Starting a Coffee Business: Part Two (Developing)

Starting a Coffee Business: Part Two (Developing)


(gentle music) – Vision is really important. At the end, if you’re
not doing what you love, you’re not gonna be doing it for long. But it is also really important to cater to what people want. (upbeat music) You have to realize who is out
there and how to reach them. You also have to realize what
they want and give it to them. Without analyzing what
your target markets are, you’re essentially just
like putting yourself out there to who knows. It’s not only that you
need customers to survive as a coffee business, but it’s that what ends up
happening is your community invest back in you by
showing up every day. And if you’re not there for
them, they’ll know that, you’re more likely to serve more coffee to more people if you think
about them as specific target markets versus thinking
about just people as a whole. Like, I wanna serve my community. It’s like now I’ve got
students, I’ve got parents, I’ve got grandparents, I’ve got people
(chuckles), lots of people. – I mean, when we started 26 years ago, I think we just wanted to be… we wanted everybody to come in. So we know we didn’t really
have a target audience. I mean, we figured that everybody
needs to enjoy a beverage. And I think today, it’s
a little bit different. We do have more of a target audience. So a lot of times when we
have university locations, as a lot of student
organizations that might come in, or as if it’s in a neighborhood, there might be a mom’s
group or reading group, something like that. So there’s a portion of
our menu that appeals to younger kids, middle
school, high school, and then all the way up. I’m Lisa Bee, I’m the
CEO of Sweetwaters Group. We’ve opened 24 franchise locations and we probably have a little over 80 that are in development. It’s hard to explain (laughing) you see something that
looks like our server, we’re in a totally different
spot hundreds of miles away. That’s very odd. (laughing) Initially why people come to us is a lot about the
marketing and the branding. The first thing they do
is they go on our website and they see all the beautiful pictures. We have a Facebook page,
we have Instagram page and I think that instantaneous feel of who we are comes
through in our social media, with the world is getting
busier and more stress, I think people tend to wanna step back and feel that community piece of it and we wanna be a part of that. – When I first realized, “Okay, I’m gonna do cold brew coffee.” Then I was… I got really excited, I had
this real cute trendy idea of packaging and the name and everything. There was a cube that
you fit in your fridge and then the name was gonna be Coffee Cube like coffee to the three,
so strong, all that stuff. And I thought it was a good
idea, I was so excited about it. And then when I met with the marketer who I met through the Candy Kitchen, she just sat down the
first thing she asked is, “What’s important to you? “What are your values? “What do you want your brand to say?” And then I started talking
about empowerment of women, single moms, and then I told
her my idea about the cube and stuff she’s like, “Girl no, whatever you just told me “does not match that at all.” And so I was crushed for a
little bit and then I was like, “Wait a minute, she’s right.” Even though it’s a cute idea, that’s really not I can’t… I need to be able to
sustain what this brand and message and everything is about. My name is Meliesha Pullano, and I’m the owner of Mamaleelu Cold Brew. I think there’s a lot of
opportunity in the coffee industry. I’m just trying to hone in on my niche. And I think part of my niche is producing them a quality coffee and it’s also about storytelling. That’s what Mamaleelu does
in the coffee industry. That’s my niche. – Creating a brand, what I’ve learned is, keep it simple, make it local, and I’m just
being specific to coffee. So for instance, the Brighton
Coffeehouse and Theater, it is what it is. Now this is not a hip, like college town, it’s just small town America Main Street. So once you create that brand, it’s really up to you just
to support it with product service friendliness. You do all that stuff
and your brand solid. You can’t go to a marketing firm and say, “Create me a solid brand.” You’re gonna get a logo and a
name and it’s not connected. It’s got to connect it, it’s about people. So go ahead and get
that, secure your website and all your domains. If you’ve got a name secure
it before you talk too much. It’s very annoying if
somebody grabs your name. So get those on your
social media accounts, your website, your licensing. Those can all be done
prior to anything else and it doesn’t cost that much. You might be out 100 bucks at this point. – Oh, okay, our great
example is our second drive through that opened in
Long Island, New York. These guys were just great at creating that social media presence. They had over 1000 Facebook
likes before their cafe opens. And when they actually did open, they had a line outside their
door, around their building. They did the highest sales in our system, and they did an amazing job. They had to be out in the community, talking about their business,
talking to their friends, creating excitement, posting
things on their Facebook page that were fun and exciting and engaging. So very, very, very important. – So yeah, over here,
when we first started, we were just roasting coffee in the back and there was nothing really, there was a table with
an espresso machine, and this girl who I hired
was really hilarious. She was like social media, she
was really, she could just… And so she and I would
just make up stories or we would just anything that happened. One time we covered a
water main that brook out in the street. We were standing out there and
I’m drinking a cup of coffee and I’m like, “I’m over here
at the water main brook.” I’m live, put it on (laughing) as a video. And so they picked up the
video which was on our website. And I had a website really
early too, which was… And I used to write these blogs and everything was misspelled and all crazy but it was really funny, and people were like,
“Where’s your blogs?” They read my blogs. Yeah, it really helped. My name is John Roos and
I own RoosRoast Coffee. I really thought what this
business was gonna be, it was like, I thought it was gonna be
just me roasting coffee and selling it online. But it’s like, this kind of
is taking a life of its own and the front part out
here, it’s like a park. There’s picnic, put picnic tables out, people love to sit out there. There’s a little mini apple orchard on the side of the building and then people come in
and they walk in the back and they say, “Hello.” And it’s a part of their
day, it’s their thing. (laughing) I think yeah, I think one of the things that is spend more money
on equipment right away. Sometimes I would really
cheap out on our equipment. So we’d be working with
some really junky stuff that was breaking all the time. But I mean, I don’t know, maybe not. Maybe that wasn’t, maybe that was good, ’cause it was a good way to learn. – This was really low tech,
and still is low tech. The imperative piece of
equipment that I needed, because I wanted my product
to be as fresh as possible as a coffee grinder. So my first piece of equipment
was big red (laughing) over here is our a coffee
grinder, I think it was like $900. So that was a big deal for me. And then the candy
kitchen had some equipment but the one thing I still
to this day don’t have and would love is a labeler (laughing). So I label everything by hands. I was going to buy one
but just other things were more important and so that’s kind of you
have to make the decisions on when it comes to equipment. – There are ways to maneuver
around purchasing equipment. You can work with a roaster if you’re not roasting
coffee for yourself. They will also help you
by an espresso machine and a grinder sourcing. Those things, they will
help you with that. ‘Cause most likely they
have those relationships with those vendors already and
they could get you a discount if you go through them specifically. You have to serve their product, but it’s a small price to pay for someone who’s also
probably gonna service those things for you too. Hopefully you already know good amount about the people roasting
coffee in your area. Reach out to their sales representative and tell them you like their coffee and that you would like
to try to use their coffee in your shop. And from there, you’ll be
able to start a relationship with their sales rep. I do recommend being a
multi roaster though, because there could be a lot of coffee out there you’re missing
if you just stick with one. – The nice thing is that
we are not a new brand, we’re 26 years old. So we have some really solid
relationships with vendors. So we have a good majority of our vendors that we’ve worked with for over 20 years. So they really understand our business and they are great asset to not only us, but to our franchisees. – I think it’s very unique for a cafe to actually roast their own coffee. And I think people just kind of like, “Oh yeah, whatever you
roasted on your coffee.” That is a huge thing. We start off as a roaster, and I wish I would have gone
to more trade shows earlier, because once you start
going to the trade shows, you meet more people. And I started doing that
about four years ago, five years ago, maybe I went to a couple, but then I started going more often, and you really meet more people. And then by meeting more people, now we have a lot of people who
want us to buy their coffee. So we have a lot of
coffee samples coming in. And it’s all just a
matter of relationships. It’s all about trying
to support those people so they can keep bringing you coffee. – When you fill your gas tank up with gas, you don’t think about the people who are manning the oil company
halfway around the world. But at a coffee shop, there’s
this place of engagement between the customer and barista where there’s a chance to talk about that. There’s a chance to see
it as a global industry with real people behind it. (gentle music)

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