I'm looking for advice, input and information. I have a coffee house that I opened about 2 years ago. We have been very well recieved in town and are doing pretty well. A while ago, we were approached by one of the local colleges to open a cafe in their library. It looks like a great situation: 150,000 student visits through the library each year, it's usually packed at night (200 students or so), and they are going to cover the costs of renovating the space. We are purchasing the equiptment and will pay about $1000/month in rent.
Here are my questions: has anyone else gone into an agreement with a college to do something like this? If so, what were your experiences?
We are going to have to hire at least 50% of the staff from the student body. This is my biggest worry, as we really want to have high standards. Not that students have low standards, but you know...
The president of the school is very interested in having this done, and is interested in working with local businesses. The bean counters, though, are the ones that need to be convinced. Anyone have any demographic data, college market data that they can share?
I appreciate all feedback
Whose bean counters - yours or theirs? The rent sounds great - especially if they pay for the build-out.
I would try to find out who is pushing for the coffee house and why. Knowledge may get you some additional leverage. If the President is pushing, the bean counters won't fight too hard.
You have a case that you are providing a good service to the student body. Where do the students go now if they need coffee to keep studying? Students can spend more time at the library if they don't have to leave the area for refreshments. The library likes to have lots of students inside. More study = better grades = good for the university. Student services will like it if there are additional jobs on campus that don't cost the campus any money.
Some considerations I can think of are:
The library will be closed or at least empty a couple months a year. Do you need to pay rent during summer and winter breaks?
How long do you need to commit? I would think the university would want a long lease if they pay for construction, unless it's a kiosk space.
Can't think anymore tonight. Need coffee.