We began coaching budding coffee shop entrepreneurs for two main reasons; one because we came close to losing everything back in 2009 and two because we have witnessed countless coffee shops and cafes fail over the last 15 years at a massive personal cost to their owners.
That’s not to say that we have not seen great personal success ourselves or witnessed some fantastic coffee shops being launched over that time either. Our personal mission is ‘To stop independent coffee shops failing’.
Last week we spent the day on a coffee shop tour of London with Jeffery Young from Allegra Insights (they are the guys who have been following the growth of the coffee shop across the world). We saw some shiny new concepts, some brilliant and amazingly successful old favourites and some once-promising rising stars that were very obviously on the slippery slope to disaster.
We visited Kaffeine https://kaffeine.co.uk/ which is a shining example of an established business thriving, understanding the customer and setting the benchmark for others to follow.
One of the newest of entrants to the market is Gargotte https://www.instagram.com/gargotte/ a hybrid of Coffee Shop, French antiques and high-class tailor. The design, and fit out is exceptional, it is definitely somewhere I would go back to when we are in the vicinity again.
We were incredibly privileged to be invited to look around the new Caravan http://www.caravanrestaurants.co.uk/fitzrovia before it officially opened the public in Fitzrovia. The final fit out was in full swing, but we could almost smell the passion that was used to get every last detail right.
Failed & Repossessed
We also walked by many who had 'passed their prime' and a few that had been repossessed by the landlord.
The successful ones and failing ones differed in one essential element, their ability to adapt. The dust, the peeling paint, the dirty floor, the uninterested staff, the lack of customers were all symptoms of the malaise but not the cause. The underlying cause was that these businesses had stayed still.
New trends are driven by lifestyle changes, social media and one campaign after another, so today's coffee shop guest is always on the lookout for new things to try. The struggling businesses have stayed still, but the reality of staying still means that they are going backwards in so many ways. Like a car slipping on its handbrake on a steep hill, they are heading for trouble.
Typically they had launched successfully and then opened a few more sites spurred on by excitement and the desire to become a significant player. At no point did the lack of underlying profitability or the vulnerability of being copied hamper their expansion plans.
Then one day they noticed that their sales were sliding, the cash was no longer in the bank account, and when they looked outside, there were many new competitors on their doorsteps. They were committed to long leases, that looked ok in the early days when they were 'just impatient to get going' so didn't read the small print. There was no money in the pot for refits or refreshes, so the trend worsened, and things just got worse.
Our mission is to 'stop independent coffee shop or cafes failing', to prevent the owners of these businesses from losing at best a lot of money or at worst their home.
This is why we are running another Coffee Shop Bootcamp in September this year if you are planning to open a new coffee shop or cafe, then you really do need to come. www.coffeeshopbootcamp.com