.

Cafe Takeover: Should You Buy an Existing Coffee Shop?

Another option to consider when looking for your own location is taking over an existing coffee shop business. In fact, three out of the last four coffee shops started by Anthem Coffee & Tea were acquired by buying the business of an existing shop.

There are a lot of advantages to buying an existing coffee shop from a business perspective. First is that it takes a lot of time and money to get a commercial space converted into a fully-functioning coffee shop. There are all sorts of costs to outfit a coffee shop: plumbing hook up, electrical setup, cabinets, and permits are just the tip of the iceberg.

When you buy an existing coffee shop, the foundational requirements are already taken care of. You’ll almost certainly need to make some updates or changes to the existing coffee shop when you take it over, but you’ll probably be able to use many of the business assets too.

In addition to the building foundation, you’ll be buying a business with an existing customer base. Even if the customer base is small at the time of purchase, you won’t be staring from zero as you would be when opening up a brand new location.

If you ever have the opportunity to step into an existing coffee shop, insert your brand that you’re passionate about, really get out there and infiltrate the community that would be the way to do it. – Bryan Reynolds on the advantages of buying an existing coffee shop.


Anthem Coffee & Tea Brand Logo.

Key Factors to Analyze When Finding the Best Coffee Shop Location

Ready to take action and find your first coffee shop location? Before signing a long-term lease agreement, ask yourself these questions about a prospective coffee shop location to audit its potential:

  • Are there other complimentary businesses in the location?
  • Are there schools, churches, community centers or places of work nearby the venue?
  • Is there public transportation nearby? Buses, train stations?
  • Is this an up-and-coming area or is it in decline? If new construction or other investment is planned for the future that’s a positive.
  • How much monthly revenue will you need to make to be able to break-even at a specific location due to the lease payments?
  • How many square feet does the location have? Is it large enough to meet your needs?
  • Is there the option to add drive-thru window sales at this location?

Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Location:

  • Can you see yourself serving this community?
  • Is this somewhere you want to put down roots and work everyday?

We hope this in-depth piece will help you make the right decision about your first coffee shop location. If you want to learn more about starting a coffee business, join our free startup community here.

The post Coffee Shop Location Analysis: How We Found Our First Location appeared first on .

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Finding the right location for your first coffee shop business is usually a make or break decision. Choose the right location and you could end up with a thriving business that can be passed down to your children. Finding the right location for your first coffee shop business is usually a make or break decision. Choose the right location and you could end up with a thriving business that can be passed down to your children. Choose wrong and you could lose everything financially. No pressure! This is the situation the Reynolds family […] Brett Lindenberg yes 38:48
How to Start an Independent Coffee Shop On Your Terms Like Anthem Coffee & Tea https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/start/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 20:31:48 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=17162 https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/start/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/start/feed/ 0 <p>Do you dream of opening a cute corner coffee shop? Wonder what it’s really like to own a cafe? Trying to figure out if if this is business you want to seriously pursue? Then you’re in the right place. Today’s guest is Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder and CEO of Anthem Coffee & Tea, a six-location coffee […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/coffee/start/">How to Start an Independent Coffee Shop On Your Terms Like Anthem Coffee & Tea</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Do you dream of opening a cute corner coffee shop? Wonder what it’s really like to own a cafe? Trying to figure out if if this is business you want to seriously pursue? Then you’re in the right place.

Today’s guest is Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder and CEO of Anthem Coffee & Tea, a six-location coffee business serving the greater Tacoma area in Washington. In the show, Reynolds outlines the actions you need to focus on in order to start a successful, independent coffee shop brand from the ground up.

It’s important to point out that Bryan is not a success guru or a consultant. Bryan’s worked in the trenches of their coffee business for over a decade and continues to operate and grow the business today. Bryan’s not here to “sell you” on starting a coffee shop, but instead to help give you a realistic idea of what it will really be like to own a coffee business and the areas where you need to focus for it to be successful.

Sign up for our Free Coffee Shop Startup Kit Here for More In-depth Training with Bryan Reynolds and Unlimited Access to Our Coffee Shop Startup Cost Calculator.

The topics discussed in this exclusive interview is wide ranging: business plan development, how to deal with competition, how to market a local coffee shop, menu development, what it’s like competing with Starbucks and more. This is an in-depth interview so get a cup of coffee brewing to ensure you are fully caffeinated and click play on the video to get started.

Table of Contents

  1. About Anthem Coffee & Tea
  2. Where to Start with Coffee Shop Business Planning
  3. How to Find Your Why.
  4. Mission Statement & Guiding Principles
  5. Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan
  6. What Type of Person Should Start a Coffee Shop?
  7. Should You Buy an Existing Coffee Shop?
  8. How to Pick a Name For Your Coffee Shop.
  9. How to Write a Meaningful Mission Statement
  10. Franchise VS Independent Coffee Shops
  11. Coffee Shop Training Programs
  12. What’s an Average Day Look Like?
  13. The Transition from Doing Everything Yourself to Managing a Team
  14. Creating a Coffee Shop Marketing Plan
  15. How to Compete with Starbucks
  16. How to Develop Your Coffee Shops Menu
  17. Cost to Open a Coffee Shop
  18. Coffee Shop Equipment Checklist
  19. How to Source Coffee Beans.
  20. What are the Next Steps?

About Anthem Coffee & Tea

It’s been seven years since Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder, and his family opened the doors to the first Anthem Coffee location. At the time of the interview, the Reynolds family operates six stores under the Anthem Coffee & Tea brand. Four of these locations are in the greater Tacoma area with all of them in Washington state.

Five years before unveiling the Anthem Coffee & Tea brand, the family owned and operated a franchise coffee business where they learned the day-to-day operations and how to to run a successful coffee shop. But prior to the opening the coffee franchise, the family had no business ownership experience.

Like all first-time entrepreneurs, the family had plenty of energy and passion to pour into the project, but lacked in areas of business experience or money to get started.

To fund the business, Bryan’s parents took a loan against their house to cover the costs. Starting a coffee business is not cheap and required about $360,000 in investment before the doors could be opened. As Bryan half-jokingly shares in the video interview, the family might be figuring out life in a tent somewhere had the business had not worked out.

While Reynold’s doesn’t recommend taking out a mortgage against your personal residence to start a business, he acknowledges this was a unifying moment for the family. Everyone’s back was against the wall and failure was not an option.

Coffee is just the tool that we use to grow the people business. – Bryan Reynolds CEO / Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee & Tea on running a successful coffee shop.


Where to Start with Coffee Shop Business Planning

Learn How to Start a Coffee Shop.

Bryan recommends coming up with a game plan instead of a traditional business plan for a coffee shop. But no matter the exact format you select, you need to take the time to get clarity on a plan and goals for the business. If you don’t take the time to do this now, you could end up owning a business you either hate or doesn’t fulfill you.

If there’s one big takeaway you should from this entire piece in terms of step-by-step planning… This is it:

  • Start with the Why.
  • Establish Guiding Principles and Mission Statement

Once you have these critical pieces figured out, they’ll guide every thing else in your business. Don’t select the name of your coffee brand or look for a location to lease until you’ve figured out your why and guiding principles.

If you’re not sure about how to approach finding your why and establishing your guiding principles (or why this is even important), not to worry. The next sections will help you figure this piece out.

How To Find Your Why… If You Don’t Know Already.

First off we should address, why you need to start with “why” in mind. We humans are complicated creatures. Believe it or not, simply making money isn’t a good longterm motivator for most business owners. Sooner or later you’ll run out of energy without a stronger purpose.

Understanding the reason behind why you’re doing something can help you push forward despite the inevitable difficulties ahead. Most of us need to know the work we’re doing it important than simply making coffee. We need a sense of purpose and mission behind what it is we do.

An Event at Anthem Coffee & Tea.

All that being said not everyone enters the world knowing exactly what they want in life. In fact, most people never take the time to figure out their purpose, which is really too bad.

If you haven’t thought much about the reasons why you’re starting a business yet don’t feel bad. Take advantage of this opportunity to reflect on yourself and figure out what the why behind your business motivation. You’ll learn a lot more about yourself and future business in the process.

There are all sorts of techniques you can use to find your true purpose. Here are some exploratory questions that can help you discover and define your purpose:

  • What do you want to conquer?
  • Who do you want to help?
  • What do you want to be known for at the end of your life?

Where your passions and skills align is usually a great place to begin identifying your true purpose.

Another self-discovery tool recommended by Reynolds is a website called 16Personalities.com. This is a free online personality test that can be used to attain more self-awareness.

Discovering Your Mission Statement and Guiding Principles

After identifying your “why” the next phase is to establish the guiding principles of the company:

“Guiding Principles” are a broad philosophy that encompass your personal beliefs and values and guide an organization throughout its life in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in its goals, strategies or type of work. – Guiding Principles and Why Your Business Should Have Them.

When used correctly, guiding principles direct the future of your business. To make these valuable, they need to be reviewed regularly and considered before making major business decisions.

You should regularly ask yourself if the decisions you make in the business align with your principles and goals. If they are used in this way they can act as a North Star for business decisions big and small.

Strategies for Determining Guiding Principles

Like discovering your why, establishing guiding principles requires self reflection. Deciding on core principles doesn’t need to fall solely on your shoulders, however. In fact, it’s better if you welcome key players in your business into the process.

If you have a business partner, manager, or family member that will help operate the cafe then get their input too. By involving others in this process it will help everyone buy into the guiding principles and make them better.

If you’re looking for a fantastic example of guiding principles check out the Our Values section published on the Our Story page of the Anthem Coffee & Tea website.

Below is a list of questions you can ask to get clarity on the guiding principles of your business:

  • List ten words that come to mind when you think about your business or organization.
  • What are five nice things that people have said about you or your organization?
  • What does winning look like to you at a day to day basis?
  • What’s your unique value proposition do you have to offer to the people you will employ?
  • What are the values that will guide you?
  • What’s your preferred future look like? What does it look like 3 years, 5 years, 10 years from now?
  • What are the behaviors and mindsets that have led to your success so far?
  • What drives you?
  • What’s the one thing that if you do this everyday, it would really represent what you want to do?
  • What do you want your company to be known for?
  • What are the ten biggest pain points you’re facing right now?
  • How much income do you want to make?

As you continue this discovery process, be honest about your desired goals and income. After determining this criteria, figure out what winning looks like and you can begin to work backwards on how to build a plan to make it happen.

Success for you might be running a specialty coffee trailer side-by-side with your spouse. If this is the goal then the plan you put in place is going to look a lot different than someone who wants to own a 25 chain location in 5 – 10 years. You must take the time to know thyself and build a plan around your desired end goal!

Write a Coffee Shop Business Plan

Finally, it’s time to get pen to paper or text entered into an empty word document on your computer to start documenting the business plan. In addition to your own preparation for the business a formal business plan will be a requirement if you plan to get a bank loan or angel investment.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of free resources available to help you draft a professional business plan on your own. SBA.gov has an online program that will take you through all the steps. You can view an example of a drive-thru coffee shop business plan right here.

Be aware of your weaknesses, but go all in on your strengths. – Bryan Reynolds, CEO / Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee & Tea.

What Type of Person Should Start a Coffee Shop?

Is starting a coffee shop right for you? According to Reynolds, anyone with a sincere passion for hospitality is perfect for starting and operating a coffee shop. If you enjoy serving others this is the good business for your personality type.

In addition to being hospitable, you’ll need to be a people person. Whether communicating with employees, customers in your store or planning for a special off-site event, expect to interact with people all day, every day. If this isn’t something you enjoy this might not be the right business opportunity.

Finally, no matter where you look there’s a spot to get coffee these days. Creating an environment that stands out and keeps customers coming back is part science and part art. The only way to fight back is to lock in on your brand and what the vision is for your coffee shop during the planning process. This is the way to ensure you have a clear vision for the business.

If you don’t have a clear vision on what your coffee brand will be right now, don’t worry. This is a process that may take weeks or months to figure out. Just make sure you put in the time to complete this planning. Many failed independent coffee shops, unfortunately never took the time to figure this stuff out and failed as a result. Don’t let that happen to you! You deserve better!

Should You Buy an Existing Coffee Shop?

One way to get into the coffee shop game is to buy into an existing business. This could be a franchise or independent coffee shop that’s for sale in your area. The benefit to going this route is that you can get into a location that’s already successful and has an established customer base.

You might be surprised to learn how frequently small businesses like this go up for sale in your areas. The owners may be retiring or tired of the running the business. Sometimes personal reasons like illness or a cross country move is the catalyst for a sale. Other times, the coffee business is failing and the owner wants out.

But if your plan is to buy shop as a passive investment, hire a manager, and take the monthly cash flow Reynolds says he hasn’t seen that work often. In the early days, you’ll need to be there to set forth the vision of the business, establish processes, and improve the operations.

If the coffee shop was hugely profitable and didn’t require any work, it’s unlikely the current owners would want to part ways.

Absentee ownership rarely works in any type of business. If you’re considering the purchase of a coffee shop as a passive investment look elsewhere.

How to Pick a Name for Your Coffee Shop.

Don’t take the name of coffee shop lightly. The name of the business directs the overall vibe for the shop you plan to own.

Picking a name like Susan Johnson’s Coffee Shop could make the business more difficult to sell or expand in the future. Of course Tim Horton seems to have done pretty well using his name so there are always exceptions.

If you pick something unclear, like the Liquid House, people might not know what you’re selling or specializing in.

The Anthem Coffee & Tea Logo. What’s Your Anthem?

So how did the Reynold’s family come up with the name Anthem Coffee and Tea for their business? First, they wanted to select a name that was both solid and stood out. Anthem Coffee satisfied that criteria.

The tagline for Anthem Coffee is Live Loud. If you think about it, the name is a stark contrast to most coffee shops where the vibe is closer to that of library.

Instead of being quiet, Anthem Coffee encourages you to get out there into the world, be loud, and find your own anthem… Whatever that might be. That’s not what most people expect from a coffee shop.

How to Write a Meaningful Mission Statement For Your Coffee Shop

The goal of a mission statement is to define the “why” of a business startup. A strong mission statement can guide the entire strategy and operations of a business. On the flip side, a generic mission statement is totally useless and forgotten.

We get it. Drafting the mission statement of a coffee shop business plan can be tempting to push to the side when you’ve got a hundred other things to check off your to-do list.

However, skipping this step is a missed opportunity to set the right direction of your organization from the beginning. The vision for your company can be so much more than pouring cups of coffee if you’re able to think bigger.

As an example, check out the mission statement and longterm vision of Anthem Coffee. Here’s how the mission statement defines Heroic Hospitality:

We create unique experiences that change lives and bring people back.  We do this by loving and serving people, by preparing top notch, handcrafted food and beverages, and by creating an environment where real relationships are fostered.

Learn the Story of Anthem Coffee & Tea.

After drafting a mission statement, it’s time to set out the long term vision of your coffee shop. One way to figure out the goals of your small business is to ask yourself this question:

What’s the ultimate dream for the coffee shop? What does it look like when you’re imagining operating the operations of this business?

Achieving your vision isn’t an event achieved day one of the business. It’s something earned over time. It’s a goal to set your sights on for the future.

Similar to the mission statement, a company vision can be overlooked since it may not seem applicable to the nuts and bolts daily operations of a coffee shop. But when approached with a degree of thoughtfulness, the vision statement can become practical on how you operate your business. Again, let’s break down one component of the Anthem Coffee vision:

We know and are known by our community.

This statement is simple, but powerful. Being known and knowing your community means you must become an active participant in the city you serve. How you become active participant in the community is up to you and will look different to everyone.

Can you imagine how your actions might be different as a business owner if one of your guiding principles is to be known in the community… not just be profitable?

There are all sorts of ways a coffee shop can become a known and active member of a community. For you this could mean helping an area non-profit through participation in a food drive, getting involved in local small business association, providing a fundraising opportunity for the local high school.

You could create a semi-private meeting space in your coffee shop to offer to meetup groups. Maybe you have a passion for helping independent musicians get their music into the world. Creating a dedicated space inside your establishment to play music could be an excellent way to accomplish this goal.

No matter the brand vision that’s inside your head, you can see how approaching business with a clear mission statement and vision can direct the actions of a business for the better.

Franchise VS Independent Coffee Shops

The Reynold’s family started their first coffee shop by joining an existing franchise opportunity. There are some distinct advantages to buying into a franchise that can make opening a business easier.

Ideally there’s some level awareness for the franchise brand locally. People can drive past your location and immediately know what you sell and the quality of products you serve. This element alone is a huge advantage over entrepreneurs starting at zero.

Depending on the specific franchise, members of the community might even be excited to have your franchise restaurant or coffee bar opening in their town. You see this a lot when a Dunkin’ franchise opens in some parts of the country.

The second distinct advantage to becoming a franchisee is that it’s easier to make the transition from employee to business owner. You can literally follow the operation instructions of the business and in theory the business should work. You don’t need to come up with a brand, figure out what equipment to buy, source coffee beans, or develop standard-operating procedures for how staff members work. All of planning is done. All you need to do is plug-in an owner / operator and managers with a passion for operating the business.

In retrospect, Bryan Reynolds is glad his family operated as a franchise the first five years of business. The experience helped the family understand how the business really works and build experience running a coffee shop.

While there are plenty of benefits to going the franchise route there are some distinct downsides too that you should be aware of.

One prohibitive reason to start a franchise is the initial franchise fee and annual licensing fees. Initial franchise fee is a one-time payment to get started will require $15,000 – $50,000 to start out on average.

Annual fees are paid to the franchise company in perpetuity in exchange for operating a proprietary business model. Franchisees should recieve on-going benefits from these fees as some of the annual dues typically go towards marketing expenses, research and development of new menu items, and ongoing training.

Enjoy at Drink with a View.

Finally, there’s another fee called a royalty based on the volume of sales a store produces. These are often the profit center a franchise company.

These royalties (a fee by another name) can range from 4% – 10% of the revenue in the coffee industry so you need to understand all ongoing fees before enrolling in any franchise opportunity.

As an example, if you had a coffee shop that did $200,000 in sales, you would be obligated to pay $10,000 in royalties over the course of a year if the number was set at 5%. As you can see this particular expense can add up quickly for a franchisee.

When the Reynolds family was notified that their annual fees to operate a coffee shop was going to increase, they decided to transition to an independent coffee shop model.

There’s no right or wrong choice on the path you choose to start a coffee business. Ultimately the decision to invest in a franchise or start an independent location should be based on your skills and goals.

If you want to learn more about franchise fees and why you pay them, check out this article on SBA.gov. To browse opportunities for coffee franchise’s, including fees and revenue potential head to the coffee business section of FranchiseDirect.com.

Coffee Shop Training Programs

As mentioned earlier distinct advantage of going the franchise route is the training and support system that’s built into these programs. But even if an independent coffee shop is the goal, you should still seek mentorship in the beginning stages of the business.

There’s a laundry list of things you won’t be prepared for when starting out in a new business. Reynolds advise is to get help.

One way to get a better understanding of the coffee industry is to actually get a job working at a coffee shop for 6 – 12 months minimum. While you might not get the business side experience as a barista, you will learn how to make coffee, provide top-notch customer service, and most importantly figure out if you even like doing this. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to begin preparing yourself for coffee shop ownership.

Second, there are some high-quality coffee business schools that offering a faster path to operating a cafe or coffee house. Often, you can go through complete these programs in 1 – 2 week sessions of intense learning.

This is a great way to develop business fundamentals, like developing a brand and managing people that you probably won’t acquire while as an entry level employ inside a coffee shop. One tip when selecting a school is to find a teacher or training program from someone that actually has experience running and growing successful coffee shops. Finding a teacher or school that offers real-life experience will make a big difference in preparing you.

You can learn more about the next Anthem Coffee School. This is a training program facilitated by Bryan Reynolds and is a terrific option that covers different important aspects of owning a coffee business, including developing a business plan, barista training, menu development, and nurturing a strong brand / culture. Check out the website to learn more about the school and dates for the next live intensive.

What’s an Average Day Look Like Operating a Coffee Shop?

As your coffee brand grows the daily activities will and should evolve with it. This change in work focus is essential if the goal is to expand into multiple locations. As you expand to more locations your time will be spent working on the business instead of in it as an operator.

What The Typical Day Looked Like in the Early Days:

In the early days, Bryan worked brutal hours to get the business off the ground. Bryan would frequently open the doors at 5:30 a.m. and closed down the coffee shop at 9:30 p.m. During the day Bryan was involved in all the aspects of running a coffee shop from scheduling, making coffees, sweeping the floors, greeting customers, distributing free samples and running the cash register. This is what running the business was like for 7 – 8 months after opening.

A frantic pace that has you working 80+ hours a week is not sustainable forever. The thing that drove Bryan forward during the early days was the feeling that he had to make the business a success.

Eventually, Bryan was transitioned into the more manageable work day you see below. Keep in mind that in the early days you’ll be putting in long days to get the small business off the ground.

What Does The Day-To-Day Look Like Now:

Keep in mind that Reynolds has been working to grow Anthem Coffee business for over 10 years. Today, his role resembles that of the CEO of a brand than solo operator. It will take most entrepreneurs a few years to get this level, but it’s important to be aware of the natural progression in the beginning of the business.

Here’s what Bryan works on now:

  • Protect culture: Anthem Coffee and Tea spent years developing, evolving and figuring out their culture. Belief guides culture so employees must memorize the company mission statement as a first step so they can ultimately live it out. A lot of companies post their mission statement on a wall and forget about it. You need to lead from these guiding principles and refer to them regularly to guide your business if you want them to be valuable.
  • Cultivate leaders: As the business grows, focusing on the development of your leadership is critical. After all, as the owner you can only be at one location at a time. You’ll need to have high-caliber, trustworthy performers in place to manage and grow locations.
  • Cast vision: People need and want clear direction. It’s unkind to be unclear. You must have the ability to set forth this clear direction for a coffee shop business and let employees know how they impact the mission as individuals. Let employees know what’s on the horizon and how the future could look with them in a different role.
  • Grow daily: Anthem Coffee and Tea stresses the importance of ongoing learning and growth for everyone inside the organization. Grow daily means increasing sales, adding social media followers, improving efficiencies in the coffee shops. As Reynolds put it in the interview, “If we’re not growing daily, we’re dying gradually.”

On average, Reynolds spends 30 – 35 hours on the above listed aspects of the business. This activity represents the majority of his work day at this time.

The Transition from Doing Everything Yourself to Managing a Team

As you can see from Bryan’s experience things are different after more a decade plus running a business. But this progression won’t happen without being deliberate. There are plenty of small businesses owners that continue doing everything themselves and end up stuck for years or even decades. Change doesn’t happen by accident.

The reality is that in the early days of starting a business you’ll be wearing a dozen different hats and putting in a ton of hours. Work life balance isn’t a reality in early stage small business. While putting in a lot of hours at the start is a reality, you should be working toward assigning tasks to managers and employees by building out and refining a set standard operating procedures.

While time consuming, establishing written processes and guidelines on how to operate a coffee business is the only way to ever step away without everything collapsing.

The other realization Bryan had was that he had to set boundaries for himself with the business. He couldn’t be opening and closing down the coffee shop forever. It can be hard to leave the coffee shop during a rush so you can make it home in time for dinner with the family. But if you want to maintain a strong relationships with your family and friends, you absolutely need to be able to leave your place of work.

Establishing boundaries and scheduling times when Bryan wouldn’t be working, meant hiring additional staff to be able to run the shop while he wasn’t available. This also meant empowering co-leaders within the coffee shop to be able to make decisions while away. Making it a priority to only work a set number of hours was one of the big things that Bryan wishes he took more control over during the early days.

How to Have Meaningful Conversations With Coffee Shop Managers

As you may have noticed, leveling up your people skills is critical to growing a coffee shop empire of your own. Here are some practical nuts and bolts questions you can use to start having productive on-going with your managers. By listening and taking action on these conversations, you can help continually drive your people and business forward.

  • What are you most excited about?
  • What’s something you wish you could spend more time working on?
  • What are your pain points this week?
  • What’s something that you’ve seen that’s a need in your community?
  • How can we add value to local area?

Another point about the organization of a coffee shop is that Anthem Coffee and Tea does not have one store manager per location. Instead they have co-leaders for each location that manage the store together. This means that the highest ranking individual in a coffee shop still needs to work as a team. As a benefit to the manager, they don’t need to feel the pressure that everything falls on their shoulders. This structure has helped to foster an organization that focuses on team work and ongoing improvement.

One other important concept covered in the video is that you can’t lead people like a slave driver. Telling people to do this or take care of that because you give them a paycheck every two weeks is no way to create a happy work environment nor retain top talent.

You must get into the habit of sharing the reason behind instruction to staff. The why always drives the what… Meaning that people follow direction better when they understand the reasoning behind your instructions. Take the time to explain the reason behind why you’re doing something and you’ll get better results from employees.

As Bryan shares in the interview, during the early days of being a manager he’d get frustrated that employees wouldn’t greet customers quickly. But after Bryan started sharing the reason why it really made a different in how people perceived his instructions.

For example, Bryan wasn’t asking people to greet customers because of a desire to keep employees busy. The motivation was to make customers feel welcome when they entered the building. This small communication tweak changed everything.

Creating a Coffee Shop Marketing Plan

How do we best love and serve this community that we want to open this coffee shop in? – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee, on the key questions you should be asking when getting started.

After you open a coffee shop one of the biggest challenges you’ll face is getting people to know you exist. When you begin to consider marketing a business, you probably start by thinking about different tactics like buying radio advertisements, creating an attractive sign outside the shop, mailing coupons, handing out free samples or posting regularly on Instagram. While each of these approaches can work this isn’t where Bryan reccomends starting out when building a marketing plan.

While all of the tactics above can help increase awareness for your business, one specific recommendation that Bryan has is to focus on doing joint ventures with other local businesses or other organizations.

Concerts and Fundraisers are regularly held at Anthem Coffee & Tea locations.

A joint venture (also called a collaboration) happens all the time in the craft brewing industry. Two different breweries will come together to produce a limited edition beer. This beer will might introduce the specific type of beer and brewery to a new audience of beer lovers. Assuming both breweries have a following already, it’s a win-win scenario for both businesses. This approach can simple, low-cost, and extremely effective.

If you get creative with this approach there are all sorts of ways to leverage collaborations with local businesses to help increase your awareness in the community. Here are a few ways you can begin to collaborate and add value to the community you serve in the process:

  • Fundraising: Churches, sports teams, and non-profit organizations are always looking for ways to raise money. You could run some special events in partnership with an organization that you support and donate a portion of the sales.
  • Meetup Groups: There are groups of people in your community that are looking for places to come together regularly to discuss different topics ranging from cycling to knitting. These groups are kind of like book clubs, but on a wide range of interests. If you’re able to offer a semi-private meeting place inside your coffee house this can be an excellent group of people to reach. You can find local groups in your area by visiting Meetup.com.
  • Collaborate: As a coffee shop there are all sorts of businesses you could test joint ventures. One idea would be to join forces with an independent bakery. You could sell their cupcakes at your shop one week, you sell your coffee at their location another week. These kinds of simple strategies not only get your name out, but keep things fresh and exciting at your location.
  • Ask How You Can Best Serve Others: As a general guideline, you want to get good at identifying as many ways a possible to help as many people as possible with your coffee shop. Does a struggling artist need help getting their painting out into the world? Offer to put up a piece in your store on the artists behalf. Does a local business need help promoting an event? Share information about their event on social media and let them hang a poster about it in your store.

Some of these collaborations take time and careful planning to execute. Others are super simple and don’t take much time at all. Best of all, the cost of this form of marketing is mostly sweat equity (meaning there’s no cost) and you’ll get back what you put into the efforts.

These are the things that have made a difference in our business. You have a chance to make a difference more than you have the chance to make money. But if you make a difference, you will make money. – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee, on the importance of business collaborations for a coffee shop.

How to Compete with Starbucks and Other Coffee Chains

Most of Anthem Coffee’s locations are in the greater Tacoma area. This is less than 40 miles south of Seattle where Starbucks was founded in 1971. Needless to say, the mega coffee chain has a strong presence in Anthem Coffee’s market. Not surprisingly, four of the Anthem Coffee stores are located within blocks of a Starbucks. But Reynolds doesn’t consider Starbucks to be a direct competitor.

I’m thankful that Starbucks paved the way for us. Starbucks has created an opportunity for independent coffee shops to come in and innovate. They made it (the American coffee shop) massively popular. – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee, how how he views competition.

So how do you handle coffee shop competition? According to Reynolds, it always comes back to having a differentiated brand, delivering a unique customer experience, and having an identifiable mission.

Well known establishments like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Tim Horton’s have their own loyal audience. These stores all provide a consistent product that select demographic of people enjoy. That’s why customers return again and again to these establishments.

The goal for you as the business owner is to create a desirable and consistent experience for customers that relate to your style and environment. You can’t be everything to everyone so don’t try to be.

I’m not in competition with Starbucks. I’m in competition with myself and our organization every day. Always asking ourselves, how can we get better? – Bryan Reynold, Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee.

How to Develop Your Coffee Shop’s Menu

We are paying for our space all day long, we might as well use it. – Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder of Anthem Coffee on adding beer, wine, and food offerings to the menu.

Another one of Anthem Coffee’s core values is minimizing waste and maximizing profit. With this core value in mind, they noticed what many other coffee shops observe: Sales drop in the evening when most people don’t drink coffee. So staying true to these guiding principles, they looked for ways to enhance their menu to increase their profitability at night.

This led them to explore offering craft beers and wine so that people would be more likely to visit and compliment their lineup of speciality coffees. After they introducing beer and wine, they realized an updated food menu was needed to pair with these new beverages. This approach won’t work for every shop, but it can work well for some.

Check out a sample of items from Anthem Coffee’s food and drink menu that features a variety of quality coffees below:

Drink Menu:

  • Americano: Espresso with hot water.
  • Black and White Mocha: Dark and white chocolate, espresso, and steamed milk.
  • Caramel Macchiato: Steamed milk, vanilla marked by espresso and caramel.
  • Dirty Chai: Vanilla or spicy chai, espresso and steamed milk.
  • Latte: Espresso and steamed milk.

Food Service Menu:

  • Turkey Bacon Cheddar Sandwich: Roasted turkey, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese on multi-grain bread.
  • Anthem Fries: Shoestring fries with rosemary olive oil and shaved parmesean.
  • Sweet Potato Fries: Oven baked fries with salt and chipotle dip.
  • Black Bean Hash: Red potatoes, black beans, red pepper, jalapeño, and lime zest.
  • Pizzoni: Cheese bread stick with pepperoni and mozzarella.

One of the easiest way to start creating your own menu is to look around at what other people are doing. See what chain coffee shops are serving, see what independents are doing, and take notes on what you like. Get in a car travel to some of the interesting coffee shops within a 100 mile radius to sample coffee and learn.

Starting the menu development for food service really can be this simple. Think of it as a fun creative process.

While you provide yourself freedom to be creative during the menu development process keep in mind people’s expectations when entering a coffee shop. Plenty of people still like a plain-old medium roast drip coffee with cream and sugar. Make sure you maintain traditional menu items when starting out along with more creative options.

If you want to learn more about the menu development process and pricing, there’s a really good piece on the topic of menu pricing that was written at DreamaLatte.com.

All-In Cost to Open a Coffee Shop

On average you can expect to invest $100,000 – $400,000 on average to start a coffee shop business. Depending on the equipment you decide to buy, the build out of the location you could end up spend upwards of $1 million dollars if you want a high-end shop with artisanal chairs and tables. In fact, the first Anthem Coffee & Tea location required roughly $360,000 in capital just to open due to all the equipment, furniture, and permits required.

You can estimate the total cost of your future coffee shop using our coffee shop startup calculator. You can find a full list of cost considerations here as well.

Coffee Shop Equipment Checklist

You can view our full cost calculator and equipment checklist here. But here’s a run down of the quality coffee brewing equipment you’ll need to start this type of small business:

  • Espresso Machines and Grinder
  • Coffee Brewing System
  • Hot Water Tower or Dispenser
  • In-Line Fan
  • Fridge
  • POS System
  • Bag Grinder
  • Convection Oven
  • Underbar Sink
  • Microwave Oven
  • Display Case
  • Commercial Freezer
  • Blenders
  • Commercial Coffee Roaster (Optional, but can add a unique aspect to your shop.)

How to Source Coffee Beans

As Bryan Reynolds points out in the interview, discovering the specialty coffee beans and roasts that will be served at your shop can be an enjoyable and creative experience. Bryan suggests getting out into the world and actually trying a whole bunch of unique roasts before determining what you want to serve.

Depending on the mission of your coffee shop, you can locate beans that are sustainably sourced or grown in different areas of the world to align with your vision. Sourcing product from specialty coffee roasters ensures you have a unique and quality cup of coffee customers can’t get elsewhere in your market.

You’ll also need to decide whether to invest in a commercial coffee roaster to roast coffee in-house or have another reputable roaster complete the process for you.

It may be tempting to roast the coffee beans yourself, but keep in mind that this process of roasting is both art and science so it’s something you may want to consider outsourcing to simplify operations. We should also point out that most coffee shops outsource their roasting to experts. You can learn more about the art and science of roasting here.

If you do decide to purchase a commercial coffee roaster, one can be acquired for between $7000 – $25,000. The cost of this equipment depends largely on the capacity or batch size of the equipment. Mill City Roasters is a great resource to learn more about this specific piece of equipment and the options.

If you’re just beginning the search for a unique coffee to serve at your shop the suppliers below are high-quality sourcing options:

What are The Next Steps?

We hope this piece gives you a foundational understanding of what you should be focused first before starting a coffee shop. As a quick review, you need to get clarity and your why and mission statement so that you can create a unique brand that stands out in the local market first. If you get this piece wrong, you could spend years spinning your wheels without understanding the real problem. Don’t let this happen to you!

In the coming weeks we’ll be publishing more content on the nuts and bolts aspects of operating a coffee shop, including:

We hope you get value out of this series and encourage you to share and discuss this series with the team members involved in your coffee shop startup.

The post How to Start an Independent Coffee Shop On Your Terms Like Anthem Coffee & Tea appeared first on .

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Do you dream of opening a cute corner coffee shop? Wonder what it’s really like to own a cafe? Trying to figure out if if this is business you want to seriously pursue? Then you’re in the right place. Today’s guest is Bryan Reynolds, Do you dream of opening a cute corner coffee shop? Wonder what it’s really like to own a cafe? Trying to figure out if if this is business you want to seriously pursue? Then you’re in the right place. Today’s guest is Bryan Reynolds, Co-Founder and CEO of Anthem Coffee & Tea, a six-location coffee […] Brett Lindenberg yes 1:14:03
How To Find and Hire the Best Coffee Shop Employees with Andrew & Claire Bowen https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/the-daily-grind/ Sat, 02 Mar 2019 15:19:28 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=15924 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/the-daily-grind/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/the-daily-grind/feed/ 0 <p>Andrew and Claire Bowen are on a mission to stop independent coffee shops from failing. While employed in the healthcare and retail sectors, Andrew and Claire Bowen got the idea to start a coffee shop. Andrew, who regularly traveled during his career, developed an appreciation for local coffee shops during these frequent business trips. The […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/the-daily-grind/">How To Find and Hire the Best Coffee Shop Employees with Andrew & Claire Bowen</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Andrew and Claire Bowen are on a mission to stop independent coffee shops from failing.

While employed in the healthcare and retail sectors, Andrew and Claire Bowen got the idea to start a coffee shop. Andrew, who regularly traveled during his career, developed an appreciation for local coffee shops during these frequent business trips. The more Andrew visited and worked out of these coffee shops, the appreciation for these business continued to grow.

After bringing up the idea of starting a coffee shop to his wife Claire, the couple completed their due diligence and determined the business model could be profitable. As a personal benefit, operating a coffee shop would also allow the couple to spend more time together. A win-win!

Today’s Guests: Andrew and Claire Bowen.

In 2007, the couple made the leap and took over their first franchise coffee shop. From that point, success and growth came fast for the husband and wife team. Within 18 months, the couple opened three locations and generated over $1 million pounds in top-line revenue. In 2011, the couple developed and launched their first independent coffee shop concept they continue to run today.

More recently the couple set out to support coffee shop owners worldwide through their website CoffeeSuccessHub.com and their Amazon best seller “The Daily Grind – How to Open & Run a Shop that Makes Money.

By the way if you’re interested in winning one of five free copies of The Daily Grind book you can register for a chance to win a copy when you enroll for the free Coffee Shop Startup Kit or by sharing this post on Facebook. Do both and you’ll get two entries to win.

 It’s a nice business, full of nice people. – Andrew Bowen on operating a coffee shop.

Taking Over an Existing Coffee Shop 

For the first location, Andrew and Claire purchased an existing franchise coffee shop. The shop was positioned in a quality location, but the previous owner had lost interest in the business. As a result, the employees were left to manage the business without any rules or processes put in place. After purchasing the coffee shop, the couple went full steam ahead into improving the operations of the business.

The first step in the turn-around process was to document and improve the standard operating procedure inside the coffee shop. After establishing clear processes, the staff bought into the new vision of the company. The Bowens would also work to create a better overall working environment for their staff that made employees more satisfied. During this time period, all aspects of the business were looked at and improved by the couple.

Two Common Reasons that Coffee Shops Fail

There are many reasons that a reported 80% of coffee shops fail, but here are the two big ones.

In any type of small business, location is critical for success. Many would-be successful coffee shops open in a location that sets them up for failure early on. Too many coffee shop owners end up paying too high of rent to ever be successful based on the amount of traffic volume going by their shop.

On the flip side, other shops start too small. The thinking is logical: You might want to start small in a lower rent location where you don’t need as much traffic to be profitable. But it usually doesn’t work out that way.

If you’re opening in a small site with under 40 seats or limited drive-thru business, you’re essentially buying yourself a job by limiting the income potential. You’ll never be able to generate enough revenue to hire a manager to run the day to day. Depending on your goals for the business, this situation may not be ideal.

More often than not, you can avoid common mistakes encountered by new coffee shop business owners. But you do need to take the time to invest in yourself, be open to learning from already successful coffee shop owners, and take action to ensure your avoiding common business pitfalls.

Everyone thinks they can run a coffee shop because they sit in it all the time and think it’s easy. It’s not easy. – Andrew Bowen 

How To Find and Hire the Best Coffee Shop Employees.

Hiring the right team to run your business is a key factor in operating a coffee shop. When looking for those critical first employees, the Bowen’s recommend hiring for hospitality and customer service as the most important skill a person can have.

The Daily Grind is Available on Amazon.com.

You can teach someone how to make a really good latte. It’s more difficult to train on soft skills like a welcoming smile, eye contact, and conversational prowess that delivers the one-of-a-kind experience and keeps customers coming back. These are the intangibles that can’t be trained. You’ve either got it or you don’t.

After you’ve found someone that’s a good fit. The next step is to train these new baristas and employees to your standards for working at a coffee shop. From serving coffee to cleaning equipment or how to deal with a challenging customer, no detail is too small to train on.

Here’s one you might not have thought about. It’s critical to share your coffee shop story with new hires. Every independent coffee shop has a wonderful and unique story. But the same story needs to be told by all staff members for this to come across to customers. Understanding the coffee shops back story will also help employees buy in on their roles.

Become a Magnet and Attract The Best Hospitality Talent in Your Market

Become a Magnet for Top Talent in Your Area.

When you become an established coffee shop in your city, it becomes easier to recruit the best baristas and managers. One of your goals as a business owner is to turn your business into a magnet for high performers that want to work in the best establishments.

The services of high-performing bartenders, baristas, or waiters are always in demand. If you’re able to create an environment that people are proud to work in, can have some fun, and make good money, word will spread within the local hospitality community.

Not surprisingly these rock star employees don’t want to work in a dive or be disrespected at work. These sorts of people won’t be working in a poor work environment for very long. They’ve got plenty of options.

The Bowen’s have spent years operating their own business and helping others improve their own coffee shops. Based on their experience, the thing biggest factor determining the success or failure of a business is having the right people in place. To get the right people, you must put effort into becoming a magnet for top talent.

Here are some specific things you can do to create a better working environment in a coffee shop and attract super start employees:

Working Conditions:  It should go without saying that having high-quality working conditions is super important for attracting the best of the best. This means maintaining a clean coffee shop that is welcoming.

Make sure the temperature isn’t too hot or cold for baristas. This is not an area to try to cut costs on heating or cooling bills!

Provide Schedule Flexibility: Your employees will have family or school obligations they need to attend to. Try to do whatever you can to provide flexible working options for people. Top performing people can have lives and goals outside of your shop. By offering more scheduling flexibility, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from other employers in your area.

We also want to point out that none of the points above has anything to do with money or paying more. While money is important, it’s not the only thing that drives employees.

Who Should Be the First Hire in a New Coffee Shop?

At this point, you understand the need to compile a super team if want to become one of the best coffee shops in your area. But you can’t build a team without that critical first hire. So what role should you attempt to fill first?

Depending on the size of coffee shop and your personal goals for the business will determine that important first hire. If the goal is to have a self-run coffee shop that you plan manage then by all means hire a barista to help prepare beverages and serve customers. This is a perfectly fine approach if you want to do everything yourself but it’s more like buying a full-time job for yourself versus operating a business with growth potential.

On the other hand if you hope to build a business that you could eventually sell or step away from at some point, The Bowen’s recommend hiring a store manager or someone with the potential to be a manager first. The individual you hire doesn’t have to have all the skill right away, but they do need a desire to learn and grow.

Hiring a manager first allows you to share the vision, build processes and make hiring decisions in the early days. This individual is someone that should take some of the burden off you. This person should have problem solving skills and a can do attitude with an ability to figure things out.

In the ideal scenario, you would hire someone that have a vision of starting their own coffee shop in the next 4 – 5 years. You know that these people will be serious about how they approach the operations of the business.

You’ll also want this new hire to have a complimentary skill set to you. This person should need to fill in the gaps where you may not have expertise. For example, if you’re good with numbers and accounting don’t look to hire someone with those same skills. Find someone with talents for building relationships and marketing instead. You should seek to fill in your weaknesses instead of bringing onboard people that think and act the same way you do.

So before you start hiring do some soul searching of your own first to figure out what you’re good at: Operations, Finance, Customer Service, or People Management. Then try to find someone with the complimentary skill set that will help grow your business.

How Many Employees Will You Need to Hire?

After you find a manager, it’s time to put together a supporting cast of team members. For a small coffee shop, starting out 8 – 9 team members is about average.

This may seem like a lot of employees hire, but remember that most of your employees will be part-time. Your store manager may be the only full-time staff member and that is fine. You will need enough staff to be able to support people taking days off, getting sick, going on vacations, and finding other jobs.

How Train Baristas and Staff For Success

One of the secrets to operating a well run coffee shop is to train people well and continue training individuals throughout their life of their employment.

Everything you do in your coffee house must have a system or process written down for employees to follow.

There should be a specific recipe and way to serve the simplest food item such as a pre-made muffin. There must be a standard process for cleaning bathrooms and dining areas.

In addition to providing clear instructions to staff, clear guidelines improves your overall customer service. A major element of customer service is consistency. People like to know what type of experience they’ll have at an establishment and if the coffee doesn’t taste the same each time or the food isn’t prepared in the same way every time that’s a problem.

Everything must be documented so your employees understand what they need to do and how to accomplish the tasks in a way that meets expectations.

The Hiring Process for Coffee House

It can be really hard to figure out the quality employees from the poor ones during an interview process. Someone that answers a set of standardized questions to perfection does not a great manager or barista make. As a result, the Bowens developed a few of their own tools that you can build into your own coffee shop business when hiring:

One smart test the Bowens have used to find out if a prospective employee can keep up with the often frantic pace of working in a coffee shop is to ask prospective employees to follow him up the stairs and stay close behind. If the prospect was still at the bottom of the stair case at the time he reached the top then working at a fast paced coffee shop may not be a suitable job type for that individual.

Another approach used is implementing a 90-day trial period for all new staff. No matter how sophisticate your approach to hiring is you don’t truly know if an individual will be successful until they start work. After the 90-day trial period, both the employer and the employee should have a clear understanding of whether or not this is the right fit. Making this an understanding up front also sets the tone with new employees that you’ve got to be willing to work to remain gainfully employed for long.

On-Going Feedback is Important for Employees

You must be continually giving appraisals to your employees. Giving feedback does not mean you’re being mean or nasty. In fact, for many of these appraisals you’ll be providing compliments encouraging employees to keep up the good work!

Often times managers can get into the habit of only identifying things that must be improved upon. Being able to spot improvement opportunities is an important element of a quality manager, but don’t forget all the good things happening every day in your business too!

When it comes time to adjust or improve on employee behavior, offer the feedback in a positive way. One good approach is the provide praise to an employee then offer a feedback and finally end the conversation with another compliment. This approach can help everyone feel good about what can be a difficult conversation. Always make sure to affirm that the employee is valued any time you provide constructive criticism.

Finally, it’s totally normal for coffee shop owners, especially if they’ve escaped stuffy corporate environments to forget about on-going training and feedback of employees.

After all, a regimented approach to work and communication may have been one of the catalysts for starting a business. However, if you want the business to be successful, a formal commitment to improving and developing team members is essential. Listen to the full podcast interview for all the details on ways to improve the hiring process for your coffee house.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • Why the couple decided to take over an existing franchise coffee shop for their first location.
  • How the couple was able to double the revenue of their within their first month of ownership.
  • The importance of carrying around a notebook to write down your ideas or thoughts about your business.
  • Why you’re really in the hospitality business as a coffee shop owner.
  • The importance of hiring employees with the hospitality gene. Other desirable traits and skills can be taught.
  • The importance of understanding the reasons why you want to start a coffee shop.
  • Some of the most common reasons coffee shops fail and how to avoid them.
  • Who the first hire should be inside of your business. Why you should aim to hire someone with management potential first.
  • How to build a strong team. Why you should look for people with complimentary skill sets to yours.
  • Finding your coffee shops story. The importance of creating an environment that people are proud to work at.
  • Learn about the 12-week training / evaluation process that new team members go through within Andrew and Claire’s shops.
  • Why you should take the time to work at a coffee shop before you decide to invest in a coffee shop yourself to get clarity if it’s the right choice for your situation.

Part of the reason we wrote the book is that we’ve seen so many people like us try to open a coffee shop and think it’s a great little lifestyle business. Then in 18 months – 2 years lose a load of money and retreat with their tail between their legs. – Andrew Bowen on coffee shop startups. 

You can teach someone to make a fabulous cup of coffee, but you can’t teach the hospitality gene. – Claire Bowen on hiring team members. 

Mentioned in The Episode:

Cafe Success Hub: Educational website and blog published by today’s guests Andrew and Claire Bowen. Here you’ll find a variety of helpful resources for coffee shop owners, including a business start-up calculator, informative blog posts, and an Ask Us Anything section where you can get answers to business questions.

The Daily Grind: This guide, written by Andrew and Claire Bowen, takes you through the steps required open and run a profitable coffee shop. If you’re going to be investing a hundred thousand dollars (or more) into starting a coffee shop, it would be wise invest less than $20 to understand what it takes to operate this business successfully. This Amazon best seller is the type of publication you’ll want to take notes with, highlight, and return to often for guidance during the startup phase of your business.

Coffee Business Owner Group: Shout out to this private Facebook group. You can apply for free access by clicking the link. If you are an owner of a coffee business or are thinking of starting a coffee business, this is a fantastic and active online community where lots of world-class entrepreneurs hang out.  I was able to connect with Andrew and Claire Bowen inside of this group to schedule today’s interview. This group is managed as a service to the coffee community by Espresso Outlet as a labor of love.

Coffee Shop Startup Cost Calculator – Free tool you can use to estimate the startup costs of your future coffee shop.

The post How To Find and Hire the Best Coffee Shop Employees with Andrew & Claire Bowen appeared first on .

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Andrew and Claire Bowen are on a mission to stop independent coffee shops from failing. While employed in the healthcare and retail sectors, Andrew and Claire Bowen got the idea to start a coffee shop. Andrew, who regularly traveled during his career, Andrew and Claire Bowen are on a mission to stop independent coffee shops from failing. While employed in the healthcare and retail sectors, Andrew and Claire Bowen got the idea to start a coffee shop. Andrew, who regularly traveled during his career, developed an appreciation for local coffee shops during these frequent business trips. The […] Brett Lindenberg yes 24:53
How I Started a Craft Brewery for $50,000 And How You Can Do The Same. https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-craft-brewery/ Fri, 21 Dec 2018 23:03:24 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=10589 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-craft-brewery/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-craft-brewery/feed/ 0 <p>Want to start your own craft brewery without bringing on partners? Don’t think it would be possible ever start a brewhouse for sub 6-figures? Then take a look at this case study with Sam Corr, the founder of Drumconrath Brewing Company, who proves once and for all that you don’t need an enormous loan or […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/start-craft-brewery/">How I Started a Craft Brewery for $50,000 And How You Can Do The Same.</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Want to start your own craft brewery without bringing on partners? Don’t think it would be possible ever start a brewhouse for sub 6-figures?

Then take a look at this case study with Sam Corr, the founder of Drumconrath Brewing Company, who proves once and for all that you don’t need an enormous loan or a dozen investors to launch an independent brewery. In fact, Sam was able to start his own brewery for just over $50,000 thanks to his ability to identify key ways to save money on equipment and do-it-yourself mentality that allowed him to avoid hiring expensive contractor for certain jobs.

In the inaugural episode of the Food Empire Pro Podcast, you’ll get a deep dive into the how Sam Corr got started down the path to owning a brewery based in Mapleton, North Dakota. If you want to learn how to start your own craft brewery on a bootstrapped budget this is the episode for you. Click the play button below to listen to the podcast of this conversation.

The Early Days 

Like the founders of so many other micro breweries, Sam was introduced to brewing about 10 years ago through home brewing with a Mr. Beer Kit. The kit leaves much to be desired from a creativity standpoint and tastes terrible, but is a simple way for beginners to brew their first batch of home brew.

While the Mr. Beer KitSam had its limitations, Sam quickly returned to the home brew shop where it was purchased to ask questions about ways he could have more control over beer recipes and the equipment it would take to execute. From that point forward, Sam was hooked.

Sam returned home that day with a roaster pan and stock pots from the local home brew store and began to develop what would be his first recipe. Using a $26 computer program called BeerSmith, a tool that helps you work out the right percentages of ingredients to make beer, Sam began to experiment and learn what worked and didn’t work in terms of brewing.

Sam tested recipes for a wide variety of beer styles, including red’s, American Pale Ale’s, Porters, IPAs and continued to refine them for years as an avid home brewer. As Sam got more serious and worked to refine the recipes, most of the beer would be given away to friends and family members that were eager to sample the latest style.

Eventually, people started to compliment how good the beer had become. Sam got to the point where there was a waiting list of people that wanted to receive and try future batches that were brewed. This was the moment Sam recognized that he was onto something that could be bigger than a part-time hobby.

Sam Coor, the owner / founder of Drumconrath Brewing Co.

My wife got tired of me just giving beer away all the time. So we talked about it, looked at our finances, and took the plunge. – Sam Coor

Challenges Getting Started and a Personal Crossroads

When entrepreneurs set out to build a new business one of the first challenges encountered is raising enough money for it to get off the ground. Sam’s experience was no different. When Sam started seeking a small business loan for his concept, he faced a lot of rejection.

Sam started the search for capital by going to usual suspects by scheduling appointments with the local banks. Sam had already prepared a business plan for his craft brewery, but was quickly turned down for a business loan by the banks and credit unions he approached.

While Sam was in the process of figuring out how to pull together the money needed to start his business, a family tragedy struck. Sam’s dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed within one year. Understandably, this devastating life event postponed progress on the craft brewery and led Sam to take stock of his own path.

At the time Sam was unhappy with his day job. It got to the point where it became emotionally draining to know that he could be pursuing his true calling of running a brewery, instead of working at a place he didn’t enjoy. Sam was at a crossroads as to what path he should take. Eventually Sam told himself it was time to actually figure out how to make the business work or move on:

We need to either do this or give it up. Life’s too short to be miserable at work all the time.  So either we’re going to work this out and do it or I should just quit all together because it’s emotionally draining now to go brew and think that I could have been there [owning a brewery]. – Sam Coor on being at a crossroads whether or not to move forward with the business.

Moving Forward and Raising Money

After a few discouraging meetings with banks, Sam realized that unless he was able to acquire a substantial downpayment of money there wouldn’t be a way to get a loan from a traditional bank. In most cases, banks will want some form of collateral like a house or automobile that they can take in the event you aren’t able to repay the debt. It also didn’t help with the banks that Sam had no formal business operation experience. This was his first business venture.

An alternative funding option would be to bring partners into the business that would provide the startup cash required to get started. But Sam didn’t want to go that route either. Any time you bring in partners, the operation of a business gets more complicated with more decision makers to agree on the longterm direction of the business.

So Sam sat down with his wife and they had a big talk about whether or not they should move forward with the brewery. After much discussion they decided to move forward with the plan. They would take a second mortgage out on their house to get started.

Worst case scenario, Sam and his wife determined that in the event the business failed they could support making payments on the house. Sam’s wife would stay at her current job. If needed, Sam could get another job in future.

Sam and his wife were willing to take the risk of a taking out a second mortgage to fund the business. This action is viewed as unfathomable by some, but it was a strategic bet they were willing to make in an effort to achieve a longtime goal of owning an independent micro-brewery. They are not the first or last business to be funded in this way.

With the cash finally in hand start the brewery, it was game on and time to begin evaluating locations and completing the regulatory steps needed to legally start this type of business.

Finding a Brewery Location 

Selecting the right location of your brewery is one of the most important factors that can determine the success of failure. Not only do you to find  an environment that is safe, inviting, and has a big enough customer base nearby. But you also need to locate a spot that’s large enough to store your brewing equipment, have a tasting room with sufficient seating and fit your budget all at the same time. For many breweries renting space at a quality location is the largest on-going monthly expense. (Note: The biggest monthly expense could also be labor depending on the size of the operation.)

Finding the right place that checks the box on all of these categories can be a lot like finding a unicorn… seemingly impossible.

Sam originally looked at a Fargo location for his brewery, which is the largest city in North Dakota. The location being considered was near the center of the city and accessible by a lot of major roads. In Sam’s situation, most of the startup cash would go toward funding the rent for the location and getting it outfitted / transformed into a brewery.

When it’s time to start looking for a location, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get touch with a commercial realtor that understands your market. Talk about where you want to be, how much space you’ll need, and the type of areas you envision.

Don’t forget to solicit commercial realtors opinions about the best neighborhood, prices, and up-and-coming areas you may not be aware of. It’s wise to take into consideration other people’s perspectives on a location when making this important business decision.

Sam selected a location in an industrial area that’s 2160 square feet. It’s not uncommon to find breweries across the United States located in what would be considered a traditionally industrial area. Due to the space requirements needed to brew beer this is often the only affordable area available.

Assuming you plan to open a smaller brewery and tap room, you could probably get by with 1,500 square foot space if you’re looking for a minimum size requirement. But having a little extra room to grow for the future doesn’t hurt either.

What Are The Regulatory Requirements for Breweries?

Craft brewing is a federally regulated industry through the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB). But you’ll also need to understand the requirements from your state. Generally speaking, states are easy to work with. States will happily take your money and with the additional tax revenue and licensing fees. At least in the North Dakota, you can send them a check and get a license in the mail.

At the federal level, however, it can take 6 – 7 months for them to get back to you after submitting paperwork needed to get started. The city you decide to start and operate business can also present challenges. For example, the owners of more established bars, restaurants, or craft breweries can make getting started more difficult if they happen to be friends with high-ranking city officials.

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB)

The federal requirements and forms for going through the brewery qualification process are available online. These can be challenging to fill out so if you can get guidance from a mentor on this piece that will make the process infinitely easier.

This not the type of form you can just sit down and complete in an afternoon like a driver’s liscense. Many brewers express that it took them a few days or a couple weeks to complete the first time. Many entrepreneurs need to amend their filings based on the request of the government later as well.

Highlights of Federal Filing Requirements for a Brewery:

  • You must give a typed description of the brewery. 
    • Describe plot of land your brewery is on.
    • Describe building brewery is in.
    • Describe the brewery overall.
    • Get a letter of recommendation from bank.
  • Acquire and Send Registered tradename
  • Submit floor plan of your brewery. 
  • Secretary of State or Attorney for State information. 

What Equipment Costs Are There for a Brewery?

Equipment not as expensive as you might think. Sam was able to order all the metal equipment from China and handled his own importing. The fermenters purchased are plastic, which is a lot less glamorous and a little harder to work with, but saves a lot of money when starting out. You need to be more careful with plastic fermenters because if the plastic gets too hot it will wreck the beer. Sam also built a cold room himself. All this work added up to massive savings in startup costs that similar businesses should expect to incur.

All that being said below is the list of equipment costs Sam incurred while starting the brewery business:

Brewhouse & Filtering (or Brite Tanks) Tanks: $11,000

The brewhouse is where you make the beer and the filtering tank are what  you’ll use to pump liquid into the fermentation vessel.

Fermentation Tanks: These were $500 a piece used from another brewery. Fermentation in these tanks will take about two weeks for the wort and yeast to transform into real beer.

Kegs: These are the most expensive pieces you will invest in due to the quantity you need to purchase. You can find used kegs for around $60 a piece used and you need a lot of them. You might be able to get lucky and find them through another brewery or someone that’s going out of business. Sam invested approximately $12,000 total in full size kegs.

Sinks: You’re required to have a 3 compartment sink ($300 roughly). A seperate hand washing sink is also required and will cost between $50 – $200 on eBay or Amazon depending on the size and brand name you purchase.

Draft Parts: This is only a requirement if you have tap room on-site. You’ll need draft facets, which are the lines that go to kegs, regulators, bulk C02 and nitrogen tanks. You’ll also need beer facets with handles for the bar. All of these parts combined will run cost about $2,000.

Pumps: These are for pumping wert and beer from one tank to another. This will also be used for cleaning tanks. Expect to pay about $1,000 all together. This will depend on the size you need.

Shelving Units: These are utilized to stack grain, malt, hops, yeast and other ingredients. You can get shelving like this affordably at Amazon or from a home improvement store. These can be purchased between $100 – $200 per shelf. You’ll need 5 – 10 of these when you get started to keep beer brewing ingredients organized.

Keg Cooler or Cold Room: Ideally, you’ll stores kegs in a cold room that keeps that beer ice cold and run lines from there to your taps. When you’re making the floor plan for your brewery try to position it near the wall of your tap room where you plan to dispense beer. However, this might not always be possible due to the way in which your location is setup and regulations.

If you aren’t able to setup a cold room in the right location, you’ll need to invest in a keg cooler. Same was able to find a keg cooler on clearance at Menard’s (this store is a lot like a Home Depot with numerous locations in the Midwest) got a chest freezer that I converted and got on clearance for $300.

Plumbing / Electrical: As far as installing electrical and plumbing, you’ll need to hire an expert on those projects. Make sure to ask your network for referrals of good contractors and get multiple bids to understand the price range of services. The cost will vary widely depending on your location, but for initial business planning purposes you can expect to pay $2,5000 each to a professional plumber and electrician.

One final pro tip gleaned from the interview is that you should always carry  a backup of spare parts so that one small piece of equipment doesn’t shut down your entire operation for days. It pays to be prepared!

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Craft Brewery?

According to reputable reports online like this one from NerdWallet, you should expect to spend between $100,000 – $1,000,000 on average to open a brewery. As you can see by getting creative in the ways described above you can save a fortune in startup costs.

As mentioned earlier, Sam was able to started a craft brewing business for just over $50,000. As highlighted in both the audio interview and equipment costs section there are the three key areas you can focus on to save money when opening a brewery:

  • Equipment: Brand new, stainless steel brewing equipment will cost more than used equipment. You can buy plastic fermentation tanks for  $500 a piece compared to thousands of dollars. Try to find ways to save on equipment costs so you can make it happen.
  • Labor: Sam was able to get his brewery started as a one man show. Sam dedicates slow days toward brewing beer and is the head bartender on weekends. No job big or small is above him. As a result of all this, the on-going overhead is super low.
  • Rent: Negotiate your lease terms in an effort reduce your monthly payment. Look for lower cost locations in the suburbs or industrial parks.

How Much Money Does a Small Brewery Make on Average?

Each brewery has different sales numbers. Some of the larger craft breweries do hundreds of millions of dollars in sales annually with dozens of tap rooms, national distribution, restaurants, and generate revenue in all sorts of ways. A good example of one of the biggest craft breweries is Stone Brewing. In 2015, Stone Brewing reported annual revenue of over $137 million and over 1,000 employees.

If you’re just starting a brewery sales figures like that can seem impossible. Lofty as that goal may seem now, when you’re evaluating any business opportunity it’s good to find examples of brands that have enjoy mass appeal. This demonstrates tremendous upside in the market to grow. But these big craft brewers are not the sort of business we’re highlighting for this piece.

At the time the podcast interview was recording, Sam was in the first year of his business. Understandably, in your first year of business you should expect the lowest sales numbers since it takes time to gain traction.

According to Sam, the first year operating a brewery they generated $70,000 – $80,000 in total sales. On the bright side, each month’s sales generally got better and better, which should continue.

The other important point to keep in mind in terms of revenue is that Drumconrath Brewing Company is only open four days per week from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. If the brewery were to be open seven days a week it would immediately increase the monthly sales that would add up over the course of the year. But that’s the nice thing about being an independent business owner. Your the one that gets to set the hours of operation around your ideal lifestyle.

Sam is also able to keep expenses to a minimum due to being a one-man operation. Sam currently brews all the beer and works the tap room. Due to the combination of low labor costs and running the brewery out of a lower cost suburb, the monthly overhead for the business is very low.

At the time of recording this interview, Sam was generating sales exclusivley through his tap room. Here’s what the high-level costs and profits looks like for a batch of beer (17 kegs of beer). You can use this formula to help project the profit for your own beer.

What’s the profit margin on a batch of beer?

It will cost about $300 to make a batch of beer (ingredients only, not factoring labor costs). A batch of beer is a approximately 17 kegs of beer. We are assuming you plan to utilize standard 5-gallon keg sizes for this estimate.

You can expect to get approximately 40 (16 oz) beers from each 5-gallon keg.

So the math behind behind estimating your profit potential from a batch of beer looks like this:

40 beers X 17 kegs = 680 beers

680 beers X $5 average sales price per 16 oz. beer = $3,400 sales value per batch.  

Assumptions: 

For our profit margin estimate above we’re assuming you plan to make a beer with slightly more expensive ingredients such as an IPA. As you might expect, the costs of ingredients required to make different styles of beer will vary in cost.

You can increase profitability further by making and selling an American style light beer, which could cost under $200 for ingredients per batch. Naturally, you’ll want to run this simple formula using your own proprietary ingredients when starting out to make the estimate more accurate.

You could also increase the average profit margin of your beer by raising prices. In the example above, we assumed that you are charging only $5 per 16 oz. draft beer. That’s pretty darn cheap for a glass of beer in much of the United States. In many markets you’ll be able to charge $6 or $7 per glass.

By increasing the price of the beer by just $1 per sale (from $5 – $6), you can increase sales value of a batch of beer to $4,080! Be sure to test price points to determine the best pricing model in your area. If you do some quick research by viewing the prices of beer at other breweries you’ll get a clear understanding of what prices your market will bear.

On the flip side, you’ll need to factor the labor cost to make the beer. As you already know, the ingredients needed to make the beer are low. But the time and labor required to make an enjoyable craft beer is high. Sam has a passion for brewing and loves the craft so doing it himself this is part of the reason he got into this business. But if you don’t share that same passion for brewing you will need to plan for the expense of hiring an employee into your business plan.

Finally, keep in mind the other basic expenses and overhead that go along with operating any type of business. There will be a certain amount of product waste per keg, you’ll need to pay taxes, and rent.

Note: Sam is in talks to distribute his beer locally through restaurants and bars, which would add an additional sales channel and revenue to for the business in the coming months.

What Are the Steps Needed To Start a Brewery?

Follow these steps to start a craft brewery or brewpub:

  • Pre-Planning and Research Phase – Determine the costs to start the business, what’s your brand is going to be, you ideal customer, the styles of beer you want to specialize in, the ingredients and formulas for you beer. Determine your strategy for generating sales (sell food, tap room, distribution). This is the stage you write business plan for your micro-brewery.
  • Financing: Have an investor? Great credit? A large retirement account? After figuring out how much money you’ll need to start the brewery, it’s time to go out and raise the capital needed to make it happen. This is the point where you must decide if you’re willing to take the financial risk to start this business.
  • Finding a Location and Negotiating the Lease: Find a location that would be suitable for starting a local brewery. Try to negotiate the lease terms and price of lease. Never accept the first lease offer without countering. Tour multiple locations and note the pros and cons of each. The less you spend on monthly rent the more profit will be left over for the business.
  • Regulatory and Licenses: You will need to acquire the appropriate licenses at the federal, state, and city level to operate. Details on this in the podcast. 
  • Equipment and Build Out of Your Unit: Get the list of equipment you’ll need to start and also create a layout how everything will fit into your desired space.
  • Make First Orders – What do you need to order? All the tiny little things. List of it. Soap, soap dispensers, napkins, brewing chemicals, malt, hops, grain. These should be outlined in your business plan that you compiled in the pre-planning / research phase.
  • Make First Batches – Making the jump from home brewing to pro brewing is a challenge for many first time brewery owners. When you were a home brewer you would likely doing 15 gallon batches… now you might be do 100 gallon batches or more. When you brew 10 times bigger quantities there’s less room for error with beer recipes. For example, you can’t pitch yeast at the same rate in large batches as you could at home.
  • You’re Up and Running: You’re finally open for business. Now is when the work begins! From now one you’ll be in charge of many different functions in your business, including marketing, brewing beer, keeping customers happy, accounting / bookkeeping, cleaning, and trying to come up with creative ways to get people to visit your business.

From a time frame perspective you should be able to complete these steps within 4 months if everything goes smoothly and as planned. It took Sam about 9 months to go through the opening process due to delays with the city and paper work at the federal level. If you want to build in a buffer of time to resolve unanticipated issues or delays getting started a 6 month time frame from start to grand opening is reasonable.

Frequently Asked Questions For Aspiring Pro Brewers: 

Read This If You’re Married or In a Serious Relationship. 

If you’re married, make sure you’ve got a super supportive spouse. Over communicate why you want to open a brewery. If you don’t have it together, it may not be the right time. If you need to manage a tap room, you won’t be home in the evening a lot on weekends. It is very hard sometimes for both the entrepreneur and spouse. You’ve got to be willing to take the jump together. When you start a brewery, you’re basically having another child.

What’s the Biggest Tips for Someone Just Starting Out?

Sam recommends finding a business mentor that can help you get started. Preferably this would be someone that owned a brewery in the past.

However, if you’re not able to find someone with that specific of a skillset, anyone with experience operating a small business will do. Someone that has owned a bar or restaurant will have a lot of transferable experiences that you can learn from. Why make an already difficult journey more complex by not asking someone for help?

One specific way to start looking for a mentor or peers in the industry is to find the Brewer’s Guild for the state that you are in. This is a great way to meet other brewers and find out what strategies that are working. See if you can get hooked up with local owners.

Second, find out how much money you have can get access to. This shouldn’t take more than a week or two to figure out. Access how much personal savings you have in a checking account, stocks, savings, 401K or other retirement fund, and even figure out what you would be able and wiling to convert into cash like an unneeded car. Then figure out how big of a loan you can get either through a second mortgage or business loan. The goal is to get a clear understanding on paper of the different funds you have readily available. Starting a brewery as a business is not a low-cost endeavor. If someone claims to have a “no money” way of starting a brewery… Run the other direction!

As a general rule of thumb, stay away from investors if you are able as it will complicate your business operations in the future. Don’t take money without thinking about the longterm implications of that decision first.

Finally, keep your mind open to ways to save money when you’re getting started. Don’t take the first offer you get on a lease. Try to negotiate better terms for yourself and shop around for different locations.

When you start outfitting the brewery, look for tasks that can be completed by you or a friend. If you can buy second hand furniture and install it yourself in the tasting room go for it. Look for second-hand kegs and other equipment if you can find it. As a business owner must get into the habit of always asking for a better deal and looking for lower cost alternatives to getting things done. Each dollar you save reduces the debt burden and will helps expedite the profitability of the business.

Do small breweries a professional website? 

Sam recommends having a web presence online whether that’s through social media or a website. One of the ways that Sam plans to increase his overall revenue is by adding the sale of t-shirts, hats, and other apparel that includes his business logo. Sam cited this article in the podcast interview as a guide for giving him some creative ideas for earning income for his brewing online.

Is the craft brewing market too saturated?

This will depend on the market you’re in. If you’re in Denver, maybe the market is flooded. Smaller towns and suburbs are often an untapped gem, however.

Believe it or not, before prohibition every town had a brewery. Part of the reasoning for this occurrence is that distribution wasn’t as advanced as it is now.

Still, buying all things local when you can is a mega trend. People like to see local things succeed and enjoy regional beers. If you travel somewhere new for pleasure or work, many visitors will want to sample the regional brews they can’t get at home.

How did you decide your production capacity?

Three barrel system is the most versatile size for the money. If you put in one long day of work, you can produce two batches of beer. You could make about 4,000 barrels annually with a three-barrel system if you had some reliable part-time help. Input cost would still remain very low even with hiring employees.

Investing in a 10 barrel system would be as high as you would want to go initially and you could hit the 10,000 barrel mark which is kind of the benchmark for breweries that have “made it.”

How time consuming is it to operate a brewery?

It is time consuming. If you want to start a business it’s going to take time. I’ve got a wife and four kids so I understand the importance of being home, enjoying time with your kids, and making sure everything is good on the home front. I actually decided to close Sunday and Monday to be able to spend time with the family.

You can do this a couple days a week if you want to keep your full-time job for financial stability. You’re not going to get rich off of it as long as you’re operating part-time, but it is a good way to get started.

There is brewery in Bismarck that’s only open on Friday and Saturday. As you might expect these are the two most profitable days of the week. The business does leave money on the table by not being open every day, but this is actually the type of business you could realistically start part-time with a job and run only weekends if you wanted.

What’s a typical day like operating a craft brewery?

This is what a typical work week will look like for a small, independent brewer. As the operation grows you’ll naturally be less involved in the day-to-day operations below and more focused on increasingly sales and awareness for the business.

Brew days: 1 – 2 days per week. 

Come in and open up my brew software. Turn the water on and start filling the tank. Weigh out my grain. By then I’ll know if I need to add any salt to the water or PH adjustments. Start dumping grain and mixing it up. Do inventory, figure out what I need, order materials. Come in at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m on these days. Brewing time per day is between 6 – 8 hours.

Cleaning and Administrative Work days: 1 per week. 

Clean tanks and fermenter cleaning day. Might also clean tap room or other parts of the facility. Bookkeeping and other administrative type work could also be completed on this day.

Tap Room Days: 4 days per week

Come in during the afternoon. Count down till. Clean everything including bathrooms, pull pins on taps. Open the overhead door. Put the flags outside the building. Open for business! Often, there will be people waiting outside for the doors to open.

Should you hire a brewmaster?

This totally depends on you and what you want to spend you time on in the business. Adding an experienced brewmaster will increase your overhead significantly, which can be tough in the early days. If you got into this because you love trying, testing, and creating beers then by all means do it yourself.

A brewmaster is someone that has been to school for brewing. They have professional brewing experience and have worked in a brewery. You don’t need to be a brewmaster to start and their are plenty of smaller places that don’t have anyone with this credential on the payroll.

Do I need a business plan to start a brewery?

You will be required to have a business plan if you plan to bring on investors or want to work with a bank. This is a must have and these individuals will need insight into how you plan to operate the business. I mean, if you can’t get a business plan completed, how serious are you really about starting this business?

You should be excited at the opportunity to write a business plan. Before you open the business is when you’ll have the most time to stop and think about your vision, determine where you want to source ingredients, and develop a style of beer and brand that’s all your own.

Instead of thinking about a business plan in the same way you would think about homework at school… Think about it instead as an opportunity to get super clear on the direction of your business and how it will operate.

As mentioned during the interview there are all sorts of resources available locally, many of them free, that are setup to help new businesses and entrepreneurs develop a business plan. One way to get started is to take advantage of the free resources available from the U.S. Small Business Administration for help drafting a business plan.

What if people don’t like my beer? 

No many how many accolades your lineup of beers receive, someone will inevitably not like your beer. This feedback could come in the form of someone posting a negative comment on social media or telling it straight to your face.

While criticism can be tough to swallow it’s important to remember that most of your customers aren’t beer aficionados. What’s good beer? To the layman, they may have tried an Imperial Stout for the first time and not like the taste because it wasn’t anything like Bud Light.

One piece of advice that Sam offers is to understand your customers, target market and the region you plan to operate a brewery. In the upper Midwest, most folks still drink mass produced light beer. As a result, Sam makes sure to have a light blonde on tap at all times. It’s a continual strong seller and makes his beer assessable and desirable to a wider range of people that visit his brewery.

Keep in mind that when someone says they don’t like your beer, not to take it personally. A customer may simply not like the taste of Double IPAs so from a business perspective it’s smart to have a few different options on tap.

What Type of Person Should NOT Start a Brewery? 

If you’re not a people person this is not the job for you. If you don’t like getting to know your customers or building connections with other local businesses this isn’t going to be something you’ll enjoy. Making great beer is only one ingredient of operating a successful brewery.

What is a BBL?

When you dive into the topic of brewing beer at a deeper level you will begin to see references to BBL. BBL refers to barrels of beer. A barrel of beer is 31 gallons. The size of a brewery is often described by the annual production of barrels within the industry.

You can learn more about the classification of the size of breweries in this article from Kalispell Brewing Co.

The post How I Started a Craft Brewery for $50,000 And How You Can Do The Same. appeared first on .

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Want to start your own craft brewery without bringing on partners? Don’t think it would be possible ever start a brewhouse for sub 6-figures? Then take a look at this case study with Sam Corr, the founder of Drumconrath Brewing Company, Want to start your own craft brewery without bringing on partners? Don’t think it would be possible ever start a brewhouse for sub 6-figures? Then take a look at this case study with Sam Corr, the founder of Drumconrath Brewing Company, who proves once and for all that you don’t need an enormous loan or […] Brett Lindenberg yes 1:01:25
Questions To Ask Before Enrolling in Culinary School with Shawn Wenner https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/shawn-wenner/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 18:34:48 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=12130 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/shawn-wenner/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/shawn-wenner/feed/ 0 <p>Thinking about spending the tens of thousands of dollars and investing years of your life to obtain a culinary degree? This is a major decision requiring ten of thousands of dollars in investment and years of your time. If you’re struggling within this decision today’s guest Shawn Wenner, Founder and Publisher of Entrepreneurial Chef magazine […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/shawn-wenner/">Questions To Ask Before Enrolling in Culinary School with Shawn Wenner</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>

Shawn Wenner, Founder and Publisher of Entrepreneurial Chef.

Thinking about spending the tens of thousands of dollars and investing years of your life to obtain a culinary degree? This is a major decision requiring ten of thousands of dollars in investment and years of your time. If you’re struggling within this decision today’s guest Shawn Wenner, Founder and Publisher of Entrepreneurial Chef magazine can help you evaluate if culinary school is the right choice for you.

Prior to founding Entrepreneurial Chef, Wenner spent almost a decade working at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts before the campus in Orlando shut down. At this point, Wenner found himself at a cross roads out of a job and forced to think about to do next in his career and life.

While reflecting on his time at culinary school, Wenner recognized a common pain point students faced after graduation. Graduates would master the art of cooking during their time at the school, but didn’t have the strong foundation in business that’s essential to starting a successful restaurant, catering business, or a food product company. Students had mastered the creative side of food and cooking, but not the business and marketing aspects.

Identifying this missing piece, Wenner set out to create a learning platform and education company to help bridge the gap between being creative in the kitchen and reaching financial success.

How to Get an Annual Subscription to Entrepreneurial Chef Magazine For Free

In addition to dropping knowledge bombs on the podcast, Wenner generously offered our podcast listeners and blog readers a free annual subscription to Entrepreneurial Chef. Readers regularly pay $3.99 per issue, but you can get a full-year of the magazine for free just for being a listener of our podcast by entering the promo code below. How cool is that!

Claim your free year-long subscription to Entrepreneurial Chef by completing the three easy steps below:

Step One: Visit the Entrepreneurial Chef Subscription Page 

Step Two: Enter the promo code:  FTE18

Step Three: Enjoy a new issue of Entrepreneurial Chef magazine delivered each month. That’s it!

Claim your free annual subscription to Entrepreneurial Chef magazine by using promo code: FTE18

Is Culinary School Right for You?

This is the big question we try to answer within the episode. Whether or not enrolling in culinary school is the right choice is 100% based on your goals and personal situation. You’ll need to be totally honest and question whether this is the correct longterm decision for your life.

Here are key questions to ask yourself before enrolling in any school or training program:

Is this your true purpose or a passing interest? Some people are born knowing exactly what they want to do. Astronauts, professional athletes, and world-class chefs often fit into this category. Most folks, however, don’t have a clear vision for their life at an early age. We bounce around. We try different things. We explore and hopefully are able figure out what we enjoy and can make us a comfortable living. This is totally okay and the process most people go through.

Bottom line, if you’re still in the exploratory phase of your career, culinary school probably isn’t the right choice right now. There are faster and more affordable ways to determine whether or not this is the your path. For example, you could get employed as a line cook or even a dishwasher if you want to observe what it’s like to be a chef first hand. This will give you access to people already working in the career you’re considering. After spending 6-months in an industry job, you may discover that you love the food business and want to pursue it full-time. Or you may decide you don’t like the long hours, working weekends, or crabby customers.




 

No matter what you decide, getting a job in the industry will give you more information about the career you’re considering. It can be easy to get wrapped up into the idea of what you think being a chef would be like based on representations of the role on the Food Network. But the day-to-day of being a chef is not easy work. It’s often a decade long grind or longer for chefs to build reputations and rise to the top of their profession.

Tip: Before enrolling in culinary school, figure out if this is your true passion or interest that will fade in a few months or a couple of years.

What about the money? Attending a culinary school or any liberal arts college is going to cost money. According to this article on StudentLoanHero, there’s $1.48 trillion in U.S. student debt.

Odds are that if you attend an any institution of higher learning for 2 – 4 years, you can expect to end up with some level of debt when you finally earn that diploma. Classes, fees, books, transpiration, and basic living expenses make it hard be profitable while attending classes. Expenses quickly add up for students. The cost of attending a culinary school is something you need to take into consideration before enrolling.

Aside from the expense, you need to think about how much you expect to make after you graduate. Unlike doctors or lawyers that can rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt and pay it off after entering the workforce with a six-figure annual salary, this isn’t the norm in food service. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average chef or head cook in the United States makes $20.76 per hour or $43,180 annually pretax. Entry level cooks, even with a culinary degree, should should expect to make below average in the first year or two on the job. At this salary, a $200 – $400 monthly student loan can really cut into your quality of life.

Tip: Figure out how much you expect to pay for schooling and how much you income you plan to make after graduation.

When does culinary school make sense? There are certain high-level corporate chef positions that require a culinary degree. If your goal is to rise up through the ranks of a corporation a degree program makes sense. Otherwise, you could end up hitting a ceiling at mid-level management.

The culinary degree can also help get your foot in the door at high-end restaurants. While a degree without any real-word restaurant experience probably won’t yield you a head chef position right away, it will set you down the right path to achieving this goal.

Tip: Get clear on your personal goals.

Listen to Making The Cut on iTunes and Stitcher, a podcast with Shawn Wenner and Chris Hill.

What You’ll Learn

You can learn more about whether or not culinary school makes sense for your situation by listening to the full interview where we cover the following topics:

Is culinary school right for you? In what situations does it make sense or not make sense to attend. How long have you been thinking about this? Is this a fly by night thing?

Questions should you ask any school and background requirements of instructors and faculty.

If you’re thinking about starting any type of food business, we recommend taking advantage of the free annual subscription for Entreprenneurial Chef magazine here by entering your free the promo code FTE18. If you enjoy audio learning, you can also check out Shawn Wenner and Chris Hill’s “Making the Cut” podcast collaboration on Stitcher.

The post Questions To Ask Before Enrolling in Culinary School with Shawn Wenner appeared first on .

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Thinking about spending the tens of thousands of dollars and investing years of your life to obtain a culinary degree? This is a major decision requiring ten of thousands of dollars in investment and years of your time. Thinking about spending the tens of thousands of dollars and investing years of your life to obtain a culinary degree? This is a major decision requiring ten of thousands of dollars in investment and years of your time. If you’re struggling within this decision today’s guest Shawn Wenner, Founder and Publisher of Entrepreneurial Chef magazine […] Brett Lindenberg yes 24:09
How to Start a Small Gelato Shop Business with Evan Waldt | FTE Episode 109 https://foodtruckempire.com/how-to/gelato-shop/ Fri, 23 Feb 2018 17:41:54 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=11941 https://foodtruckempire.com/how-to/gelato-shop/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/how-to/gelato-shop/feed/ 0 <p>Thinking about starting a gelato shop in your town? You’ll want to tune into this week’s interview and take notes from Evan Waldt. Waldt helped start and operate an independent gelato shop in Florida. The shop was later sold so he could head up the Slices Concession West, a company that specializes in ice cream equipment […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/how-to/gelato-shop/">How to Start a Small Gelato Shop Business with Evan Waldt | FTE Episode 109</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Thinking about starting a gelato shop in your town? You’ll want to tune into this week’s interview and take notes from Evan Waldt. Waldt helped start and operate an independent gelato shop in Florida. The shop was later sold so he could head up the Slices Concession West, a company that specializes in ice cream equipment and education. As the Managing Member of Slices Concession West, Evan is someone with a wealth of experience in both the operations of a gelato shop and the equipment required to run this type of business.

The goal of our conversation with Waldt is to give you a foundation on how to start your own gelato shop. As you may already know this is a big topic and we won’t be able to get to every aspect of opening a storefront inside a 30-minute episode. That being said this podcast will give you solid starting point for the rest of your research and specific tips to set yourself up for success.

How to Open a Gelato Shop

You have the vision of creating a one-of-a-kind gelato shop, but where do you begin? Like all businesses, it all starts with due diligence to make sure you’re starting the right gelato shop in the right area of town that will allow you to be profitable. Even the best retail concepts don’t work if you’re not in the right location.




A great place to start is to find the right location for your gelato business. When it comes to gelato, you want to be in a location with plenty of foot traffic. That means you’ll want to start identifying areas and building a list of places that people congregate regularly within your city. Popular options to start any frozen desert business includes shopping malls, nearby or on college campuses, strip malls, local attractions, or tourist areas with lots of little small shops that people like to walk and browse. You need to deeply understand your market and the options that are available.

During the podcast, Waldt shares a key tip you can take to ensure a prospective location has sufficient traffic.

One of Waldt’s partners sat in front of a prospective storefront for two days to record the number of people that passed by. After two days, his partner was able correctly access they had a quality location to open up shop.

This is an invaluable tip that you can apply to your business in the research phase. Don’t take a leasing representatives word on the amount of foot traffic you should expect at any location. These estimates will always be optimistic at best.

Remember… Your savings and business future is going to be tied to the location you select. You owe it to do everything in your control to make this work. We also recommend documenting traffic in different days of the week and time of the day. It’s normal for a location to be busier on weekends than weekdays, but it’s something you’ll want to be aware of and build into your business plan estimates.

A gelato shop inside a Whole Foods. Photo Credit: Pinterest

Characteristics of a Profitable Storefront 

Here are some of the four key qualities you should look for when on your search to find the right gelato shop. As Waldt noted in the podcast interview, “You can have amazing product. Amazing service. But if your location doesn’t work it’s an uphill battle from the beginning.”

Foot traffic… The importance of this one was covered previously.

Voltage requirements… A lot of folks think you can just plug in a gelato machine anywhere and get to work. This isn’t always the case. Commercial grade gelato machines require more electricity to operate. The specific requirement is 3-phase power. Inside a regular household you’ll usually find 220v power outlets. This is not a sufficient voltage for many machines. Of course you’ll want to refer to your users manual for specific guidelines on what your machines need.

If you’re not sure what any of this means, we recommend hiring an electrician to review your space. An experienced electrician will be able to enter your property and identify what you’ll need and what the cost to install 3-phase power in under and hour.

Sun… You may not think that sun would be a factor in determining your location, but it is. Direct sunlight will have major implications to the quality of gelato when it’s stored inside a glass dipping cabinet. This direct sunlight can create sweating, defrosting or a type of freezer burn like gelato. Bottom line, this is something you’ll need to consider when opening a location. Sunlight into your store can be welcoming and is a great thing. Just make sure the rays won’t be directly on your product.

Different cities have different styles… This goes back to your research and due diligence. You’ll want to identify the types of flavors and deserts that are already profitable and working in your city. Usually, you don’t want to reinvent the wheel here. Offer flavors that people already want and are in demand. Mint, chocolate, vanilla, and pistachio are traditional flavors that are recommended. Here’s a list of even more gelato flavors to consider.

Understand your market before opening a gelato or ice cream shop.

Figuring out What Works in Your Market

As artisan gelato makers, you may be inclined to produce really interesting and outside the box flavors. Avocado and watermelon basil flavors immediately come to mind when considering more creative options. While these adventurous flavors can work in some markets, they won’t work in others. Sometimes people just want a plain old high-quality chocolate or vanilla flavor. And if that’s what your market wants, as a business owner it’s important to  serve that demand. Your customers may return a second or third time to try some of the more unique options.

To find out if you have a product that people want and are willing to pay for, basic market research and testing is recommended. The easiest place to start is with your friends and family. Give your friends and family some free samples and ask what they think or what flavors the enjoyed the most. While feedback from your mom or cousin will probably be positive, it’s a simple way to get feedback on what flavors are most desirable to a mass audience.

After your family members have sample the product, it’s time to test your ideas in front of a less biased audience. This can be accomplished in a few different creative ways. You could offer to give free samples at your church or a fundraising event. Anyone that tries your frozen desert could be asked to provide feedback on an anonymous response card. This is an effective and low-cost way to get legitimate feedback about your flavors and style. Make sure that any responses are truly anonymous so that you can get people’s true opinions.

While asking for honest feedback from strangers can be open you up to criticism that can sting don’t let that hold you back. A much worse feeling would be to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into a business idea that’s unlikely to work. Get feedback early on when it’s easier to change-up your offerings.

How much will it cost to start a gelato shop? What are the expenses?

Batch Freezer – This is the most expensive piece of equipment you’ll purchase for a gelato business. A batch freezer allows you to produce large quantities of frozen deserts like ice cream, frozen custard, and gelato too. This is the piece of equipment that actually makes the gelato and that you will dispense into a pan, bucket, or other container.

New batch freezers cost between $22,000 – $35,000 depending on the model. If you want to reduce your initial investment purchasing a high-quality preowned batch freezer from Slices Concession will cost about $8,000 – $15,000 on average. You can learn more about batch freezers and see a list of recommended batch freezer models here.

Blast Freezer – This piece of equipment will cost around $15,000 brand new. After you dispense product from the batch freezer as described above, you’ll immediately place the product into a blast freezer. A blast freezer allows you to cool your frozen deserts as quickly as possible and prevent’s crystallization of product. The quicker you’re able to get your gelato or ice cream into a blast freezer the less of this crystallization will appear on the product. Crystallization is not good because it will result in a gritty feeling final product that’s not ideal to serve.

Blast freezers are sometimes referred to as “shock freezers” because of how quickly they bring down the temperature of product. Depending on the model you choose, blast freezes can get as cold as -49 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dipping Cabinet – Finally, you’ll place your gelato into a dipping cabinet when it’s ready to serve and display to customers. This is the clear style glass dipping cabinet that allows customers to view the gelato. We eat with our eyes first! Take care when you install these because after they’re installed, they can be very difficult to move.

Glass dipping cabinet.

Wages – One major business decision you will need to make is whether or not to hire a full-time store manager early on. Hiring a manager will require between $4,000 – $6,000 typically. That’s a lot of gelato sales to be able to recoup this line item.

If you plan to own and operate the store initially this will significantly reduce the amount of revenue you need to bring in during the early days. When you’re just starting out this can be a good option to help you learn the business. Keep in mind that there’s an opportunity cost to self managing, however. You’ll have less time to market your business and develop relationships if you’re working in the shop for 60 hours a week.

Leasing a Space – According to a survey from RestaurantOwner.com, you should expect to pay $3,000 on the low end and $8,750 on the high end. Of course, you’ll need to contact property managers in your specific area to get rates for areas that you’re considering.

Capital Reserves – There’s a perception new businesses become profitable immediately upon opening their doors. Sadly, this is not how things typically work. You’ll want to plan for a few months of breaking even or even losing money when starting this type of business. Ideally, you’ll have 6 months of cash reserves before opening up shop. This will provide a buffer for those lean early months before local customers have discovered your business.

There will of course be other variable costs that will depend on your goals that need to be factored into a business plan. Some common variable expenses include cooking equipment, soda machines, a cash register, lighting and dining room furniture.

How much revenue will a gelato shop make annually?

Everyone’s market, product, marketing expertise, and work ethic will determine this number. With that being said we did ask Waldt during the interview how much you could expect to make annually as a gelato shop owner. For one location $400,000 in annual gross sales would be a realistic goal to aim for. Of that $400,000 in revenue, you could expect roughly $100,000 in profit per year. This is assumes you are owning and managing the store yourself and not hiring out a store manager. This is also a year three or four goal for business, not year one.

Keep in mind that your sales and revenue will vary, but we wanted to get you a estimate for expectation business planning purposes.

Determine Your Frozen Desert Sales. Photo Credit: DailyMail.co.uk

Local Marketing Tips for Gelato Shops

After you open the doors to your artisan gelato shop, you’ll need to get the word out about your new business within the community. You will accomplish this by developing a marketing strategy. Admittedly the marketing aspect of operating a gelato shop can be a difficult aspect of operating a successful business to grasp. There are so many marketing / advertising options out there that it can become overwhelming.

In our interview, Waldt shares some specific strategies that have worked well for other ice cream business and frozen desert shops. Many of these require a small amount of advertising investment so these are ideal for owners on a budget. Here are some of the strategies outlined during the conversation:

Coupons – One battle tested way to attract new customers is to offer them a coupon or discount. Within a one mile radius of your store front, deliver as many coupons to people doorsteps as possible. Visiting residential areas and apartment buildings are recommended when using this approach.  You can save a lot of money by delivering these coupons yourself instead of using the post office.

Partnerships – Find creative ways to partner with other business. One unique way would be to include to partner with a local coffee shops to create a coffee flavored gelato. This type of event would help you build a relationship with another small business owner and allow you to tap into their existing customer base. This kind of creative activity costs almost nothing aside from your time and a small amount of free product.

Fundraising / Charitable Groups – Schools, churches and non-profits are always looking for new ways to raise money for their cause. By splitting a portion of the revenue you make at some of these organizations events is another way to get your foot in the door, generate sales, and raise awareness for your business.

Leverage Employee Skills – Odds are you’ll be hiring lower wage and younger employees for your shop. Take advantage of this when you can. If you happen to hire a college student they may have a better understanding on how to manage social media profiles on Instagram or Facebook. During slow periods, delegate social media posting and participation to your employees that have interest in that area. Your employees may thank you for the opportunity!

We hope this post has given you the knowledge needed to help you open a thriving gelato business. If you have any specific questions about starting or owning this type of business, feel free to ask in the comments section below. We will do our best to get you a helpful answer.

The post How to Start a Small Gelato Shop Business with Evan Waldt | FTE Episode 109 appeared first on .

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Thinking about starting a gelato shop in your town? You’ll want to tune into this week’s interview and take notes from Evan Waldt. Waldt helped start and operate an independent gelato shop in Florida. The shop was later sold so he could head up the Sli... Thinking about starting a gelato shop in your town? You’ll want to tune into this week’s interview and take notes from Evan Waldt. Waldt helped start and operate an independent gelato shop in Florida. The shop was later sold so he could head up the Slices Concession West, a company that specializes in ice cream equipment […] Brett Lindenberg yes 25:59
How Dave Krolak Started the Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck https://foodtruckempire.com/interviews/polish/ Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:07:30 +0000 https://foodtruckempire.com/?p=11082 https://foodtruckempire.com/interviews/polish/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/interviews/polish/feed/ 0 <p>Today’s featured guest is Dave Krolak of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa food truck. Dave and his wife Lynn started their Polish restaurant on wheels in early 2017 and their business has been growing quickly ever since. Dave got the idea to start a food truck while attending an event that featured a half-dozen different Italian […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/interviews/polish/">How Dave Krolak Started the Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Today’s featured guest is Dave Krolak of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa food truck. Dave and his wife Lynn started their Polish restaurant on wheels in early 2017 and their business has been growing quickly ever since.

Dave got the idea to start a food truck while attending an event that featured a half-dozen different Italian vendors selling different varieties of sausage and meatball sandwiches. What stuck out to him was that there didn’t seem to be anything that represented his Polish heritage. It was a “crazy idea” that could have been easily forgotten. But Dave decided not to let the idea pass. After getting buy in from his wife and partner Lynn, the husband and wife team quickly started to put their business into motion.

Selecting the menu for the truck was easy. Dave drew the menu directly from the tastes of his childhood. Dave’s father, Casimir J. Krolak or “Cas”, was a Polish-American WWII veteran that maintained a love of Polish food and polka music his entire life. The truck has become a tribute to his memory as well.

In addition to serving authentic Polish food, it was important to Dave that the food is prepared and served in the traditional way. Listen to the full podcast interview to learn the full story. If you happen to live in New Jersey, check their website to see where the truck will be serving next!




A heaping plate of Pierogi and Kielbasa.

Quotes From The Show

In life we think about things from time to time, you get an idea and think “Oh, we should run with that!” and then a week later or two weeks later it fades away. Well this kept hitting me. – Dave Krolak on the idea to start a Polish food truck.

To find somebody in the industry that’s friendly and successful and ask them to give you their advice. I would say that’s a good way to start. – Dave Krolak on the importance of finding a business mentor. 

Almost every week we had pierogi and kielbasa as a staple meal just like Italian folks have spaghetti or lasagna. – Dave Krolak on using family recipes to create his food truck’s menu.

You really need to have a menu that’s going to separate you from the other folks. – Dave Krolak on the importance of menu development. 

Coming up with a good menu that people are going to be excited about and want to try. Then making sure that you are seeing that people know about you and I talk about it every place I can. – Dave Krolak on running a successful food truck. 

The official headquarters of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck.

Mentioned in the Show

Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck – This week’s featured interview is with Dave Krolak, owner of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck out of Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Dave started the truck in 2017 with his partner and wife Lynn.

Small Business Development Center – Non-profit organization that offers advice and training for people interested in starting a new business free of charge. Dave got valuable feedback about his mobile food business here and recommends the organization to others.

Johnny’s Pork Roll – This is a popular food truck in New Jersey area serving pork rolls, basically a type of breakfast sandwich that you can enjoy all day long. John, the owner of Johnny’s Pork Roll, has been one of Dave’s business mentors.

Monmouth Beach Food Truck Takeover – If you happen to live in the New Jersey, you can taste Johnny’s Pork Roll and Cas’ Pierogi and Kielbasi at this awesome event.

Food Truck Academy Interest Form – Dave was in the last Food Truck Academy program launched in early 2017. Interested in starting your own food truck? Sign up to be informed when Food Truck Academy will open up next in October, 2017.

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The post How Dave Krolak Started the Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa Food Truck appeared first on .

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Today’s featured guest is Dave Krolak of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa food truck. Dave and his wife Lynn started their Polish restaurant on wheels in early 2017 and their business has been growing quickly ever since. Today’s featured guest is Dave Krolak of Cas’ Pierogi & Kielbasa food truck. Dave and his wife Lynn started their Polish restaurant on wheels in early 2017 and their business has been growing quickly ever since. Dave got the idea to start a food truck while attending an event that featured a half-dozen different Italian […] Brett Lindenberg yes 42:24
Food Booth Vendor with 20+ Years Experience Shares Concession Sales Secrets https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/food-booth-vendor-secrets/ Thu, 03 Aug 2017 20:44:01 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=10697 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/food-booth-vendor-secrets/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/food-booth-vendor-secrets/feed/ 0 <p>Believe it or not old school food booth vendors understand what they’re doing when it comes to making money. This interview should be required listening for anyone that owns a food business. If you own a restaurant, concession trailer, food truck or cart following the advice passed on by this concession veteran will make you […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/food-booth-vendor-secrets/">Food Booth Vendor with 20+ Years Experience Shares Concession Sales Secrets</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p> Believe it or not old school food booth vendors understand what they’re doing when it comes to making money. This interview should be required listening for anyone that owns a food business. If you own a restaurant, concession trailer, food truck or cart following the advice passed on by this concession veteran will make you more money.

This program is also a lesson in not judging a book by it’s cover. You might think that the typical concession worker is just trying to make ends meet with their business, but that’s not always the case. As you’ll learn in this conversation, some of these entrepreneurs are quietly building large concession empires that routinely hit $20,000 – $40,000 in gross monthly revenue depending on the month.

Why Hire a Local Vendor Share Their Secrets?

A little background to this interview. I’m currently in the research phase to start my own mobile food business. One of the finalists ideas is a popcorn or kettle corn business. You can learn more about advantages of  why I like this particular business in this podcast. Since this business is on my short list, I thought it would be beneficial to go out and talk to one of the most popular kettle corn business man or woman in my area. I wanted to find someone that already understood the area, the demand for this product, what the best places to vend are and general information about getting licensed in my area.

To find someone that sold kettle corn locally was not hard. I conducted two Google searches for kettle corn vendor + my town name and found a couple different businesses on Facebook that looked legit and popular. I sent these individuals a message that were two sentences in length. I let them know I wanted to learn more about the business. I wanted to pay them for consulting. One of the business owners responded by stating he charged $100 for a one hour conversation. I agreed. We planned to meet at a local Starbucks to discuss the business. This podcast is the recording of our discussion. I have not mentioned the name of this specific vendor and the business by their request, but was given permission to record the conversation.

Dave Krolak, owner and chef of the super successful Pierogi Food Truck in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, took a similar approach when he got started that I thought was brilliant. Dave reached out to one of the most successful food truck operators in his area and offered to compensate him a few thousand dollars to spend time with him, learn his business, and form a relationship. This straight-forward approach helped fast-tracked the relationship and get Pierogi Food Truck off to a fast start. It may have even helped them win a 2nd place trophy at their first ever food truck event with a total of 28 trucks!

You can view a photo of customers lining up in front of Dave’s truck below. If you happen to live with 400 miles of Basking Ridge definitely hit them up. You could even hire out the truck for your next Eastern-European themed party or wedding. Dave was also in the most recent class of Food Truck Academy and he is a really great guy so I recommend saying hello as well!

pierogi-truck

People love pierogis.

Our Conversation

As mentioned earlier, I met this experienced vendor at a nearby Starbucks during the middle of the week. You’ll notice the background music / noise in this recording that I wasn’t able to get removed from the audio so apologize for that. This was recorded straight from my iPhone. The music does get a bit annoying, but the audio overall is good.

Although I didn’t realize it when I booked the meeting this was not your average food booth vendor with a single location and kettle corn tent hanging up his shingle. This is someone that over the past 20 years has built up a food stand business that served between 20 – 30 farmers markets weekly. Obviously this volume of events makes it impossible to handle as a solo operator. This entrepreneur hired out numerous part-time employees, including family members and his teenage kids to vend at different farmer’s markets and events in 100 mile radius of his home base.

Based on the revenue generated from this business, this outwardly simple concession stand owner had used his business profits to go and invest in different real estate like homes and apartment buildings outside of the state. A semi-passive real estate portfolio is something most folks wouldn’t expect to be the result of a concession business.

Lessons Learned

Below is a summary of the key takeaways from our conversation. Listen to the full audio for all the details. As mentioned earlier, the insights were well worth the $100 invested and could have potentially taken me years to learn on my own.

Diversifying Your Product Line: One major takeaway from our conversation was to think about ways to diversify your product offerings. You can never be really sure what product is going to be popular at a certain event. This vendor has a variety of different concession stand options that sell everything from kettle corn to hotdogs, burgers, lemonade, funnel cake and more. He has definitely implemented his own advice with his business.

I had reached out to this individual for advice operating a kettle corn business. One of the suggestions he had for my particular situation was to think about a drink or line of drinks to sell as well. We live in Southern California so there are a lot of hot days, especially during the summer months when many of the events are held. He recommended looking at a specialty flavor of ice tea. Tea has a very high-profit margin and is enjoyed by more than one half of the population each day according to TeaUSA.com. At a macro level, the ready to drink tea category increased by 4% in 2016 per the same source. This is also a simple product to make and I will be taking his advise to heart. I think this is the perfect complimentary product to popcorn as well.

One other example this entrepreneur cited was the business of Starbucks. This business started out by offering coffee as it’s main product. But has since branched out into other offerings like tea, breakfast sandwiches, lunch and even experimented with selling beer and wine in test locations. Although Starbucks is operating at much larger scale, the principal remains the same. If you offer more products, you have the opportunity to serve a wider range of customers with different tastes and sell high-average tickets to each customer.

Pricing Your Product: Don’t be afraid to change the price of your product depending on where you’re vending. Sometimes you may be able to charge as much as $10 for a single bag of kettle corn. Other times, if you’re vending at a flea market that attracts lower income people, you might have a difficult time charging $4.00 for that same bag. When you go out you want to charge the maximum you can for the product. Don’t feel bad about charging prices on the higher end of the scale and look for events where you can do this. Charging more will ensure you’re highly profitable, can hire staff, grow and reinvest into your business if that is the goal.

trophy

2017 East Hanover PBA Food Truck Festival Trophy Won by The Pierogi Food Truck.

Scaling a Food Business: Not all concession vendors stay small. The entrepreneur featured in this interview grew his business by selling more products in a wider range of locations. This is one way to grow revenue even when you’re not present at an event yourself! But there are some other local guys that started with a small concession business and went on to build a nationally recognized popcorn brand that you can buy at Costco and other stores. Scaling into retail sales will require a manufacturing facility, equipment, and a lot of investment capital. But you can establish your foothold in the local market with a booth or a food truck in the beginning with the long-term goal of establishing a larger business.

Understanding Your Local Market: Every market is different. What people enjoy doing and like to eat will vary depending on location. From a rules and regulation standpoint this is even more true for food trucks or carts. Each city you vend in may have different rules and requirements to serve food legally. A deeper understanding of some of the locations that are profitable and how to navigate local laws was hugely valuable and a massive time saver. Some great common sense advise for equipment you need to buy or not bring to events. The subtle legal distinction between temporary food facilities (TFF) versus food trucks is also explained. Some of the conversation focuses on the permits needed to vend in different counties / cities within Southern California and may not be applicable to your specific situation.

Equipment You Should Buy: Being off-the-grid can have it’s advantages. If you invest in the right equipment, you can avoid paying higher event registration fees or even get a more desirable location at an event. Many vendors will need to plugin to an electrical source of power at an event. If you own your own generator and can operate without assistance both in terms of power, water, or anything else you increase your vending options. For example, you might find that a certain spot at an event is shaded and has a high-volume of traffic. As long as the event planner allows it you’ll be able to position your trailer or booth appropriately in a spot that will maximize sales.

Bottom line: If you want to be successful in a particular business a great way to fast-track your journey toward success is to get around people that are already doing the things that you aspire to accomplish. One simple way to get around and learn from these people is to reach out to them and offer to pay them for their time and expertise. Not only is this approach a huge time saver for you, but it’s a terrific way to start a new relationship.

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The post Food Booth Vendor with 20+ Years Experience Shares Concession Sales Secrets appeared first on .

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Believe it or not old school food booth vendors understand what they’re doing when it comes to making money. This interview should be required listening for anyone that owns a food business. If you own a restaurant, concession trailer, Believe it or not old school food booth vendors understand what they’re doing when it comes to making money. This interview should be required listening for anyone that owns a food business. If you own a restaurant, concession trailer, food truck or cart following the advice passed on by this concession veteran will make you […] Brett Lindenberg yes 58:45
How to Go from Novice to Become a True BBQ Pitmaster | FTE Episode 106 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/pitmaster/ Fri, 10 Feb 2017 04:08:20 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9497 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/pitmaster/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/pitmaster/feed/ 0 <p>Want to become a master of grilled meats? A sultan of the smoked arts? A renowned pit master? Well then today’s interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s BBQ Revenge is for you. Over the past decade, Chiles has gone from newbie with nothing no more than a casual knowledge of barbecue to becoming an up-and-coming […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/pitmaster/">How to Go from Novice to Become a True BBQ Pitmaster | FTE Episode 106</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
Chiles Cridlin

Today’s Featured Guest Chiles Cridlin.

Want to become a master of grilled meats? A sultan of the smoked arts? A renowned pit master? Well then today’s interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s BBQ Revenge is for you.

Over the past decade, Chiles has gone from newbie with nothing no more than a casual knowledge of barbecue to becoming an up-and-coming team in the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) rankings, which is the largest organization of grilling enthusiasts in the world with over 20,000 members.

So what is Chile’s secret to becoming a regarded by his peers as a pitmaster in such a short time period? Well, like most skill sets, there really is no secret. Chiles has dedicated himself to becoming a true student of the barbeque arts. In 2016, Chiles attended six classes on the topic in addition to participating in over 20 different competitive events. Join me in welcoming Chiles to the program!

What You’ll Learn

  • The importance of studying and being an on-going student if you want to reach the top of your craft.
  • Some of the regional nuances of BBQ. What they do in Florida might be a little bit different than what they do in Georgia or Tennessee.
  • The importance of understanding what judges are looking for and like when participating in a cooking competition.
  • The importance of mastering the cooking of a chicken breast in competition. It can be difficult to grill juicy and tender white-meat chicken breasts.
  • The importance of not just being an exceptional cook, but having a good personality when attending a BBQ competition.
  • Learn how to find your own signature flavors and style of BBQ. Also, get an understanding of the different BBQ cooking scenarios: competition BBQ, catering, or for friends and family.
  • Tips for finding spices, rubs and other BBQ products even if you’re just a beginner.
  • When it comes to finding the right wood, you should go with something that is local, fresh and easy to get. Chiles likes hickory when available for an additional punch.
  • Why a thermal pin is one of the best tools you can keep nearby when cooking meats.
  • Why Chiles recommends getting signed up as a just through the Kansas City Barbeque Society as a judge to get a fast and cheap education on cooking great BBQ.

 

smoked ribs

Finger lickin’ ribs from Wolf’s Revenge BBQ.

Quotes From The Show

It’s a lot of work, but man it’s a lot of fun. – Chiles Cridlin on being a competitive BBQ contender.  

When I first got started, I had no idea what competition barbeque was like. Most people think barbeque is what they grew up on. If you grew up in North Carolina you’re used to this, if you grew up in Memphis you’re used to that. – Chiles Cridlin on how barbeque styles differ depending on region. 

At a class you get to say “hi” to everybody, you get to be social. Somebody else is in charge, you’re not nervous. A class is less expensive than a competition. A competition is going to run you about $1,000 by the time you take the day off work, buy all your meats and travel.  – Chiles on the benefits and ease of taking a class to grow your skills. 

Judges know the chew they’re looking for. They’re looking for that pork taste. They’re looking for moisture so if it takes more than 2 or 3 bites to dissolve in their mouth then maybe it’s not done enough. – Chiles on just a few of the specific elements a judge will evaluate on your meats. 

Mentioned in the Podcast

Wolf’s Revenge BBQ – Competitive BBQ team of today’s featured guest Chiles Cridlin. Listen to Chile’s previous interview on our podcast here.

Custom Concessions USAcustom concessions – This is where Chiles went to have his BBQ trailer manufactured. This company comes highly recommended by Chiles.

Myron Mixon BBQ Cooking School – This is the first class BBQ Chiles ever took. This class covered topics like how to cook a whole hog, different types of contests, and different sauces and rubs you can use. After taking this class, Chiles went from middle of the pack in competition BBQ contest to getting second place in his next competition by applying what he learned.

Johnny Trigg – Often referred to as the “Godfather of BBQ.” This is another pitmaster that Chiles has learned from through a class.

Victory Lane BBQ – Heath Riles of Victory Lane BBQ is another team that is highly respected on the competitive circuit.

Checkered Flag 500 BBQ Team – Chiles also took this class from Mark Gibbs and recommended it to anyone that wants to improve their BBQ skills.

Wicked Good Barbecue – You can pick this book up for under $20 on Amazon.com. Chiles used one of the recipes out of this book at a big competition in North Carolina and placed in the top five with it.

The post How to Go from Novice to Become a True BBQ Pitmaster | FTE Episode 106 appeared first on .

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Want to become a master of grilled meats? A sultan of the smoked arts? A renowned pit master? Well then today’s interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s BBQ Revenge is for you. Over the past decade, Chiles has gone from newbie with nothing no more than ... Want to become a master of grilled meats? A sultan of the smoked arts? A renowned pit master? Well then today’s interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s BBQ Revenge is for you. Over the past decade, Chiles has gone from newbie with nothing no more than a casual knowledge of barbecue to becoming an up-and-coming […] Brett Lindenberg yes 27:25
Review and Interview with KarmaBox Vending Founder A.J. MacQuarrie | FTE Episode 105 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/karmabox/ Fri, 27 Jan 2017 05:03:28 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9384 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/karmabox/#comments https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/karmabox/feed/ 1 <p>In episode 105 of the podcast, we sit down with the founder of KarmaBox Vending A.J. MacQuarrie to discuss the business opportunity of healthy vending. KarmaBox Vending is one of the first companies that began to offer healthy snacks, beverages, and care products via vending machines. The concept for A.J.’s business started back in his […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/karmabox/">Review and Interview with KarmaBox Vending Founder A.J. MacQuarrie | FTE Episode 105</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
Founder of KarmaBox Vending, A.J. MacQuarrie

Founder of KarmaBox Vending, A.J. MacQuarrie

In episode 105 of the podcast, we sit down with the founder of KarmaBox Vending A.J. MacQuarrie to discuss the business opportunity of healthy vending. KarmaBox Vending is one of the first companies that began to offer healthy snacks, beverages, and care products via vending machines.

The concept for A.J.’s business started back in his dorm room where junk food seemed to be everywhere, but healthy options were hard to come by. Later A.J. went on to create a healthy vending machine business called KarmaBox Vending to solve the problem of being able to find healthy snack options anywhere.

Today, we speak with A.J. not only about how he started his company, but also the opportunity healthy vending presents to entrepreneurs. Click the play button on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.

Revenue Expectations

When evaluating any type of business opportunity one of the big questions that naturally stands out is: What’s the revenue potential of this business model? Of course, how much income you generate depends on a variety of factors like what products you decide to sell in your machines, where your vending machines are located, how much optimization you do to ensure you have the right products in the right locations, and a variety of other factors. Now that we have all the disclaimers out of the way here’s what A.J. looks for in a respectable range for a vending location:

  • 10 – 25 vends per day, per vending machine.
  • Net profit of about $1.00 per transaction. You price products with enough margin to make about $1.00 in net profit per transaction.
  • $10 – $25 in net profit per day per location

Conservative Monthly Net Revenue Estimate (Monthly) with a single healthy vending machine: $300

Conservative Monthly Net Revenue Estimate (Monthly) with five KarmaBoxes: $1,500

Conservative Monthly Net Revenue Estimate (Monthly) with ten vending locations: $3,000

KarmaBox Vending recommends that you start out with a minimum of 5 vending machines when you’re starting a business. This gives you the opportunity to give this business a legitimate try and really gives you the sense of what operating this type of business will be like.

There are a couple reasons KarmaBox recommends starting with 5 locations minimum. First, if you only start out with a single vending machine the revenue numbers just aren’t going to be that exciting. If you’re netting $10.00 per day in profit from one machine you would be netting around $3,500 in a single year. This might not be exciting enough for some entrepreneurs and they may not put their full effort into growing the business on such a small scale. As A.J. explains during the interview, vending machines are a numbers game. The more you have out there generating sales the more income you will make.

The second reason is that you should expect to test out different locations to see where you can generate the highest number of transactions in your region. Although vending can become a largely passive business, you should view this business more of a process than a setup and forget it business model. Some of the vending machines that you setup will generate an consistent and attractive number of transactions straight away. Others you may determine need to be moved to a better location.

Karma Boxes

Examples of KarmaBoxes.

Cost to Get Started

Be sure to contact the folks at MyKarmaBox.com for up-to-date prices to invest in this opportunity. With that being said, at the time of this interview you could acquire ten KarmaBoxes (healthy vending machines) for around $74,000. In addition to the Made-in-America vending machines, A.J. MacQuarrie will also fly out to your location to provide hands-on training and ensure you’re ready to be a successful vending machine operator. KarmaBox Vending will also help you source and secure a location for each of your vending machines. As a first-time operator this could be an extremely valuable benefit.

If you want to start out smaller with only five KarmaBoxes the price to get started would be roughly $37,000.




Typical Day in the Life of a Healthy Vending Operator

So what will you’re day look like as a vending machine operator? As A.J. points out in the interview, if you start out with ten machines you should expect to work about 10 – 14 hours per week on the business. Your activities each week will include the following basic tasks:

Monitor Inventory – One thing that makes this business opportunity attractive is that you can track your sales and inventory from the comfort of your home. Each vending machine will send inventory and sales number directly to you the business owner each day. This allows you to track your sales without the need to go to each location. If you see that a certain location didn’t get any sales on a particular day, you can conduct an on-site visit to evaluate further. This is not your grandfather’s vending machine operation!

Restock Machines – You will want to make sure there’s plenty of healthy drinks and snacks for customers to buy from your vending machines. If you don’t keep your machine well stocked, you’ll be missing out on easy sales and not realizing the full value of your business.

Source Products – Another nice aspect of this business model is that you have flexibility to be able to stock your vending machine with any healthy product you like since this is a business opportunity and not a franchise model. Pop Chips, Terra Chips, KIND Bars, Cliff Bars, Fruit Snacks, apples, or juices could all be added based on the owners preference and the regional market’s demand. You can put at least 230 snacks or 150 drinks into each KarmaBox. The total number of snacks / beverages depends based on the specific vending machine you purchase. Some of the best places to start your search for vending products are places like Costco or Amazon.com.

Commute – You will need to drive to all your different locations to stock the snacks and beverages into your machines. If the machines are located close to your home this commute can be short and sweet. If you’re placing these machines far from the home base you will need to build that drive into your weekly hour expectations.  If you live in or near just about any suburban area, you should have plenty of locations you could place a healthy vending machine.

Quotes from the Show

You’re not stuck and tied to one location. If it’s like oh this area is not working well, let’s drive down the block. – A.J. MacQuarrie on some of the advantages of a vending machine business. 

I think the beauty of this business is that it is kind of a part-time business or it can be initially. You can get your feet wet with say ten KarmaBoxes, ten vending machines. And if you have ten vending machines it’s not going to take up too much of your time, maybe 10 – 14 hours per week tops. – A.J. MacQuarrie on the time commitment of this business model.  

Mentioned in Today’s Episode

KarmaBox Vending – The official website of this boutique healthy vending business opportunity based out of San Diego, California.

Launchpad Nation – This is A.J. MacQuarrie’s latest venture where he teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how to start a business. Check out the website to sign up for one of his future workshops.

Franchising – Franchise versus business opportunity was discussed a lot during the show. Check out the Wikipedia article for more information about the distinctions between these two entities.

Vending Machines – Learn more about where to source vending machines in this post.

The post Review and Interview with KarmaBox Vending Founder A.J. MacQuarrie | FTE Episode 105 appeared first on .

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In episode 105 of the podcast, we sit down with the founder of KarmaBox Vending A.J. MacQuarrie to discuss the business opportunity of healthy vending. KarmaBox Vending is one of the first companies that began to offer healthy snacks, beverages, In episode 105 of the podcast, we sit down with the founder of KarmaBox Vending A.J. MacQuarrie to discuss the business opportunity of healthy vending. KarmaBox Vending is one of the first companies that began to offer healthy snacks, beverages, and care products via vending machines. The concept for A.J.’s business started back in his […] Brett Lindenberg yes 44:01
How Much Does It Cost to Open & Operate a Shaved Ice Stand? | FTE Episode 104 https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/open-operate/ Sun, 15 Jan 2017 06:47:48 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9315 https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/open-operate/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/open-operate/feed/ 0 <p>In part 2 of our interview with Rosanne Buzai of Snowy Joey we dig deep into what it costs to start and operate a shaved ice business. We also discuss how to differentiate your business and the serious question you need to ask yourself before starting this type of business. Answering this question honestly could […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/open-operate/">How Much Does It Cost to Open & Operate a Shaved Ice Stand? | FTE Episode 104</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
snow cone syrups

Snow Cone Syrups Photo Credit: Pinterest

In part 2 of our interview with Rosanne Buzai of Snowy Joey we dig deep into what it costs to start and operate a shaved ice business. We also discuss how to differentiate your business and the serious question you need to ask yourself before starting this type of business. Answering this question honestly could be the different between the success and failure of your future stand.

If you haven’t heard part 1 of this interview yet, click here.

Average Cost to Open a Shaved Ice Business: 

Primary Equipment Needs:

  • Shaved Ice Machine – $1,000 – $3,000
  • Flavor Syrups (Initial Inventory) – $500.00
  • Straws – $200
  • Cups – $400
    • Cost will vary depending on cup size, quality and different sizes you select.
  • Banner & Tent – $2,000
  • Prep Tables – $1,000
  • Uniforms – $300
  • Permits / Licenses – $500

Total Estimated Cost: $6,900

Variable Costs: There are of course a number of variable expenses associated with starting a shaved ice business. The primary expense will be determined by the unit you use to run your business. If you plan to use a pop-up tent, you can get started for under $5,000. If you want to purchase a trailer the cost could be between $15,000 – $100,000 depending on how many bells and whistles you want on your vehicle. The Tiki hut or stand cost can also vary greatly, but a typical stand should run you under $10,000. 

What is an Average Day in the Life in Your Shaved Ice Business From an Operations Standpoint?

As Snowy Joey business has continued to grow the daily responsibilities and work has also changed for its owners.




In the early days with only a single shaved ice machine, the Co-Owner of Snowy Joey, Chris would be working small events around by himself or with a friend. It was basically a one many show to setup the shaved ice equipment, work the events, make the ice, and book future gigs. Things were simple and lucrative in the early days since a solo business owner could handle the majority of  the work even in their spare time.

Fast forward about ten years into the business, Snowy Joey now owns about 12 shaved ice machines, five popcorn machines, 12 cotton candy (or fairy frost) machines and their staff of employees is able to work multiple sporting or catering events at the exact same time. In total, Snowy Joey can now serve approximately 20 events over a single weekend. This changes the role and the responsibilities of the business owner, but it also increases the revenue significantly if you’re able to keep cost down.

Today, much of Rosanne’s work is in handling the operational side of the business. Rosanne helps to book new business, works to ensure that there are enough employees to operate at each event. Since there are busy periods and slower periods in the business, Rosanne needs to juggle employees schedules a bit between those that want to work almost every weekend and those that only want to work occasionally to earn a few extra dollars.

The other important role change that has occurred from the early days is that Rosanne spends much more of her time training employees. When you’re just a one man or woman show you need to wear every hat in the business. You literally do everything from sales to marketing to operations. But if you want to own a larger operation, you need to learn how to delegate and train different employees to pick up some of these tasks.

snowy joey

Today’s Featured Guest is Rosanne Buzai, Co-Owner of Snowy Joey.

One of the important jobs Rosanne has trained an employee to handle is identifying new vending locations. This is an important role because being on the look out for all the different fairs, sporting events, or craft fairs in the area is important to keep revenue coming in for the business. Finding new vending opportunities is completed in a variety of ways. It includes searching the internet for local events, keeping tabs of University / school websites, and local papers to see what’s happening around town.Rosanne has also delegated another important tasks like invoicing customers.

You won’t need to hire out anyone to complete these tasks when you start out. But the more people you hire, the more events you do, the more administrative work that will need to get done. Being aware of this fact early on and being prepared to offload some of the routine, but necessary work is a requirement if you want to remain sane while operating a growing business.

Testing Out The Franchise Model. 

After seeing success and growing their own shaved ice business, Snowy Joey considered expanding into a franchise operation. Starting a franchise can be a great way to grow an organization without having to hire a manager for each operation. Based on the success of the business, it seemed like an opportunity that could be replicated.

The business did do an initial test run with a franchisee, but ultimately Snow Joey decided to remain a private operation. With most franchise opportunities there is a certain annual revenue expectation that franchisee’s expect to hit. While nothing in business is ever a guarantee, franchise’s can often give you a ball-park figure of how much you could expect to make based on the amount of foot traffic, population of a city, and location of your store. But… If you have a mobile business that works events, it complicates revenue estimates.

This business model is highly weather dependent. If you have cool weather with rain, you aren’t going to have a great day in sales. If you have a summer that is unseasonably cold or wet, it can really hurt your year. The same goes for selecting events to vend at. Pick the wrong events and you won’t generate as much compared to someone had selected an event that was well attended and had nice weather. Due to all of these variables, Snowy Joey decided to remain a private company.

What Makes You Differentiate Your Shaved Ice Business

Rosanne focuses on the experience of her customers as a way to differentiate themselves from all the other shaved ice vendors out there. Now that Snowy Joey has been in business for a decade, there are kids that have grown up with the Snowy Joey brand of shaved ice. They remember how it felt to get shaved ice when they were kids and be able to pick out their favorite flavors themselves. If you focus on customer service and the experience of your customers, you will set yourself apart from ordinary vendors.

Biggest Piece of Advise When Starting a Shaved Ice Business?

Before you ever start a shaved ice business, Rosanne recommends looking inward to determine if this is the right type of business for you. It’s easy to look at long shaved ice lines and the money you could make operating this business and think you will enjoy it, but remember there will be challenges too. This is something you will need to be brutally honest with yourself about.

Sometimes a promoter will be completely off base with the expected number of people that will attend an event. There will be rain and wind that makes other events unprofitable.

If you enjoy talking to people, being sociable and working at fun events like this it’s a great business to get into. At the end of the the day, you’ve got to really enjoy and be passionate about what you do. If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll probably quit before you start to see the big pay days because it will be too much work and too much of a grind.

Quotes from the Program

Everyone see’s these long lines at these events in the summertime when the weather is great and go “Oh wow! I can make so much money!” from this business. But they don’t realize that marketing is a really big part of any business. – Rosanne Buzai on what it takes to operate a successful snow cone business. 

What I tend to find with single operators is that they undervalue their time. – Rosanne Buzai shaved ice vendors and the importance of valuing the time you put into the business. 

The post How Much Does It Cost to Open & Operate a Shaved Ice Stand? | FTE Episode 104 appeared first on .

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In part 2 of our interview with Rosanne Buzai of Snowy Joey we dig deep into what it costs to start and operate a shaved ice business. We also discuss how to differentiate your business and the serious question you need to ask yourself before starting ... In part 2 of our interview with Rosanne Buzai of Snowy Joey we dig deep into what it costs to start and operate a shaved ice business. We also discuss how to differentiate your business and the serious question you need to ask yourself before starting this type of business. Answering this question honestly could […] Brett Lindenberg yes 37:09
The Future of Food Truck Laws with Robert Frommer | FTE Episode 103 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/robert-frommer/ Sat, 07 Jan 2017 16:37:15 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9297 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/robert-frommer/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/robert-frommer/feed/ 0 <p>Sitting down with us today on the podcast is Robert Frommer (shown right) who is an Attorney for the Institute for Justice. Robert is the lead attorney in the Institute for Justice’s challenge to the food truck laws in Chicago. Frommer has also co-authored a report with Bert Gall titled Food Truck Freedom – How […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/robert-frommer/">The Future of Food Truck Laws with Robert Frommer | FTE Episode 103</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
Robert Frommer

Robert Frommer Photo Credit: ij.org

Sitting down with us today on the podcast is Robert Frommer (shown right) who is an Attorney for the Institute for Justice. Robert is the lead attorney in the Institute for Justice’s challenge to the food truck laws in Chicago.

Frommer has also co-authored a report with Bert Gall titled Food Truck Freedom – How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City and will be speaking at the upcoming Capital City Food Truck Convention.

Our conversation with Robert covers a broad range of topics, including how he got involved in street vending law, what some of the biggest barriers to growth are within the food truck industry, and the individual steps individual trucks and food truck associations can take to effect legislative and regulatory change. We also discuss what the future of food truck laws could look like. Listen to today’s episode to learn more!

capital city food truck convention

Predictions: Why Food Truck Laws Will Become More Friendly and Less Prohibitive 

1.) Lines are being blurred between food truck operators and restaurant owners. Business owners are no longer one or the other. Food truck owners are starting their first restaurants. Experienced restaurant owners and beginning to get into the food truck game after recognizing what a great promotional tool the vehicle can be in addition to a new revenue channel.

2.) Food Truck Associations have helped educate and been vocal agents of positive change within their communities. The growth of these organizations will continue and deliver even more positive change.

3.) The Institute for Justice’s efforts to peel away some of the most unconstitutional provisions in these vending laws like the proximity and prohibition restrictions. Frommer hopes that these efforts will encourage all municipalities to rethink vending laws.

Quotes From The Show

The city of Chicago is the only city of the top 10 largest cities in the United States to have a proximity restriction. A restriction that says, “Vendors you can’t operate within a certain distance of your brick-and-mortar competitor.” – Frommer on how restrictive laws can stifle food truck industry growth in a city. 

If you want to have a vibrant industry in an area, you have to ensure that the laws are about protecting actual health and safety, operate in a narrow manner–in other words they don’t use a sledgehammer to kill a fly–and that the government doesn’t play favorites.  – Frommer on what it takes to create a pro food truck environment. 

Mentioned During the Show

Institute For Justice A non-profit public interest law firm founded in 1991. This law firm protects citizens constitutional rights, including the right to earn an honest living. This organization’s work has helped not only food truck owners, but all types of street vendors. Today’s featured guest Robert Frommer is an attorney at the Institute for Justice.

Food Truck Freedom – Report by Robert Frommer and Bert Gall for the Institute For Justice’s Street Vending Initiative. This paper outlines How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City.

Capital City Food Truck Convention – The food truck conference of 2017 that will run from March 19th – 20th in Washington D.C. Today’s featured guest Robert Frommer will be presenting at this event and sharing additional insights about food truck laws.

East Coast Mobile Business Launch Pad – Sponsor of this podcast episode in addition to the upcoming Capital City Food Truck Convention.

The post The Future of Food Truck Laws with Robert Frommer | FTE Episode 103 appeared first on .

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Sitting down with us today on the podcast is Robert Frommer (shown right) who is an Attorney for the Institute for Justice. Robert is the lead attorney in the Institute for Justice’s challenge to the food truck laws in Chicago. Sitting down with us today on the podcast is Robert Frommer (shown right) who is an Attorney for the Institute for Justice. Robert is the lead attorney in the Institute for Justice’s challenge to the food truck laws in Chicago. Frommer has also co-authored a report with Bert Gall titled Food Truck Freedom – How […] Brett Lindenberg yes 16:25
How to Start a $1 Million Dollar Shaved Ice Business Like Snowy Joey | FTE Episode 102 https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/snowy-joey/ Mon, 02 Jan 2017 08:07:14 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9206 https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/snowy-joey/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/snowy-joey/feed/ 0 <p>Today’s interview with Rosanne Buzai’s story demonstrates that just because you go into something with the intent of starting a small, part-time family business, doesn’t mean you can’t grow and scale the concept further down the line. When Snowy Joey got started and operated primarily on weekend’s as a way for Rosanne Buzai’s son to […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/shaved-ice/snowy-joey/">How to Start a $1 Million Dollar Shaved Ice Business Like Snowy Joey | FTE Episode 102</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
snowy joey

Today’s Featured Guest is Rosanne Buzai, Co-Owner of Snowy Joey.

Today’s interview with Rosanne Buzai’s story demonstrates that just because you go into something with the intent of starting a small, part-time family business, doesn’t mean you can’t grow and scale the concept further down the line. When Snowy Joey got started and operated primarily on weekend’s as a way for Rosanne Buzai’s son to earn some spending money and learn the basics of owning a business. Fast forward almost 10 years and Snowy Joey has generated well over $1 million dollars in sales, has numerous part-time employees, and most impressive has been able to raise over $100,000 toward worthwhile charities and clubs.

In the podcast, Rosanne’s shares the details of how the Snowy Joey shaved ice business got started and how you can grow the same type of business for yourself or your family. We also discuss the types of events that can be most lucrative for this business, the equipment you’ll need to purchase like a shaved ice machine. Rosanne is also candid about the different challenges that exist with this business model and the hurdles you’ll need to jump in order to grow beyond a sole operator. If you’ve been considering a shaved ice business of your own, you won’t want to miss out on this episode.

This is part 1 of an interview with Rosanne and next week we will be bringing you the rest of their story.

The Beginning of Snowy Joey

Rosanne’s son Chris was about to graduate from high school  and looking for something to do in between starting at university. Unlike a lot of other kids his age that would be satisfied to goof around with friends for a summer, Chris was looking for a project or something that he could work on over the summer.

Unlike most parents that might recommend going out and getting a minimum wage job to earn a few extra dollars for summer, Rosanne recommended something different. Instead of entering the workforce, Rosanne reccomended looking around their local area for gaps in the marketplace and writing a business plan to see what opportunities might exist in the area. If there was an opportunity that looked right, they could decide how to pursue it.

“I’ve personally been in business since the late 80s,” explains Rosanne, co-owner of Snowy Joey. “I thought this will be helpful in helping him get a grip on what’s actually involved in running a business.”




 

After about a month or two of research Chris came back to Rosanne with an idea and plan to make it happen. There was just little one problem that gets in the way of many would-be entrepreneurs starting a business… Money. “I said yes very good. That’s the first thing you need when you start a business. You need some cash, or you need some investors, or you need to borrow the money,” says Rosanne. Instead of going with the original cash intensive startup idea, Rosanne suggested starting smaller that would require less up front capital risk like a snow cone business.

About two weeks had passed by after that conversation and Rosanne was looking through the classified ads at what was for sale and saw that someone wanted to sell a used snow cone machine. Viewing this as a good opportunity to teach her son about negotiating, they went to speak to the owner and ended up paying just over $1,100 for their first machine. After jumping through a few additional hoops in regards to getting the appropriate health regulations and permits for their area, Snow Joey was officially in business!

After investing in the equipment and getting the required vending permits, it was time to finally setup shop and test the business plan. The plan was to keep the operation small at first so that the business could be run by just a single person. The first event Snowy Joey booked was at a local car dealership. This opportunity didn’t yield much in terms of revenue so they decided to try sporting events instead.

The first attempt at a local sporting event turned out to be much more profitable and delivered a respectable number of sales for day. From then on weekend sporting events would be the focus on the business. Chris attended university during the week and ran the business part-time on the weekends making solid money.

One important point to draw from this story is that Rosanne and Chris didn’t give up or assume their snow cone business wouldn’t work just because their first effort at the car dealership didn’t work out the way they had hoped. Instead the mother and son team just looked for a different type of event that might be more profitable. You will need to approach the shaved ice business with this exact same attitude if you want to improve your odds of success.

snow cone setup

Snowy Joey in action at an event.

Growing the Business & Hiring Staff

The first few years of the business, Snowy Joey was a simple but profitable business that operated on the weekends. But eventually while attending a networking meeting, the opportunity to purchase another used snow cone machine for about $1,800 was presented. Rosanne decided this was a good opportunity to expand the business and purchased the piece of equipment.

Snowy Joey now could attend two events on a single day and increase their revenue further. Just like the first machine, Snowy Joey continued to operate on weekends using their second machine and hired out close friends or family members to operate the event. This allowed Snowy Joey to grow without taking on much additional risk by hiring a full-time staff and could pay help on an as needed basis.

After operating with two snow cone machines for a period of time, Snowy Joey decided to get more ambitious and ordered five more machines from the United States. That meant a total of seven machines for the business. Prior to this point, Rosanne had never managed the number of employees that would be required to manage a snow cone business that would be simultaneously vending at seven different locations at a single time.

How to Book Events

In the early days, Snowy Joey had a simple process they used to identify events they would participate in a secure new business. If you watch the video below, Chris from Snowy Joey provides the simple process he uses to identify high value events that have a better chance of  generating $500 per day in revenue.

Step 1: Find an event that might work to sell snow cones. This could be a school event, fundraiser, charity event, 5K run, craft show, music festival or just about any other place where people gather. Usually you won’t need to work too hard to find out about some of the events in your area. Just keep your eyes and ears open to things that are happening related to school, church, or community events. You can also find a list of upcoming events published on most city websites.

Step 2: After you find an event you would like to attend, you need to reach out to the event to see if you can vend there. Usually, Snowy Joey will contact people that run a specific event by email and let them know they would like to attend and what they have to offer. This is followed up by a telephone call to discuss details. It is a simple process that you can follow to generate business as well.

Step 3: Attend the event. After finding and booking an event all there’s left to do is attend the actual event. Make sure to provide excellent customer service and be friendly to everyone at the event so that you are invited back. Also, make sure to show up on time and dress in a professional manner that way you can start to build trusting relationship to the organizer of that specific event.

Pro Tip: You can learn more about finding profitable shaved ice vending locations in this post.

How Challenges Created New Revenue Opportunities for Snowy Joey

In the first few years of operating Snowy Joey, the company had benefited from the weather. There was a long period of drought with hot weather and little rain, the perfect situation for snow cone sales! However, after acquiring five more snow cone machines the drought in Queensland ended and rainy weather appeared. The rain situation became so extreme that it really began to eat into not just the profitability, but the savings of the business. After all, not as many people want to purchase a snow cone or attend an outdoor event when it’s rainy, cold, and windy.

Just like when the business was starting out and had to figure out the types of events that would generate a profit, Snowy Joey started to look at other ways their business could generate income.

“That’s when we started looking at selling syrups and that’s when we looked at what we can do with hiring out and that’s a really big part of our business now,” explains Rosanne during the interview. About 50% of Snowy Joey’s overall revenue now comes from doing charity events or fundraisers with different organizations that need to raise money for some type of cause. At these events, Snowy Joey will contribute a certain percentage of their sales to each organization so they can accomplish some type of goal.

The other 50% of revenue comes from what we would call catering events in the United States. A company or a university will pay for Snowy Joey to attend their event and hand out free samples to attendees. This is helpful to a snow cone or any other type of mobile food business because you know exactly how much you will make at an event before you attend. Rain or shine, you’ll be compensated for these events making them extremely desirable from an operator standpoint.

Snowy Joey has successfully diversified their business even further in recent years to ensure the business is even more resilient. You can now purchase Snowy Joey branded syrups, popcorn, and fairy floss (also referred to as cotton candy in the United States). Each of these products benefits the businesses bottom line and enables them to be more profitable at each event.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series about starting your own shaved ice business. In the next podcast, we will dive deeper into the topic of day-t0-day operations and the nitty gritty of running this type of business successfully. 

The post How to Start a $1 Million Dollar Shaved Ice Business Like Snowy Joey | FTE Episode 102 appeared first on .

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Today’s interview with Rosanne Buzai’s story demonstrates that just because you go into something with the intent of starting a small, part-time family business, doesn’t mean you can’t grow and scale the concept further down the line. Today’s interview with Rosanne Buzai’s story demonstrates that just because you go into something with the intent of starting a small, part-time family business, doesn’t mean you can’t grow and scale the concept further down the line. When Snowy Joey got started and operated primarily on weekend’s as a way for Rosanne Buzai’s son to […] Brett Lindenberg yes 21:44
How To Attract Sponsors For Your Competition BBQ Team like Wolf’s Revenge BBQ | FTE Episode 100 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/wolfs-revenge/ Fri, 30 Dec 2016 03:04:05 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9153 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/wolfs-revenge/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/wolfs-revenge/feed/ 0 <p>If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel and cook on the competitive BBQ circuit? Well then this interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ is for you. In today’s episode, Chiles shares his experience on what it takes to win a BBQ competition, the equipment he uses to cook, and his advice […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/wolfs-revenge/">How To Attract Sponsors For Your Competition BBQ Team like Wolf’s Revenge BBQ | FTE Episode 100</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
bbq competition

Chiles Cridlin and Wolf’s Revenge BBQ being honored as 2016 Region 5 Grand Champion.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel and cook on the competitive BBQ circuit? Well then this interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ is for you.

In today’s episode, Chiles shares his experience on what it takes to win a BBQ competition, the equipment he uses to cook, and his advice for attracting sponsors for your BBQ team that can help pay for products like wood or  rub that you may already use or entry fee’s to different competitive events that can get costly over time. Hit play on the button above to listen to the full interview or read on for a full summary of the show.

What You’ll Learn

How Chiles Got More Serious About BBQ

Chiles got more serious about cooking BBQ in part to prove someone wrong. An IT professional by day, Chiles wanted to rent some professional grade cooking equipment from a local caterer for a casual gathering. The caterer instead suggested he should come and cook at the event since it would be too difficult of a task for Chiles to pull-off himself.

After that Chiles decided that he was going to take a more serious approach to cooking BBQ. Chiles started researching the topic of cooking barbecue, testing his own recipes, and eventually purchased his own BBQ trailer and equipment in order to participate in Kansas City BBQ contests.

smoked meat

Delicious smoked meat from Wolf’s Revenge BBQ.

Winning BBQ Competitions

Back in 2008 Wolf’s Revenge BBQ started their journey small, the way most great pitmasters start out. In the early days, barbecue would be made in pop-up tents and served from tables at different events. Smokers would be hauled around in the back of SUVs or the occasional camper to transport the equipment from event to event. Still, Chiles had always envisioned a more presence for Wolf’s Revenge BBQ.

In 2013, Chiles upgraded and made the leap to a BBQ trailer from Custom Concessions. Since acquiring the trailer they’ve logged well over 20,000 miles traveling to various competitions and even starting picking up lucrative catering events along the way.

custom concessionsAttracting Sponsors

As you’ll learn in the interview, if you are a competitive BBQ team that’s wants to attract sponsors, you’ll need to focus on more than just the quality of your brisket. That means replacing that chef’s hat with a marketing cap if you want to attract sponsors.

Although having great tasting BBQ and a track record of awards is certainly helpful when attracting sponsors it’s not the most important factor. Sponsors that could include anyone from a certain brand of spices, sauce, rubs, BBQ smoker builders care largely about how much exposure you can provide their brand. That means you’ll need to focus on building up an audience or followers that will pay attention and trust the recommendations you make.

One of the key indicators that sponsors will look at before investing in your business or team is how large and engaged your social media following is. Chiles recommends focusing on building a presence and following across the big three social media websites: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

As Chiles points out in the interview, there are a lot of fresh-faced teams on the professional BBQ circuit that have come in and been able to come in and attract sponsors quickly due to their social media following that grows quickly. In the past, you might need to compete on the circuit for years and rack up a considerable amount of trophies and achievements in order to get on the radar of a sponsor. Fast forward to today and you could start getting some low-level sponsorships in under a year if you understand how to promote yourself using new media.

Tips for Attracting Sponsors

Hoping to attract sponsors for your team? Here are some tips that Chiles recommends for acquiring sponsors.

  • Reach out to companies whose products you actually use. If you always use a specific blend of rub or a brand of coal to cook, reach out to those companies first. Let them know that you use their product regularly and demonstrate yourself using it on social media. Make sure to reference the name of the brand’s social media handle within these posts so that the brand is alerted that you’re referencing them. This simple action can be a great way to get on the radar of a big brand and give you the opportunity to start a conversation.
  • Start small with sponsorships. If you’re just starting out the odds of you being sponsored by McCormick’s is pretty low. Instead try to reach out to an up-and-coming company within the BBQ space to sponsor something. Then as you grow your BBQ business, you can also help your initial sponsors grow. Also, don’t ask for something big from a sponsor initially like having all of your competition fees paid for. Instead, start out by asking for some low cost free product samples. This is an easier “yes” for businesses and opens the door to develop a stronger relationship in the future.
  • Be specific with what you’re offering. At the end of the day, sponsors want to get their products in front of BBQ enthusiasts that might eventually buy their product. When you pitch a potential sponsor, be specific in how you will raise awareness for their product to their ideal customer. Here are a few simple ways you could add value: 1.) Display the sponsors banner at all BBQ events. 2.) Wear a t-shirt of the sponsor at all events. 3.) Publish 30 posts over the course of a year on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that are about the brand with links to their website. 4.) Put the sponsors logo permanently on your concession trailer.

The more specific and creative you can get can get to prove your value to advertisers, the better the chances are you’ll attract more of these overtime. Focus on growing your audience on social media in addition to building your name on the competition circuit to position yourself as an attractive person to sponsor.

Mentioned in the Podcast

Wolf’s Revenge BBQ – Check out the official Facebook page of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ here. This is a great place to keep up to date with all of the competitions that the team is cooking at across the country.

Custom Concessions – This is the company that Chiles chose to build his food trailer. As mentioned during the interview, Chiles is now in the process of purchasing his second BBQ trailer from the manufacturer.

Kansas City Barbeque Society – This is the organization that judges many of the BBQ events that Wolf’s Revenge BBQ participates in. Visit the website to learn more about upcoming KCBS events and classes.

 

The post How To Attract Sponsors For Your Competition BBQ Team like Wolf’s Revenge BBQ | FTE Episode 100 appeared first on .

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If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel and cook on the competitive BBQ circuit? Well then this interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ is for you. In today’s episode, Chiles shares his experience on what it takes to win a BBQ comp... If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel and cook on the competitive BBQ circuit? Well then this interview with Chiles Cridlin of Wolf’s Revenge BBQ is for you. In today’s episode, Chiles shares his experience on what it takes to win a BBQ competition, the equipment he uses to cook, and his advice […] Brett Lindenberg yes 20:54
How to Start a Profitable Part-Time Kettle Corn Business | FTE Episode 099 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/kettle-corn/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 17:30:45 +0000 http://foodtruckempire.com/?p=9082 https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/kettle-corn/#respond https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/kettle-corn/feed/ 0 <p>Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn has been popping at farmers’s markets and craft shows across throughout New England since 2006. Today, we speak with Eric Bickernicks, the owner of this kettle corn business to discuss how to start this type of business, what it’s like to be an operator, how much it will cost to […]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com/podcast/kettle-corn/">How to Start a Profitable Part-Time Kettle Corn Business | FTE Episode 099</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="https://foodtruckempire.com"></a>.</p>
kettle corn

Some delicious kettle corn from Velma’s Wicked Delicious.

Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn has been popping at farmers’s markets and craft shows across throughout New England since 2006. Today, we speak with Eric Bickernicks, the owner of this kettle corn business to discuss how to start this type of business, what it’s like to be an operator, how much it will cost to start this type of business, and the equipment you’ll need to get up and running.

Eric first got the idea to start a kettle corn business while visiting a fair near his home. He couldn’t believe the length of the line that was being formed next to a little kettle corn stand. After doing some mental math in his head about how much revenue this tiny business was generating at $5.00 in revenue per bag, Eric was hooked and decided to start a old fashioned kettle corn business of his own with a buddy. The rest as they say is history and Eric has continued to operate this business for the past decade!

Pro Tip: If this is a business model you’re interested in diving deeper into, check out Eric’s website WickedDelicious.com. Eric has been documenting his journey operating a kettle corn business here for the past 10-years and provides summaries of many of the events that he’s vended at. It’s a great resource if you want to learn more about this topic!

 

Watch the video above to see Eric Bickernicks in action at the Framingham Farmer’s Market to get a sense of what the typical day is like for a kettle corn vendor. This is a time lapsed video from a 5-hour vending time frame and condensed into a video that lasts under 2 minutes.

The Early Days

After deciding to start the business, Eric and his partner decided they would take a chance and start vending at a local farmer’s market near their homes. The event charged a fee of roughly $50 to vend at so the risk was very low that they would lose money. At the end of the farmer’s market Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn had generated about $200 in sales. Not an incredible amount of cash and not much more than “beer money” as Eric described it. But the concept had worked to generate revenue!




 

From that initial day, sales continued to grow organically for the business. By the second season of operating, it was routine for the business to generate around $400.00 regularly per day in sales. At $5.00 per bag, you only need to sell 80 bags of kettle corn in a day to reach that number.

Slowly, the business continued to grow overtime though word-of-mouth and repeat customers at farmer’s markets. For some customers, it became a routine to pick up a bag of Velma’s Wicked Delicious each week just like they would eggs or milk. This repeat business led to higher overall sales numbers over time. Eventually, the business would more frequently make $800 all the way up to $1,000 in a single day.

Getting People to Give Your Kettle Corn a Try

When Eric opened Velma’s Wicked Delicious for the first time, no one knew about him or the quality of his kettle corn. So how did Eric convince folks to give his unique style of corn a try? The same way that thousands of new food businesses have used to raise awareness of their product. Free samples!

In the early days, Eric used free samples to give craft show goers a taste of their product. Enough people that tried the product, liked it and became a customer. This can be a great way to encourage people to try your product for the first time. The next time they see you, they might just skip the free sample and buy a bag to bring home.

Margins of Kettle Corn 

How’s how much margin is built into a bag of kettle corn:

$5.00 per bag gross profit.

$1.50 – $1.60 cost of goods (cooked kettle corn + branded bag)

This equals about $3.50 in net profit per bag sold after expenses.

There are some other variable costs that you will also need to consider, however. Some craft shows or fairs charge a small fee to be able to vend. It can cost anywhere between $25 – $300 depending on the type of event you plan to vend at. Make sure to build this into your expenses prior to attending an event. You should also factor in gas money for the travel required to attend each event.

Equipment Needed

Here is the basic equipment you’ll need to start a kettle corn business:

  • Kettle Corn Popper – The kettle corn machine is what you need to operate your business. Make sure you invest in something that is durable and allows you to produce a consistently high-quality product every time you vend.
  • Sifting Bin – The bin is where your kettle corn will be stored temporarily before it is packaged.
  • Stirrer – This is used to stir the kernels and make sure the product gets popped.  It’s also good for entertainment purposes because customers can see watch you making their kettle corn.
  • Counter – A counter is helpful for serving customers. It also provides a nice way to hide product.
  • 3-Compartment Sink – This is needed in most areas to adhere to health regulations. Additionally it will allow you to wash your hands.
  • Propane Tanks – This is to provide power the popper.
  • Tent and Signage – The tent serves two purposes. One is to protect you as the vendor and product from the elements of wind, rain, and sunshine. The tent and banners that make up your pop-up also help to sell and draw attention to your stand. 

As an aside, one of the suppliers that Eric mentioned during our interview is North Bend Kettle Corn Equipment. This is the brand of equipment of Eric uses for his business. Another business recommended by Eric is Mann Made Poppin’ Machines.

Estimated Cost to Get Started

According to Eric, your biggest expense is going to be purchasing a kettle corn popper machine and a tent / pop-up. The costs of this equipment is variable, but a professional grade kettle will run you between $3,000 – $5,000 on average. Eric advises not going too cheap on this investment since you’ll want a machine that will operate efficiently for many years into the future and cook a consistent product for your customers. Bottom line, if you find a popper on Amazon.com for $199 that’s probably not what you want to build your business around.

Finding Vending Locations

Craft fairs / Antique Festivals / Car Shows / Farmer’s Markets / Fire Works Shows – If you’re just starting out these are great opportunities to begin. Typically the event fees are low here and you’ll be able to vend for $50 or less.

Eric recommends starting small at events like these for a few reasons. For one, small events are low risk to you as a business owner. With a low entry fee it won’t take long for you to cover the cost of vending. Your overhead can be even lower since you’ll likely be able to operate the stand on your own so no need to compensate an employee.

Larger Fairs / Festivals – County fairs and large music festivals are the types of events that can generate a big pay day. Unfortunately, vending at big events like these come at a price. Many of the biggest event charge hefty fees for the opportunity to vend. The price tag varies but could easily be $200 – $1000 for a multi-day event. This literally eats into your profits.

The other thing is that you’ll need extra help if you plan to vend here. You may need to employ 1 – 2 employees to take advantage of the demand at these events. If you need to pay two employees at even $10 per hour each that’s more out of your net profits. Depending on the event, hiring some part-time employees could totally be worth it. But it’s a factor to consider before moving forward.

Charity events – The different between serving at charitable events versus a car show is that you will usually need to share a certain percentage of your sales with the charity. These events can be personally fulfilling as well as economically for a kettle corn business. 

There is one type of charitable event that Eric warns against, however. Churches will often do small fundraisers that attract 100 people or less. While it can be wonderful to help support every charity, you may not be able to afford to attend every event like this that you’ve been asked to participate in if you want to generate a decent income.

Corporate events – These are the holy grail of the kettle corn business. Unlike other vending opportunities, you’re usually paid in advance with corporate events. This doesn’t just include vending at parties for businesses either. One of Eric’s favorite places to vend is at colleges and universities.

Typically universities will buy a certain number of bags from you in advance. All you need to do from there is to show up and distribute your bags of kettle corn to the hungry crowd of kids. If the event isn’t well attended or there’s rain, it’s none of your concern. You have fulfilled your end of the bargain by attending the event and providing your product / service.

Quotes from the Show

The cops used to call us “kettle crack.” – Eric Bickernicks on the addictiveness of their product.

It gets so hot because you literally have to stand over it [the kettle] and in August I’ve gotten very close to getting heat stroke. – Eric Bickernicks on working conditions you should expect on some of those hot summer days. 

I would have quit kettle corn years ago if I didn’t get one with the kettle motor and the stirrer on it. – Eric Bickernicks on recommended equipment for a kettle corn business. 

Typically you would do a craft festival. That is sort of the bread and butter of the kettle corn biz. – Eric Bickernicks on where you should start to look for vending opportunities. 

I get approached a lot of times when I’m sitting at the farmer’s market. People come to me and they’re like, “Will you do my event?” – Eric Bickernicks on the importance of being selective on where you choose to vend after your business is off the ground. 

It’s almost impossible to gauge how much you’ll be making unless you try it. – Eric Bickernicks on how the average income of a kettle corn business is highly variable depending on where you vend, how often you vend, and your overall work ethic.

The post How to Start a Profitable Part-Time Kettle Corn Business | FTE Episode 099 appeared first on .

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Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn has been popping at farmers’s markets and craft shows across throughout New England since 2006. Today, we speak with Eric Bickernicks, the owner of this kettle corn business to discuss how to start this type of busi... Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn has been popping at farmers’s markets and craft shows across throughout New England since 2006. Today, we speak with Eric Bickernicks, the owner of this kettle corn business to discuss how to start this type of business, what it’s like to be an operator, how much it will cost to […] Brett Lindenberg yes 50:23