What is the best way to open a coffee kiosk in a large office building?

What is the best way to open a coffee kiosk in a large office building?

You can check the answer of the people under the question at Quora “how to build a coffee stand

0 thoughts on “What is the best way to open a coffee kiosk in a large office building?”

  1. Lobbies of office buildings are generally not considered by owners to be “leasable” space for a variety of reasons. Instead of a lease, try requesting a license to use a space with a percentage of gross revenue to the building as a license fee.

  2. I have never operated a coffee kiosk in a large building, but I have observed plenty in an effort to assess their viability as a business in comparison to the 15 or so cafes, espresso bars and coffee shops that I have founded and managed.
    From what I have observed, the in-foyer coffee kiosk business model is limited by a few factors:

    1. Lack of tenure: The reluctance by building owners/managers to give tenure in the first place. If the building owners/managers had wanted a coffee kiosk, the architects would have included it as a permanent feature from the start. So while you might get a license to operate on a week to week basis, you are not likely to get a lease that gives you permanency and an asset to sell when you want to ‘cash out’.
    2. Lack of space: The reluctance by building owners/managers to grant sufficient space to offer the range of products required to build a viable business. Even if you convince them to allow you to trade, they are unlikely to want to give you much space because the space is already allocated to thoroughfares. Trouble is, you need to be selling far more then just coffee to build a sustainable business.
    3. Difficult operating conditions: The strict operating requirements required of building owners/managers. Coffee kiosk + food makes a mess and can attract an unwelcome form of visitors (cockroaches, rats). Building owners/managers know this and are likely to impose strict conditions on trading relating to constant clean up, quick disposal of waste and pristine maintenance which it difficult to do without allocating expensive resources to meet the conditions.
    4. High operating costs: The fact that even if the turnover warrants it or not, you still need two people as a minimum to operate the kiosk. Sure you will no doubt try and run it on your own until you face the first violent customer, the first need for a toilet break or the first time you run out of some important ingredient. You need two people anyway in the morning and at lunch. It’s the slower times that 2 staff becomes expensive relative to your turnover.
    5. Vandalism/theft: The exposure of your assets to unwelcome abuse in your non-trading hours. You won’t be able to trade the building operating hours which means that your assets will be exposed to potential vandalism and theft when unattended. It only takes one idiot to ruin your business the next day when you open to discover a severed hose pipe, stolen vital equipment, utensils or merchandise.
    6. Boredom: Long hours standing in the one place, making the same product with some long periods of inactivity between customers. It’s exciting for the first few days, weeks, months as you build your business but eventually the kiosk reaches its market share and then every day for about 12 hours a day you are going to feel that you have become a slave shackled to a machine.
    7. Design pressures: Your kiosk design needs to be aesthetic appealing to match the often prestigious surrounds of the building yet be compact and ergonomically structured to enhance speedy service. This can make the fitout highly customised and expensive. See, everything in this style of business is on show and so it’s hard to find the savings that can keep the investment affordable.
    8. It’s hard to make money just selling coffee. In the successful coffee businesses that I have built, I looked for a coffee % of total turnover in the 40-50% range. This means that for every $ I made from coffee sales I looked to make a $ selling a value-add product like cake, confectionery, cold drink or pre-made sandwich. You will need to aim at a similar target to build a financially sustainable business.

    Now all these limitations can be overcome by securing a lease not just a licence to trade, negotiating a site big enough to offer food as a value-add, building waste hiding features into the fitout, building your business big enough with value-added products so that two staff are financially sustainable, build in metal security features that make equipment and vital ingredients vandal proof, keep two staff on for company which allows much needed walks outside in the slow periods to relieve boredom and make sure you have a big enough budget to build in the required design features.
    I guess the critical path to success here is getting the right deal from the building owner/manager. i.e. a lease, workable space and less onerous maintenance conditions. I wouldn’t leave this negotiation to real estate agents, I would do my research and go dire…


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