A coffee cart is a small outdoor structure that serves coffee and other beverages at retail prices. A coffee cart business is a low startup cost business.
All you need to set up a coffee cart business is a professional coffee machine and coffee cups.
To maximize your profits all year round, choose a strategic location and ensure you are readily available to serve your customers whenever they need coffee.
Starting a coffee cart requires a great deal of effort, dedication, and most importantly passion.
If you're interested in how to sell coffee, or selling coffee online, you can use this page as a guide for everything you'll need to know.
|Min Startup Costs||Max Startup Costs|
|Equipment & Supply Expenses||$66||$1,200|
|Retail Business Expenses||$1,250||$11,650|
|Advertising & Marketing Costs||$75||$9,636|
|Total Startup Costs||$1,754||$37,876|
|RISE Brewing Co.||risebrewingco.com||#205,402|
|Urth Caffe - Coffee Shop||urthcaffe.com||#443,323|
|Heine Brothers' Coffee||heinebroscoffee.com||#506,809|
|Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters||commonwealthjoe.com||#673,562|
|Coffee Machine Warehouse||coffeemachinedepotusa.com||#750,809|
|Boston Bean Coffee Co.||bostonbean.com.au||#1,230,430|
|Seattle Coffee Works||seattlecoffeeworks.com||#1,513,300|
Pros & Cons
|Rewarding work||Starting a coffee cart can be really rewarding work. After all, you are solving an immediate issue for your customer and you're working on something you truly care about.|
|Meaningful business connections||You never know who you will meet as a coffee cart. This could be the start of an incredible business opportunity!|
|Daily physical activity||Coffee Cart's typically involve a much greater degree of movement than other lines of work. Most days, you will spend your day walking, running errands for your business, and performing a multitude of tasks. This can have a positive impact on energy levels and your overall health.|
|Amazing perks and discounts||Working in the coffee cart comes with its perks! As a seller for these products/services, you typically also get to enjoy industry perks and discounts.|
|You are your own boss!||With starting a coffee cart, you are the one to make decisions for almost all of the operations. Calling the shots can be empowering and liberating!|
|Local Community||One of the best parts of starting a coffee cart is that you can develop a local following by selling your products at craft shows, farmers' markets, or even local storefront businesses! This gives you access to additional revenue streams and loyal customers.|
|Crowded Space||Competition is high when it comes to your coffee cart, so it's important that you spend a good amount of time analyzing the market and understanding where the demand lies.|
|Finding The Right Supplier||Most businesses in this space go the supplier/manufacturer route, which isn't a bad thing! However, finding the right supplier can take a lot of time, energy and trial/error. If done properly, this process can save you months (if not years) of time and energy. More on this below in the "finding a supplier" section.|
|Motivation of employees||If you plan to have a sales/content team on board, finding creative ways to motivate them can be a challenge. It's important that you're able to offer great incentives and a good work environment for your employees.|
|Low margins||The gross margins for your coffee cart are typically around 43%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability.|
|High employee turnover||In the coffee cart, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business. It's important to try and avoid this as much as possible by offering competitive pay, benefits, and a positive work environment.|
|Taxes||As a coffee cart, you typically pay self-employment taxes which can be quite high. It's important to understand what you will be paying in taxes each year so you can determine if the work you're taking on is worth it.|
Direct sales strategy implies a direct contact between a seller and a consumer without the involvement of any third party. Direct selling is popular in sectors where sellers communicate with their clientele personally. The sales technique occurs at non-store locations which include at home, work, or online.
For direct selling to succeed, hire a few (or many) salespeople to support the sales conversion process. It's critical that you assign them specific roles and responsibilities to nurture the client and provide excellent support.
Word of mouth
Word of mouth is when a consumers reflects their interest in a company’s product or service in their daily dialogues.
Therefore, word of mouth advertising is essentially a free advertising triggered by the customers experience.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family.
Therefore, in today’s hyper-connected world, a single recommendation through a word of mouth can have a huge impact to your business.
Social Media Advertising
Social media advertising is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience with the objective to build your brand, increase sales, and drive website traffic.
According to Oberlo, approximately 48% of the global population use social media, and the number is ever-growing.
Therefore, social media allows brands access to cost-effective advertising by enabling them to interact with a large audience.
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help you get started.
Interested in starting your own business? Join Starter Story Premium to get the greatest companion to starting and growing your business:
- Connect + get advice from successful entrepreneurs
- Step by step guides on how to start and grow
- Exclusive and early access to the best case studies on the web
- And much more!