Business Analysis for Coffee Shops

In the current economic times, we at Stockton Graham have been asked a lot about business trends, buying patterns, and prospects for growth. While these are difficult times for anyone, in business or not, it also presents many opportunities for the more business savvy individual and those willing to take risks in order to achieve success. Whether you already find yourself with an operating business or are planning on starting one, I think the core business fundamentals are still applicable and those who do their planning and pay attention to the numbers. There is opportunity for prosperity.

In speaking with one of our long-term vendor representatives, we talked about a mutual acquaintance that we have both known from our time in the coffee business. Earlier this year he published a book entitled, “Coffee Business Success in a Turbulent Economy” and his name is Ed Arvidison. He has been involved in coffee for a long time and among many items of note, was a co-founder of Belllissimo Coffee Info Group with Bruce Milletto.

I first met Ed at a Coffeefest when my coffee business was just starting and, while we never used him for our business, we worked with him on a number of mutual customers/clients. I got to see firsthand his approach to a coffee business and structuring it for continued sustainable growth. Ed graciously sent us a copy of his book for us to read and to share ideas with our customers. “Coffee Business Success in a Turbulent Economy” contains a great level of detail and professional analysis.

 The first two chapters serve as a reminder of the news from the past year and one that is familiar to most. I, along with everyone else I know, hope it will soon be relegated to history. However, I found the title of Chapter 3 “Is My Business Worth Saving?” to be somewhat ominous, but pertinent and attention-getting. For most of us that have committed the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears to our business, it’s an UNQUALFIED YES! That leads into the next chapter about being hopeful in communicating with customers and staff.

The remaining portion of the book is where one would find the “meat” of the matter. No matter how long you have been in business, it’s a great place to define what makes you valuable to your customers, how your menu and offerings are working for you, understanding cost drivers and profit centers for your business, and how to develop what seems to be a task worth of Hercules into more manageable action pieces and milestones whose attainment should help your business weather the doldrums and thrive no matter the conditions.

In working with Ed and our team of coffee professionals at Stockton Graham & Co., we hope to cover more of these concepts and ideas with our readers over the next several weeks and months. In the interim, I would hope you would visit his web site and order the book. I learned from a mentor long ago when starting a business, that it is often more important to step out of working for the business to focus on working on YOUR business.

Jeff Vojta
Stockton Graham & Co.