So You Want to Start an Espresso Cart Business? Here’s What You Need to Know

Starting your own espresso cart business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and financially. However, there are a few things that any aspiring entrepreneur should know before diving in.

Espresso cart

Coffee isn’t going anywhere

The coffee business is booming, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s delicious, and boasts a variety of health benefits, making it a popular choice for people who are looking for a healthy beverage option.

In fact, coffee is the most widely consumed beverage and the most traded tropical product in the world! It is, after all, the most popular human fuel.

Portable espresso carts are on the rise

Coffee is also becoming increasingly popular among businesses. Many companies are now offering their employees free coffee as a way to boost productivity and morale. And with the growing popularity of espresso drinks, espresso carts are becoming a common sight in office parks and other commercial areas.

Americans love their cup (or two) of espresso a day

In 2020, the average American drank an estimated 1.87 cups of coffee per day! That means that on average, every person walking by your mobile espresso cart could potentially buy 2 cups a day.

If this has got you interested in starting your own espresso cart business, there are some foundational points to keep in mind. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of operating a mobile espresso cart!

What are the benefits of starting an espresso cart business?

  • Choose where you want to sell with a well-planned out route
  • As your boss, you decided when and for how long you want to work
  • Minimal start-up capital
  • Create your very own brand and design your cart to match
  • Think outside of the box and offer a variety of espresso-based drinks, some decaf options, and your favorite food items
  • Consider this the precursor to your very own coffee shop! You can always expand to a brick-and-mortar business once you’ve built your loyal client base.
Espresso cart business
photo credit: John Lopez / Flickr

You Can Start Your Espresso Cart Business by Following These 8 Steps:

  1. Research (Competition & Niche)
  2. Business Planning
  3. Legal & Finances
  4. Choosing the right cart
  5. Choose your location(s)
  6. Purchase additional equipment
  7. Train staff (optional)
  8. Evaluate & Adjust!

Step 1: Research the competition and find your niche

When it comes to starting an espresso cart business, research is key. Study the competition, observe their strong suits, and what they could improve on.

You’ll also need to find your niche and figure out what makes your espresso cart business unique. Will you brand yourself around organic and fair-trade coffee beans? Will you offer vegan-friendly espresso drinks?

Step 2: Write a perfect business plan

Once you’ve done your research, start putting together your business plan. This document will outline your business goals, strategies, and the specific steps required to achieve them.

If you’re not sure where to start, have a look at some of the resources online. Alternatively, you can hire a professional consultant to help you get on your feet.

Step 3: Legal & Finances

Next, you’ve got to organize your business’s legalities and financials. You’ll need to obtain the proper licenses and permits, as well as open a business bank account and register with a tax number.

You’ll also want to get cracking on the pricing for your drinks and food items. Make sure to do your research to price your products competitively.

Step 4: Find the right espresso cart

Choosing the right espresso cart is important because it will be your business’s new home for the next little while, and you want to make sure it can provide you with everything you need moving into the future.

Some of the things you’ll want to consider:

  • The size of the portable espresso cart. Make sure it’s big enough to accommodate all your equipment, but not so large that it’s difficult to maneuver.
  • The materials and structure it’s made of. Check the materials and structure of your cart to make sure it can withstand the test of time, as well as handle all your tools and equipment. Stainless steel and hardwood are quality materials to look out for.
  • The espresso machines. With so many different espresso machines out there, you’ll want to do your research and figure out which one is best for your business and your expected volume.

Step 5: Location

Location is another important factor you’ll need to keep in mind for your mobile espresso cart. Consider elements such as foot traffic, zoning regulations, and whether or not there are decent spots to park your cart.

Step 6: Purchase the necessary equipment

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect espresso cart, it’s time to start purchasing the necessary equipment. This includes machines, coffee grinders, refrigerators, and any other specialty tools.

Step 7: Train your staff (optional)

If you’re planning on hiring staff to help operate your espresso cart business, make sure they’re properly trained. This includes teaching them how to make espresso drinks, handle customer service, and anything else they’ll need to know.

Step 8: Evaluate and adjust (learning while earning)

As with any business, it’s important to regularly evaluate your espresso cart business and adjust as needed. This includes things like switching up the marketing strategy, tweaking your menu, or even trying out new locations.

Time to Get Brewing!

By following this guide, you’re en route to starting a successful espresso cart business! With all the incredible food carts and affordable equipment out there today, anyone can become a successful business owner in no time. Just remember to always keep learning and observing, so you can continue to adapt and succeed.