7 Things To Do Before Opening A Mobile Coffee Cart Business

The past few years have motivated many people to make significant changes to their personal and professional lives. The desire to make the most out of each day through a “being your own boss” mindset has increased the popularity of entrepreneurship and small businesses.

Mobile coffee cart

photo credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr

One business model that has continued to gain popularity over the years is running a coffee cart on wheels. Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks, not only in the United States but also around the world. In 2021 The Perfect Brew reported that men spend $1934.00 a year on coffee in the United States, while women spend about $2,327.00 each year.

Starting a mobile coffee cart business has the potential to bring in high-profit margins with relatively low startup costs.

How to Get Started Running a Coffee Cart on Wheels

Anything worth having is worth working for, and every successful business requires planning. There are many things to research and plan out when starting any business, so take it one step at a time and be precise.

Here are seven steps that a future entrepreneur should research before starting a coffee cart business:

1. Explore Coffee Cart Business Concepts and Strategies

Every good business plan needs a strong concept and starting a coffee cart business is no different. Concepts are business goals that may change depending on factors like budget restrictions and competitors in the area. Finding the best business concept for a coffee cart on wheels business begins with researching other local establishments like food trucks and coffee carts.

Draw inspiration from which coffee cart concepts work well and which can be improved.

2. Discover Targeted Customer Audiences

Discovering a successful target audience for a coffee cart will help business owners to focus on one of the most critical aspects of business management, the customers. Figuring out what types of customers will patronize an establishment sets up many aspects of the business, such as menu items, equipment, space requirement, and more.

3. Plan a Detailed Business Budget

Planning a strict budget is crucial in starting a successful coffee cart business. Develop a budget by researching the cost of everything a business needs, from the cost of your cart, insurance fees, maintenance and upkeep, the cost of employees, product rates, food prices, monthly rental payments, etc.

4. Write a Comprehensive Business Plan

Creating a written business plan will evolve a coffee cart concept one step closer to a professional reality. A successful business plan guides each step of beginning and managing a business.

Business plans typically include a summary, company description, target market analysis, legal structure, services, products offered, marketing strategy, funding information, and a realistic timeline for each process step.

5. Inquire About Registering as a Legal Entity

Establishing a business as a legal entity like an LLC or corporation will protect business owners from being held individually liable if someone sues the coffee cart. Registering as an LLC in most states is an easy process that can be completed online. Costs vary depending on location so check official state websites for estimated yearly fees.

6. Find Equipment Suppliers

Researching where to purchase the equipment and materials needed for the coffee cart on wheels is a crucial step in starting a coffee cart business, especially finding a top-quality coffee cart vehicle. The coffee cart vehicle and its features are the foundation of the company, so it should look amazing and provide all the functions necessary to provide a customer with their favorite beverages that keep them coming back for more.

Other equipment suppliers to research are businesses that sell quality coffee beans, syrups, creams, milk, napkins, cups, lids, and bean grinders, to name a few.

7. Research Local Laws and Regulations for Running a Coffee Cart Business

Each county, city, and state have different legal requirements for running a coffee cart on wheels. Food or beverage vendors, like coffee carts, may require a specific license or permit. Some of these licenses will be at the state level, while the city or county may need others. It is very important to learn about each area’s requirements. Not complying with all the rules and laws can cause hefty tickets and fees.

Contact the local Department of Environmental Services or Health Department for more information about the rules and regulations for each area.

Drive-thru coffee shop

Brewing a Coffee Cart Business

Consumers’ thirst for coffee continues to grow each year without any signal of slowing down. The mobile food and drink sector is overflowing with potential for big profits.

Opening a coffee cart business is an excellent opportunity for anyone to gain professional independence from the traditional job market while enjoying a new, fun lifestyle.


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