Franchise or Independent? Coffee Consultant Gives Tips for Choosing a Coffee Shop Business Plan

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There are numerous business models to consider when opening a coffee shop. Greg Ubert, founder and president of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, offers tips for deciding whether a coffee shop franchise, independent coffee house or combination model is right for you.

Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry
What sets Crimson Cup apart from other consultants and coffee shop franchises is that we don’t charge for our services. No contract. No franchise fees. In fact, we don’t even require that you buy Crimson Cup products.

When starting a coffee shop, most entrepreneurs believe their choices are limited to buying a coffee shop franchise or striking out on their own. But, as Greg Ubert of Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea explains, there are also options that combine the benefits of both franchise and independence.

"Choosing the right business model enhances your personal satisfaction and chance of success as a coffee house owner," Ubert said. “The key is to do your research and carefully consider all options before solidifying your coffee shop business plan.”

He noted that a coffee shop franchise is an option for those who:

Have financial backing to cover franchise fees and royalties in addition to other start-up costs such as rent, purchase of equipment and supplies, and enough cash to cover the first few months of operation.

Are willing to sign a long-term agreement with the franchise.

Will be happy to delegate decisions about the name, layout, menu and staffing of their coffee shop to a corporate office.

Want to take advantage of a franchise’s name recognition (if applicable) and corporate marketing support.

Don’t mind sharing profits, filling out paperwork and reporting to a corporate entity.
He said an independent coffee house appeals to those who:

Desire to put their unique stamp on the shop’s name, layout, ambiance and operating hours.

Are willing to invest time and money learning the specialty coffee business, with a certain amount of trial and error.

Want to conserve start-up capital and retain profits.

Desire freedom to set their own menu, experiment with different coffees or use locally-sourced ingredients.

“A third option, offered by some coffee roasters and coffee consultants, combines all the benefits of a coffee shop franchise without mark-ups, franchise fees or royalties,” he said.

He noted that this franchise alternative is ideal for those who:

Want to maintain their independence yet avoid the pitfalls of going it alone by taking advantage of a specialty coffee consultant’s experience.

Choose to minimize risk by partnering with an established coffee roaster and supplier.

Desire to retain flexibility to change suppliers or business concepts in reaction to changing market conditions.

"Crimson Cup offers a franchise alternative that provides experienced consulting, comprehensive free training, tested equipment and award-winning products backed by more than 20 years of experience in specialty coffee,” Ubert said. “What sets Crimson Cup apart from other consultants and coffee shop franchises is that we don’t charge for our services. No contract. No franchise fees. In fact, we don’t even require that you buy Crimson Cup products."

"Though not bound by any contract, hundreds of independent coffee shops keep buying from us because we deliver great-tasting coffee and coffee house products, supply high-quality equipment and supplies and provide effective marketing strategies and materials – all of which contributes to their ongoing success," said Ubert.

Ubert has distilled his experience in independent coffee shop success into a book, Seven Steps to Success in the Specialty Coffee Industry. Now in its second printing, this common-sense guide is the foundation of Crimson Cup's Seven Steps franchise alternative program.

To learn more about Crimson Cup’s Seven Steps program, products and services, call 888-800-9224. Or, fill out this form, and a consultant will be in touch soon!

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

Since 1991, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea has roasted and packaged quality, great-tasting coffee in Columbus, Ohio and taught independent business owners how to be successful in specialty coffee. In 2007, Crimson Cup opened its first company-owned coffee house, which joined a network of more than 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, and food service operations across 25 states that serve Crimson Cup beverages. For more information, visit http://www.crimsoncup.com.

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Cheryl Claypoole
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