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Old 29.08.2012, 13:30
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Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I would appreciate to know the outcome of the experience?

Thanks
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Old 29.08.2012, 13:59
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I haven't, but have been dreaming about it for a while.

The only personal experience I have is a cousin who bought a frozen yogurt chain at the wrong time (frozen yogurt popularity had dropped) and they went bankrupt.
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Old 29.08.2012, 14:48
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I never owned any (I wish), but I know people who still do.

What do you want to know exactly?

The experience is different from coffee shop to restuarant, to type of restaurant. It's a lot of hard work and you really gotta love it to see it through, and you'll have to have a decent amount of cash to ride out the ups and downs.
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Old 29.08.2012, 14:53
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I owned a coffee shop in the US for 15 years. What do you want to know? If you want to know if you will get rich, the answer is decidedly "no".
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Old 29.08.2012, 15:23
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I have. Ended up serving lots of coffee to regulars and strangers alike.

Sold up, made a million. Spent a million.
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Old 29.08.2012, 16:08
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I've been owner/Manager of both in my time, wod jer wonna know?

PM me and if ness, I'll give you my tel. no. for lots more info

Bi Bi fr now

GREG
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Old 29.08.2012, 16:18
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

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I owned a coffee shop in the US for 15 years. What do you want to know? If you want to know if you will get rich, the answer is decidedly "no".
Unless you're company's called Starbucks.
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Old 29.08.2012, 16:57
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

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I would appreciate to know the outcome of the experience?

Thanks
I ran a small one in Amsterdam. Outcome was that the owner became bankrupt.
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Old 29.08.2012, 17:19
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

My dad owned a pastry shop (own production daily) and cafe/tea room for years, and it was going very well, but he sold it and chose to work for someone else for two reasons:

1. Except for the bakers who opened the pastry lab at 3-4am, he was always the first one to get to the shop at 6am, and the absolute last one to leave at 9pm. This was incompatible with my family's needs, as my parents wanted one parent to be reasonably present at home to take care of the kids, and my mom was traveling 90% of the time and when she was home, she had unpredictable working hours.

2. If you are the owner, you are responsible for a whole lot of admin stuff like payroll, finances, etc. that my dad didn't want to deal with at all. Even if you contract that stuff out or pay someone to do it, you're still responsible vs your employees, and he wanted none of that as he wanted to be able to do his job at peace, which is...creating new sweets/cakes/etc.!
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Old 29.08.2012, 17:37
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

My Gran owned a cafe once. She sold up when she managed to cut her losses to something she could cover by selling her house.
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Old 29.08.2012, 17:42
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

All of the insights I've gotten from friends who run cafés and restaurants have put me off the idea forever. Just a few factors you're dealing with:

-An extremely volatile market. If you have a terrasse, one bad summer can kill your profits.
-High running costs and regulations if you run anything bigger than a hole in the wall.
-High turnover rates due to most employees not requiring degrees and qualifications or feeling little ethical responsibility towards your business. Unless you find some revolutionary business strategy where you can keep costs low enough to not have to scrape the bottom of the barrel in personnel costs, prepare to lose your hope in humanity and discover that you can't really trust anyone. One such example is:
-Hands on access to money by said employees. Expect at least 20% of your income to disappear to sticky fingers, it's as simple as that. Unless you run an impossibly tight ship or only work with close people that you trust, stealing is simply too easy in this business and no one is incorruptible. I don't mean to rag on the runners and servers too much, as many higher-ups are no better. The amount of managers-for-hire in the hospitality business whose M.O. is to pillage and get as many bribes (from suppliers and the like) as they can for as long as they can and jump ship (when they're about to get discovered or the business goes under) is shocking.

Much of this is avoided if you have a small coffee shop run by a close-knit group, but as BokerTov mentioned, then you have no free time. So it's a catch-22.
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Old 29.08.2012, 17:44
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

not quite the same as a coffee shop restaurant but mrs. G was a chef in a pub in England for a few years... and has much the same experience others talked about.

in everyday or at the market by 9:00am, prepping, setting menu's
never out before last service at 9:30 and quite often later, depending upon what didn't get done in the morning
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Old 29.08.2012, 20:27
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

I know somebody who opened a very posh restaurant near Zurich bahnhofstrasse and went bust because of the quality of staff he had. Generally they didn't care and he ended up doing just about everything himself to try and keep everybody happy.

I also have a relative who currently runs a busy village bakery/coffee shop, also in Kanton ZH who is doing very well and always looking for more staff to cope with demand.

It's hard work, that much I can confirm.
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Old 29.08.2012, 20:57
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

It's very hard work...

Best thing to do is to buy one, make it how you want it then sub-let it to a husband and wife team on a yearly re-new-able contract...

Best of both worlds, if you want the kudos of owning and dictating the way it runs and taking profit without doing all the tedious hard work...

If you want to run and work it yourself kiss good-bye to your spare-time.
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Old 29.08.2012, 22:03
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

all very interesting and convincing - would you say this applies only to cafés or would it apply to any similar venture like take away or imbissbude or for instance to an ice cream parlour? (possibly off-topic?)

I mean, is the problem linked to the amount of effort in serving? do your chances to gain profit increase if you minimise staff investments and do not have tables, but just rapid food turnover? where do the actual margins come from?
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Old 29.08.2012, 22:08
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

A lease will guarantee your income, do it yourself the onus is on you to make it happen!

If you keep and do yourself the profits 'could' be higher. There is no set outcome though..
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Old 29.08.2012, 22:08
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

just a little saying I've heard over many years in the hospitality industry.
"How do make a small fortune,Start with a big fortune & open a restaurant/cafe"
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Old 29.08.2012, 22:32
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

Wow! I didn't expect to many answers and it is a real eye opener. I will pass the infos to my friend who is looking for an opportunity in Zurich.

Keep bringing the experience and anecdotes!

Thanks again

Nil
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Old 29.08.2012, 22:39
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Re: Anyone ever owned a coffee shop / restaurant?

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just a little saying I've heard over many years in the hospitality industry.
"How do make a small fortune,Start with a big fortune & open a restaurant/cafe"
I suspect this is very true...
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