Starting your own café is possibly one of the most terrifying experiences of one’s life. Granted, it is also an incredibly fulfilling venture, but it doesn’t come without fear. You are pouring your heart, soul and life savings into a venture that is not guaranteed to survive. This is why you need a plan, and it better be a rock-solid plan at that.
What is a café without coffee?
It has probably been brought to our attention that coffee is of the utmost importance. People will be entering your doors looking for a delectable brew that will accompany any book or slice of cake.
What’s more, not every person’s palate is the same. A cup of coffee that is gold for one person will simply not do for another. Therefore, along with quality, you will also need to bear in mind that variety is a must. Not all coffees are made equal after all.
Where does one start to look for good coffee?
As with anything in life, if you want to learn more about a topic, there are two things that you will need. These being research and experts.
If you want to know what coffee sells well, what is popular and what should be avoided at all costs, who better to talk to than a successful coffee shop owner. Sure, if things go your way these people will soon be your competitors. But, until that point, they could prove to be a wealth of information.
Then, you will need to do your own research. These business owners will impart some of their knowledge, but they will never divulge all their trade secrets. Once they have been exhausted of their information, it is time to hit the web.
Read up on anything and everything regarding coffee. This will include brands, origins, harvesting techniques, production processes and strength to name but a few. The world of coffee is an enormous one, and you will need to become a veritable expert if you are going to provide your customers with a truly unique experience.
Vetting wholesale suppliers
Through your research, you probably would have come across a couple of wholesale suppliers of coffee beans. Each company claim to be the best but are they really? How do you tell which company is going to provide you with a quality product and who is simply going to take you for a ride?
The straightforward way around this problem is to vet multiple businesses. Do not buy from the first company that you come across but rather take your time and get to know the people you are going to be working with.
What is the grade of their coffee beans?
Coffee beans are not, all the same, believe it or not. If different size and shaped beans are roasted together, then they do not roast evenly. This does not make for a high standard product. When vetting a wholesaler, ask them about the grade of their beans. Do they have a system which ensures a quality roast, or do they simply toss a whole lot of beans together and drop the price of their product to make up for the inferior quality?
Awards and reviews
If you truly are the best, then someone would have given you an award for it. This is the very nature of competition and capitalism. Sure, there are times when people fall under the radar and don’t get recognized for their genius, but on the whole, you can bet that a wholesaler will have raked up a couple of awards for their quality products. This is if they truly do have quality products.
Then there are reviews. It is all well and good to be recognized in the industry but what about independent reviews? These reviews come from people and organizations that have nothing to lose by giving a product a negative review. They do not owe anyone in the industry, and they can, to a certain degree, be trusted to provide an unbiased opinion regarding the product on offer.
A reputable wholesaler will have not only awards but also a couple of raving reviews from experts who are worth their salt.
Do they really know what they are doing?
Mastering something, anything takes time. You do not get it right straight away, and most of the time you need to fail a couple of times before you learn how best to do something. A wholesaler should not only claim to be experienced, but they should also actually be experienced. How long have they been in business and how do they run their business?
Age does not guarantee excellence, but a company that has been around for a while should logically be producing an excellent product. How else would they have been able to stay open for so long?
Then it comes to how they run their business. Do they roast their own beans, or do they just resell beans that have been roasted by another company? You want a wholesaler that is one with the industry. A company that is part of the production process from start to finish. People that can truly vouch for their product.
At the end of the day, business is all about profit. Delighted customers are one thing, but you cannot keep those same customers happy if you are not profitable. Obtaining the very best coffee for your café will generally not come cheap. This is not the place where you should be cutting corners though.
It is far better to spend a bit more on a superior product and recoup the costs by delivering an experience that people can’t help but come back to. This is what will make you stand out in the industry. This is what will make you popular. This is what will ensure the longevity of your business. If you strive for excellence from the very first day, then one day you will find young entrepreneurs knocking on your door asking you how you did it.