Since the pandemic began and especially as we moved into 2021 we have received a number of enquires from people setting up a mobile business.
From rice horse boxes to any sort of horse box really, converted shipping containers, various types of coffee vans, imported air stream trailers, Italian piaggio vans & imported French Citroen vans, it really has been exciting to see some many pivot their business or take the opportunity to set up a mobile coffee business.
This time last year we had only ever being involved in setting up a handful of these type of businesses, usually there were only for a festival or event, mainly short term, however now they are popping up in park or woodland areas, beside the sea or lakes typically where there was no avenue to get a good coffee before.
The more of these types of set-ups we did the more knowledge we gained hence this blog is to give some general direction and considerations in setting up a mobile coffee business.
If you are considering setting up something like this take the following into consideration;
The Mobile Trailer:
This may decide so many other elements of your business for you. Are you going to travel to different places with your business or have you a fixed place you know you are setting up?
If its a larger type tailer consider how you're going to move it. Theres no point have a top of the range air stream trailer and not having the adequate vehicle/mechanism to move it. Also consider your insurance costs on both. Will it be secure if you leave it in a rural place or will the elements affect it as it can get extremely windy beside the sea.
However the bigger the trailer the more space you will have for both for yourself and others to move about, it will be more visible to the public & you will be able to offer more as simply you have much more space in a larger area.
This is a crucial factor. Locating a spot where you can stand out in a busy foot fall area or where there is ample parking or where there is little or no competition are the keys to success for this. The more accessible you are the easier it will be to get momentum. You may also need need permission and consider reaching out to other business in the area as sooner or later they will know you are trading close to them.
If you have decided on you mobile unit/trailer, the next step is considering if you will have direct power or not. The more power you have the more your options on choice of a coffee machine increase.
3,000kw = 13 Amp Plug
You may only have a plug in your mobile unit then this is the max load your machine can be.
If your coffee machine is over this amount you might want to separate the power from the rest of the appliances on the trailer so you don't cause electrical problems for yourself.
Theres no point having a coffee machine thats 5,700kw and only having a 6,000kw generator to power you trailer. You won't be able to add anything else onto the generator.
If you can locate a pitch/spot to set up that will allow you source direct power then this is the ideal thing to do in my opinion. You wont have the expensive cost of buying a generator or the loud noise that comes with it and there are relatively never any issues with direct power unless the ESB happen to be carrying out works in the area.
However if you plan on running your business of a generator then considering choosing a machine thats ideal for semi large volumes of coffee but wont force you to increase the power load of your generator, as the bigger they are the more expensive (and sometimes louder) they are.
Will you mobile unit have access to direct water? Otherwise you will require water tanks underneath the counter-taking up storage space. If you need to opt for water tanks, consider getting ones where you can see the volume of water inside it. That way you will know if you're running low on water or not.
Air-locking your machine (where the water hose sucks air instead of water) is prone to happen in these situations, something that never happens with direct water supply.
Consider using filtered water in your tanks, you won't be able to install a water filter here unless you invest in a pump system as a water filter restricts the internal coffee machine pump working correctly so will need to be aided with a external pump.
The majority of commercial coffee machines nowadays with the exception of cheaper entry level ones will have an internal pump that will have the ability to suck water from a tank without requiring water pressure.
So now for the fun bit. Choosing your coffee machine :) As a mobile business you will be doing take away coffee so chose a tall cup machine (One where you can directly fit at a minimum an 8/12oz cup underneath the coffee portafilter handle.
Coffee machines come in various sizes and as a mobile business you will want to utilise ever inch so choose one thats larger enough for your desired capacity (and more) but isn't big and bulky taking up loads of space inside.
Make sure it has water capacity for your Americano coffees. Some machines have very small boilers and you can use them for any coffees as doing so will immediately reduce your steam pressure.
If you are starting out and are looking for the perfect machine thats fits all of the above, I would recommend our FAEMA PRESTIGE COMPACT
Its stylish and elegant, comes in a tall cup version, has adequate hot water supply with 2 measured functions, comes with two groups and two steam wands as standard with added purge function and works off a 13amp plug at only 580mm wide !!
If you are looking for any advice on the above please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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