With Starbucks in the news and closing it's shops ... makes people think that opening a coffee shop is not the thing to do....

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I know what you mean, My dad keeps talking to us about not doing ours. He is even checking into the property next door so we can open smaller and for less money. I think he is hoping that we won't go thru with the real location. I keep telling him that he doesn't understand the Specialty coffee industry.
Starbucks is in a class of its own - coffee for the non-coffee drinker. Good luck with your new venture.
I dont think the Starbucks situation should change too many serious cafe startups. In recent history coffee has proven to be somewhat recession proof (Mark Pendergast's book Uncommon Grounds has some interesting figures about consumption in the US during the Great Depression). I think Starbucks current situation has a lot to do with the dynamics of that organisation, a little to do with current global economic trends. For instance last week Peets Coffee announced a 62% increase in 2nd 1/4 earnings per share. I think as long as you research soundly- be fine.
Thank you for those that respond to my question. Positive thinking..... I also want to know what about Coffee Bean in the supermarkets. I know that the people that goes to the supermarket love it doing the two in one stop. I realize that that Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is franchising, but give me a break, Oh, and one more thing what about all those powders mix in the coffee. I just realizing that coffee is not just coffee and milk. Can any one recomment a good barista school that is not going to teach you how to make a drink in 4 hours and charge you 2 to 3 thousand dollars. I mean how much can you learn in 5 days of Barista school.
Im reading Uncommon Grounds right now (Pretty good book) & I feel the same way. Coffee is almost recession proof. True Blue coffee drinks are going to drink their coffee no matter what. I know as broke as I am, I'll still be drinking my coffee! I think that one of the reasons Starbucks struggles more during an economic slump is most of their customers, arent real coffee drinkers. They are going to Starbucks because of the social aspect. Its the cool thing to do. Not necessarily going to a Coffee Shop, but actually going to Starbucks. So, when gas prices increase & they start feeling like they dont have money to spend on the extras, Starbucks is one of those extras. A true coffee drinker looks at coffee like bread, you cant live without bread & so cant you live without coffee. Coffee isnt an extra that can be dropped from the budget (shoot, I think Coffee should be in most peoples budgets right up there with living expenses!) So, try not to look at how Starbucks fares in a financial slow time. Those arent your customers.

Alun Evans said:
I dont think the Starbucks situation should change too many serious cafe startups. In recent history coffee has proven to be somewhat recession proof (Mark Pendergast's book Uncommon Grounds has some interesting figures about consumption in the US during the Great Depression). I think Starbucks current situation has a lot to do with the dynamics of that organisation, a little to do with current global economic trends. For instance last week Peets Coffee announced a 62% increase in 2nd 1/4 earnings per share. I think as long as you research soundly- be fine.
As to Barista School, I would start by reading through forums like this. Ask questions, read books, look around for some videos. I know David Schomer's Professional Espresso Training Series is a great series of books & videos. Of course for alot of people, hands on is the only way to learn. When we first opened our shop, we didnt know what we where doing & we didnt go to Barista School. We just learned as we went. Tried coffee at different coffee shops around the country as we traveled & just trial & errored our way through it. One thing you can do is try to find a good supplier close by (or at least close enough for a drive) & see if they've got equipment (or even a store of their own). Most suppliers would be willing to teach you the basics if they have the equipment to show you on. Or, make friends with another coffee shop thats far enough from you that you arent going to be competition for them. Then setup a time that you can drive out to them & let them show you what they know. Any shop owner wants to show off their skills (as long as you arent taking their customers!) Of course, hopefully you make friends with someone that does a good job & knows really what they are doing! If that doesnt get you enough training then look into going to one of the training schools or even going to Coffee Fest or SCAA & taking some of the classes & seminars. That way you get to learn how to make drinks while also getting to check out all of the new product, equipment, etc that people show at those Expos. In the end, its all in what you like & what your customer likes. If you are doing something that you are proud of & your customers like then you're good. Noone can teach you that.

For Now said:
Thank you for those that respond to my question. Positive thinking..... I also want to know what about Coffee Bean in the supermarkets. I know that the people that goes to the supermarket love it doing the two in one stop. I realize that that Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is franchising, but give me a break, Oh, and one more thing what about all those powders mix in the coffee. I just realizing that coffee is not just coffee and milk. Can any one recomment a good barista school that is not going to teach you how to make a drink in 4 hours and charge you 2 to 3 thousand dollars. I mean how much can you learn in 5 days of Barista school.
Don't panic! Starbucks has closed their shops in Australia because the Aussies are very territorial. If they know there is another coffee shop owned by an Australian they'll go out of their way to go there instead of one that is owned by someone from another country. They also have a strong tradition of European style hole-in-the-wall coffee bars that they go to. It's not that they aren't drinking coffee. Having a coffee shop that has it's own uniquie energy and ambiance could be an advantage. It seems that all over people are rejecting the homogenized or McDonald's-ized version of things.
Sarah is too right about coffeecu;ture downunder! Actually only 11% of Aussies think coffee from an international chain (read: Starbucks/CBTL...etc) is better than coffee roasted and sold from a local roaster. Suprisingly though...only 14% of AMERCIANS thought that coffee from an international chain was better than that from Indy roasters (Synovate surey 2006/07)...



Sarah Bartley said:
Don't panic! Starbucks has closed their shops in Australia because the Aussies are very territorial. If they know there is another coffee shop owned by an Australian they'll go out of their way to go there instead of one that is owned by someone from another country. They also have a strong tradition of European style hole-in-the-wall coffee bars that they go to. It's not that they aren't drinking coffee. Having a coffee shop that has it's own uniquie energy and ambiance could be an advantage. It seems that all over people are rejecting the homogenized or McDonald's-ized version of things.
Not at all. Starbucks has its own issues to deal with. If your in a good coffee market you can do very well. A small independent shop to offer goods and services that the big guys cant. You really just have to know your market.

In the market Im going into, you have high volume, close to a major city (NYC), in a affluent town. If you offer the highest quality (beans and machines), and you make the product correctly (trained Baristas who care). I think you will do very well. At least thats the way I see it.

I feel the majority of people out there have never tasted quality. Once they do, watch out.
I must get this book Uncommon Grounds, by Mark Pendergast.. There are so many espresso machines out there. I know I want a two or three porter-fillers can anyone recommend a good espresso machine and why.. I feel like I am buying a car. I am in Los Angeles if that helps. By the way last year I went to the Seattle show and that is when I realize that coffee is a big big big business. Who knew......
For Now~
Check out here regarding espresso machine http://www.baristaexchange.com/forum/topic/show?id=1688216%3ATopic%...
My recommendation would be a La Marzocco or Synesso. The best way to decide would be to try as many of the top machines as you can yourself. Another option would be a Mirage by Kees Vander Westen. I used to own one of these and it pulled some sweet shots as well as being a big eye catcher.

~Trevor
If you are thinking of opening a coffee shop and you are anywhere in the South Jersey area. I would like to say that you will need to focus on educating your customers. We opened 3 1/2 yrs. ago to a nearly non-existant "real" coffee community. It takes time and patience but it will be worth it! Just know that any upstart business will have pitfalls and it will not be an overnight success. I think the Starbucks closing issue is a result of too many opening at once and not working themselves into becoming a part of the community. Coffee/community that's why it really is the 3rd place. It's not meant to be just a convenience store.

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