HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Business Plan 101 (11 msgs / 328 lines)
1) From: Matthew A. Hodges
Hi all-
First, as someone who has been a longtime reader, albeit
infrequent poster on SweetMaria's email list, I wanted to say a
quick thanks for all of the excellent information.  It would be
great to be able to partake in the discussions more often, but
due to time constraints - my more than full-time job, 2 evening
classes a semester, and being recently married - I find it
difficult to keep up with the reading and roasting my own beans!
 
I do have a coffee-related question that I wanted to throw out
to everyone.  One of my MBA classes this semester involves
writing a business plan.  It is a group project, and my team is
to submit several ideas to the professor for consideration over
the next ten days.  The professor's only constraint was that the
project must somehow have a technology association.  Each person
in my group is creating an idea, and we will then narrow it down
to three ideas for submission.  
My idea for the business plan relates to the opening of a
premium bean, fresh-roasted coffeehouse.  Obviously, this idea
is hardly breaking any new ground.  However, it would be great
if I could put more of a new spin on the idea as well as
integrating the technology factor into the equation.  If you
would not mind sharing your ideas/thoughts, if you would post or
email me with anything different that you have perhaps seen
done, or simply thought of as a nice-to have at a coffeehouse,
it would be greatly appreciated.  The technology factor could be
any part of the equation - whether it be the roasting process,
the use of the laptop connections (such as at *$), etc.
Thanks again for any help.
Regards,
Matt
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2) From: cyberpsych@pop3.win.net
Matthew...you just have to be more selective about setting prioritie=
s.  I'm
sure you can drop a few of those things listed so you can participate more=
often.  Are you working on your CSA or not??? 
Ed Needhamhttp://www.homeroaster.comed 
Original Message:
-----------------
From: Matthew A. Hodges mhodges
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 11:05:05 -0700 (PDT)
To: homeroast
Subject: +Business Plan 101
Hi all-
First, as someone who has been a longtime reader, albeit
infrequent poster on SweetMaria's email list, I wanted to say a
quick thanks for all of the excellent information.  It would be
great to be able to partake in the discussions more often, but
due to time constraints - my more than full-time job, 2 evening
classes a semester, and being recently married - I find it
difficult to keep up with the reading and roasting my own beans!
 
I do have a coffee-related question that I wanted to throw out
to everyone.  One of my MBA classes this semester involves
writing a business plan.  It is a group project, and my team is
to submit several ideas to the professor for consideration over
the next ten days.  The professor's only constraint was that the
project must somehow have a technology association.  Each person
in my group is creating an idea, and we will then narrow it down
to three ideas for submission.  
My idea for the business plan relates to the opening of a
premium bean, fresh-roasted coffeehouse.  Obviously, this idea
is hardly breaking any new ground.  However, it would be great
if I could put more of a new spin on the idea as well as
integrating the technology factor into the equation.  If you
would not mind sharing your ideas/thoughts, if you would post or
email me with anything different that you have perhaps seen
done, or simply thought of as a nice-to have at a coffeehouse,
it would be greatly appreciated.  The technology factor could be
any part of the equation - whether it be the roasting process,
the use of the laptop connections (such as at *$), etc.
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3) From: Ted Kostek
Two ideas:
A coffee cart.  Not so much "technology", but roasting beans live might be a
nice extra.  Some one pointed out that beautiful people w/ little clothing
is an even marketing ploy, but at least mine is actually related to the
(nominal) product.
"Smart" roaster (excuse me while I gag on my own BS).  Put a temp sensor
into the roast chamber, make the fan and/or heater controlable, and add a
microprocessor to the thing, then put roast temperature profiles into
memory.
tmk
--
Ted Kostek
765 494 2146 (desk)
765 494 1489 (engine room)
765 494 0787 (fax)
"Always keep in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important
than any other thing."  Abraham Lincoln
<Snip>
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4) From: F. M. McNeill
Recognize that coffee is legal means of drug usage,
Charbucks, for instance, is a true drug house.
Your business plan could recognize this explicitly.
1. Educate people on the various means of administrating the drugs.
2. Use modern analytical chemistry methods to measure the 
drug dosage.
3. Provide means for measuring drug effects on humans (reaction time,
confabulation effects, etc. ).
4. Show how these drugs contribute to the society and culture.
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5) From: Ben Treichel
How about a "U R Cooks" format for a coffee house. You place a little FR 
or other small roaster at the table, a grinder, and a french press. Then 
the customers just buy the green beans ( of different types) from you. 
Along with all the other crap they sell at those places.
Advertise it as the 'american equivalent' of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Ben
Matthew A. Hodges wrote:
<Snip>
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6) From: Al Raden
I always thought it rather odd that people assume that 'technology' has 
to imply computers, microprocessors, communications, etc.
Per Webster's, technology is defined as:
1 a: the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular 
area   b: a capability given by the practical application of knowledge 

2: a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical 
 
processes, methods, or knowledge 
3: the specialized aspects of a particular field of endeavor 
So, when I dump some green beans into my Poppery, I'm using 
'technology'.  When I dump those roasted beans into my grinder, I'm 
using 'technology'.  When I pull a shot, I'm using 'technology'.  I 
think an interesting business plan would be to write the business plan 
for SM's.  You take a relatively unknown skill - coffee roasting, 
educate people (on-line, of course), spread the word via newsgroups and 
mailing lists, sell the beans as well as the 'technnology' needed to 
roast beans, sell primarily on the internet, and build it into a 
reasonable decent business.  A niche business at its best.
- al r.
<Snip>

7) From: Dan Bollinger
Instead of a coffee shop, why not a business operating a small, artisan
roaster that serves a small enough area that can be served by daily
deliveries?  The roasting process, JIT delivery, custom and proprietary
blending, and dealing with a product that has a shelf-life should fuel a lot
of debate and perhaps create a unique business plan.  Customers could
include local coffee shops, retail markets like farmer's markets and wine
shops as well as corporate clients who want the very best. Dan
<Snip>
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8) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 11:50 9/9/02, Ben Treichel typed:
<Snip>
I was thinking this but noted that the beans need to rest in most cases.  I 
do like/agree with the grinder and brewing method for the customer.
<Snip>
An at table vac pot (Cona of course) would be nice.
Also, individual availability of varietal shots (not just the one espresso 
char blend)
--
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Roasting and Blending by Gestalt
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9) From: Ben Treichel
AlChemist John wrote:
<Snip>
I agree fully, but this isn't about good coffee, its about business. I'm 
willing to bet that 99% of the people that would come to a place like 
this this don't have a problem drinking Tasters Choice because they had 
great commercials. I like the vacuum pot Idea, but a french press is 
suppose to be able to overcome this problem (I think that's from the SM 
website). Also to encourage repeat business, you could hold customers 
beans for the next time they come in. This would develop an 'ownership' 
in the process, and customer loyalty.  Then cater to groups who meet at 
least once a week.
<Snip>
yeah!
<Snip>
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10) From: Matthew A. Hodges
Thanks to everyone for some great business plan ideas.  
Ed, you could say that I am working on my CSA membership,
although I am not sure that I remember all of the
qualifications.  I currently have 5 methods to brew my coffee -
my Livia, Melior French Press, Bodum eSantos, Swiss Gold filter,
and Mr. Coffee drip.  My tamper of choice is the Ergo-Packer.  I
use a Mini Mazzer for my grinding purposes.  I have
approximately 20 different types of greens on hand.  My coffee
of choice is espresso, which I begin each day with two doubles. 
 Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I am usually only able
to roast every two weeks; however, I roast enough to get me
through this period.  My usual roasting session results in
around 10-11 batches on my Fresh Roast+.  I normally roast 4
different bean types/blends in a given session as well.  This
gives me a little variety over the two-week period.  I know that
there are those that would say that two weeks is much too long
for the beans to still be fresh, but I find that most varieties
are quite good through at least the 11th day post-roast.  This
is of course just my opinion.  
OT:  I too liked the silly-putty in today's WSJ, although I am
not sure that my office would be fond of my bouncing it off the
walls.  According to my article, "Putty devotees say a nice,
chunky handful, massaged and stretched and squeezed, is the
perfect workplace stress-reliever. Some say ricocheting it off
their office walls helps them think. Others spend hours
sculpting characters, shapes and animals."
As far as the business plan ideas, there were definitely some
great ones:
1)  The artisan roaster was a very good idea.  This would
probably work best in an urban area where there would be MANY
potential clients.  How difficult of a sell would it be to
convince potential clients to switch to my fresh roasted beans? 
Why don't more places do it now?  I know of one coffeehouse in
downtown Boston that fresh roasts their coffee, but I do not see
them selling it to anyone other than individual consumers.
2)  I also liked the Coffeehouse with the personal table roaster
- the 'American equivalent' of the Japanese tea ceremony.  I
would be slightly concerned about the chaff mess and/or the
roasting smoke.  The café would require some good ventilation. 
Are there many bean varieties that do NOT require a resting
period?  How would you suggest holding the beans for the return
visit?
3)  I think that I may have a tough time selling my team on a
business plan for the legalized caffeine dispensing drug den. 
However, I will throw it out to them for discussion.
4)  The coffee cart is a good idea too.  I do not have much
personal experience with them as there do not seem to be (m)any
in Boston.  Roasting live beans might attract some attention -
if this was being done with the scantily clad barrista, I would
want to ensure that it would be difficult to get burned from the
roaster.
5)  A business plan related to a new type of roaster would be
interesting as I have been curious about HotTop's and
Hearthware's strategy in what I think  has proven a difficult
market in the past.  It may just be a matter of getting a
dependable enough roaster, which is within a homeroaster's
budget.
6)  Something based upon the SM model would also be quite doable
and I think that Tom has really done a top-notch job. 
Thanks again for your input and suggestions.  I will see what my
team thinks.
Matt
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11) From: Dan Bollinger
<Snip>
I thought so, too!  :)   Some coffeehouses with roasters will sell roasted
beans wholesale to corporate clients and even other coffeehouses.  It keeps
the machine and roastmaster busy and hence more profitable.  You might not
see this happening because the shipments would be out the service door. I
think it would be an easy sell.  Just do a cupping.  The taste difference
would do the selling!  Dan
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