I am an employee of a bookstore where we have a lot of traffic. They have never incorporated a coffee selling area into the store and I believe it would be a tremendous success. We have had almost every author on the NYT bestsellers list into our store for a signing over the last 20 years. This means a TON of traffic/customers. Is there a way to find someone to bring a cart and set up shop and we set up some sort of agreement on profits/rents/etc... How would I find out about this?

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Just don't go with anyone that is willing to do it. I would try to find out how passionate the person is about coffee. They shouldn't see it as a way to make money, but a way to help educate people on what coffee should taste like. I'm not sure the best way to find someone with a cart/kiosk. But one way to do it is purchasing the equipment and finding the right person to run/manage it for you. I'm sure there's plenty of people on Bx that will lead you in the right direction with equipment that is needed to be purchased.
You should also check with the owner of the bookstore and see about getting permits and such to operate a coffee cart inside the bookstore. I think that is a great idea and has been something that has crossed my mind since I am in learning process of running my own coffee bar. Are you looking to run the coffee cart yourself but with help on getting the whole thing set up? Or a partnership? Or would just like to see someone set up and run themselves?
First off....Thanks for the replies! !
I've talked to the owner of the store and the issue is that the equipment is too expensive. I've looked around on Craigslist and at products held by retailers and the stuff is just expensive. I have some engineering background, so I even looked into building my own espresso machine (rather involved it turns out :D ) The owner is concerned therefore about setup costs, (at the very least $2000 and easily 8 or 9) and wants to go with an automated machine like you might find on a ferry or something. I don't think she sees the point. She is right in that the staffing and book keeping is going to be a headache at first...and food handlers permit etc.

I would love to know if we could just offer the space to someone to come in and set up shop. I've been looking at local coffee shops that have cool atmospheres and appear to be doing well, and I think I may approach them with the idea. Overall, though, my original question is "where do I find people who have a cart and need a location?" I just don't know where to even look. Would I look on this website? Are they called something like "barista w/cart for hire" ? So I at least have some term to search for on C-List or google.

Thanks again for the replies. It is very kind of you.
uhh... I've never really heard of what you are asking about. I know of a few coffee catering businesses that do temporary stuff, but it sounds like you need a business partner or just to find someone who wants to open the business that you are thinking of.

But just so you know, $9000 (your highest estimate) isn't enough at all. The only pre-assembled cart that I ever saw was $25000 and that is just equipment. (all of it but still, you need coffee and supplies and employees, and to pay rent.......) Hope this helps you to see the light.
I like your thinking.

Having a location like you describe is appealing. I'd be willing to be there's a potential shop owner in your area that's looking for something like that.

I'd figure out who the roasters are in your area (or that have Account Reps in your area) and approach them. They'll know who is looking to open in your area. You might also have small local chain that would have potential licensees looking to open. I'm not sure who the players are in your town. You have a good thought to visit the better shops in your area (though not right next door) and try to catch the owner, see if they're looking. Even if they aren't interested, they can tell you who the roasters are in your area or may know someone who'd be interested. We've been approached a few times by property managers that were looking for deals like you described.

Get a solid idea of how much space you have to offer, how much work would be required to supply the spot with power, water, and wastewater. You'll offer the space for rent that was either straight or percent of gross sales. Your operator will want to supply the equipment and construct the kiosk.

I'll back up what Jesse said - it feels like 20-30 grand is more like it to upfit a small kiosk espresso bar, at minimum. This is not a big deal for a prospective owner/operator... as that's far less than a standalone store.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

This looks like an older post but applies to me. I will be relocating in about a year or so and have been looking for a profession that I would enjoy more. Is there still a good amount of places that could use an espresso cart? I would love to have a spot in a hospital or similar place with good traffic and not too high of rent.

I have never been a barista, but love learning and love a good coffee. I was inspired by a little cart at a local hospital. Thanks!

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