You've got the plan, the passion and the drive and a great site to open your new coffee shop. The problem is you are not quite sure how busy you are going to be and what equipment to buy. Does this sound familiar?
Do you need a two, three or four head coffee machine, a 20kg or 100kg ice machine, two fridges or six fridges, a small oven or a large oven? Sometimes the choices can be overwhelming and to buy the wrong equipment at the start can lead to bigger issues going forward?
We all know that you can buy stuff on Ebay or the Internet and save a few pounds, but what happens if it goes wrong? Some of these obscure brands are hard to fix and get parts for, so tend to have built in obsolescence and need replacing rather than repairing.
What happens if your budget only stretches to a two head coffee machine and a 20kg ice machine and then you smash the opening sales forecasts? You will need more capacity!
The answer is that you are compromised either in your ability to serve customers fast enough or to be able to maintain the quality of service.
The result is that you will never make as much money as you could have unless you borrow more money to buy new equipment, and second-hand catering equipment is worth a tiny amount as a trade-in.
What happens if your projections, on the other hand, are too optimistic?
You have spent all your cash on the bigger machines, that you don't need, and your money is tied up in an asset that is gathering dust in the corner.
Imagine if you didn't need to worry if your equipment choices were right or not. You had a superpower, and the problem would go away; your dishwasher could suddenly do twice the capacity, your coffee machine would not run out of steam when the queue is out of the door, and your ice machine never ran out when the sun shone!
You could do all this without a massive financial burden.
Luckily achieving this utopian vision is not as far fetched as you might originally think, there is a company out there that makes you a superhero and gives you that superpower.
We met the team at U-Select, at the London Coffee Festival and were intrigued by this claim. Recently we went to visit them at their head office and service centre, they call it 'Equipment Heaven' in Gloucestershire. They are part of the PKL Group, who have been supplying catering equipment since Kaldi discovered coffee beans, so know their stuff. They supply and maintain catering equipment all over the country and have some very high profile clients who trust them with their reputation.
‘Try It, Buy It’
With their ‘Try It, Buy It’ or ‘Quick Start Hire’, you have the power to take control of your equipment needs. U-Select will buy your chosen equipment and hire it to you for a fixed weekly payment on a twelve-month contract. After twelve months you can buy it at a reduced price, continue as you were or give it back.
With their 'Quick Start Hire' service, you can hire for as little or as long as you want so using a combination of these two services you will have total control over your equipment, as well as having your a large part of your original budget for capital expenditure sat in your bank account.
This way if you make the mistake of getting a two head coffee machine you can change it to a three head or a four head with not much more than a phone call. A fantastic way to try before you buy! A revolutionary solution for cash-strapped businesses and start-ups.
Their service is for serious businesses, though, and of course, you will still need to go through a credit check, but their ethos is to help you build your business.
We gave them an equipment list for a medium sized coffee shop typical of the type of start-ups we deal with, which would cost less than £150 per week on the 'try before you buy' scheme. The machines quoted were high quality backed by excellent warranties, so worry free.
We believe this level of flexibility and service is unrivalled and perfect for a start up Coffee Shop or Cafe.
About the Authors
Andrew & Claire Bowen are the authors of 'The Daily Grind - how to open a coffee shop that makes money' Available on Amazon, and Founders of Cafe Success cafesuccesshub.com - the ultimate resource site for coffee shop, cafe and tea room owners worldwide.
To buy The Daily Grind on Amazon Click Here