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How to sell coffee beans from your coffee van

If you've ever dreamt of turning your passion for coffee into a thriving business, then you're not alone. There's an increasing number of entrepreneurs looking to tap into the UK's thriving coffee market by launching their own mobile coffee business.

coffee beans held in a pair of hands

Specifically, selling coffee beans from a coffee van is becoming an increasingly popular food business choice. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about this exciting business opportunity.

Overview of the coffee van business

The coffee industry is booming in the UK, with consumers' love for coffee showing no signs of slowing down. This offers a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs who are passionate about the world of coffee and want to bring their products directly to consumers.

A mobile coffee van business allows you to hire someone to sell coffee beans directly to consumers at various locations in the local area, including farmers markets, food festivals, corporate events, and even outside gyms or offices.

Your target market could be individual coffee lovers interested in buying premium coffee beans to brew at home, or it could be local businesses such as cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, and offices looking for high-quality coffee beans for their operations.

Is a coffee van profitable?

Coffee vans have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason - they can be highly profitable ventures. With the growing demand for specialty coffee and the convenience of mobile businesses, a coffee van can be a lucrative opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Mobility: Unlike a traditional café, which is fixed in one location, a mobile coffee van allows you to bring your coffee business to various events, markets, and busy areas where there's a high footfall. This flexibility enables you to target different customer demographics and maximise your sales potential.
  • The start up costs: A coffee van is often more affordable compared to opening a brick-and-mortar café. You won't have to worry about expensive rental fees or investing in interior design and furnishings. Instead, you can focus on purchasing high-quality equipment, sourcing top-notch coffee beans, and creating an inviting mobile setup that attracts customers. Check out our blog on how to start a mobile coffee business for some tips and tricks.
  • Profit margins: With the right pricing strategy and efficient operations, a coffee van can generate significant revenue. By offering a range of specialty coffees, freshly brewed coffee, delicious pastries, and other complementary products, you can increase your average transaction value and keep customers coming back for more.

Understanding your target market

Before you start your mobile coffee business, it's crucial that you understand who your customers are likely to be.

Choosing the right coffee products

Once you've identified your target market, the next step is to decide on the type of coffee products you want to sell. You could choose to sell a variety of coffee beans from different origin countries, or you could focus on a niche market, with specific requirements such as organic or fair-trade coffee beans.

You might also decide to create and offer other products related to coffee, such as coffee machines, grinders, or even coffee-related gifts.

Branding your coffee van business

Creating a strong brand for your coffee van business is crucial to its success. Your brand should reflect the quality of your coffee vans' products and convey your passion for coffee.

Consider these ideas for creating a catchy name and logo for your business, and make sure that your coffee van is visually appealing and reflects your brand identity. You could even incorporate your brand colours into the design of your van.

Setting up your coffee van

Now that you have a clear idea about your brand and the products you want to sell, it's time to set up your coffee van. You'll need to invest in high-quality equipment, including a coffee machine, grinder, and storage containers for your coffee beans. You'll also need to ensure that your van has an adequate power supply for all your equipment.

Finding a wholesale coffee supplier

To run a successful coffee van business, you'll need to find a reliable wholesale coffee supplier. Your supplier should offer high-quality coffee beans at a competitive price, and they should be able to deliver your orders quickly and reliably.

It's also worth considering whether you want to pay to work with a supplier who offers additional services, such as private label coffee.

How many coffees can you make from 1kg of beans?

Have you ever wondered how many cups of coffee you can make from just 1kg of beans? Well, the answer depends on a few factors such as the size of the cup, the brewing method, and personal preference.

On average, a standard cup of coffee is around 240ml. If we assume that you use 15 grams of coffee per cup, you can make approximately 66 cups of coffee from 1kg of beans.

However, it's worth mentioning that this range is just an estimate and can vary depending on how strong or weak you like your coffee. Some people prefer to use more coffee grounds for a bolder flavour, while others may use less for a milder taste.

Different brewing methods may require varying amounts of coffee grounds. For example, a French press typically uses a higher ratio of coffee to water compared to drip brewing methods.

Dealing with regulations

Running a mobile coffee business involves complying with various regulations. You'll need to ensure that your van meets all health and safety requirements, and you'll need to obtain the necessary permits and licences to sell food and drink from your van.

It's also important to have insurance coverage to protect your business and your customers such as public liability insurance.

Creating a user-friendly eCommerce website

In addition to selling coffee beans from your van, you might also consider selling your products online.

Setting up an eCommerce website allows you to reach a wider audience and provides a convenient way for customers to order your products. Your company website should be easy to navigate, with clear product descriptions and high-quality images.

Developing a marketing strategy

To attract customers to your coffee van, you'll need to develop a robust marketing strategy. This could involve promoting your business on social media, attending local events, offering clients special promotions or discounts, or even partnering with other local businesses.

Remember, word-of-mouth is one of the most cost effective forms of marketing, so always strive to provide excellent customer service to encourage positive reviews and referrals.

Delivering excellent customer service

Last but not least, delivering excellent customer service is crucial to the success of your coffee van and catering business. This means not only serving delicious coffee and hot beverages, but also providing a friendly, welcoming experience for your customers.

Remember, your customers aren't just buying coffee beans; they're buying an experience. Make it a great one, and they'll keep coming back for more.

The bottom line

Starting a mobile café or coffee van business can be a rewarding and profitable venture, especially if you have a passion for coffee.

By understanding your target market, choosing the right products, creating a strong brand, and delivering excellent customer service, you can build a successful mobile business that brings your love of coffee beans and coffee bean roasting to a wider audience.

Final thoughts

person holding a coffee cup

While there are many factors to consider when starting a mobile coffee van business, the rewards can be immense. Not only can mobile coffee vans make you make a living doing what you love, but you can also bring joy to coffee lovers in your community.

So why wait? Start planning your coffee van business plan today, and turn your passion for coffee into a thriving business.

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