Correspondents closed the cult (in narrow circles) coffee shop. Crying and summing up
THE MOST RIGHT COFFEE
A brown liquid splashed at the bottom of the coffee cup. And it wasn’t coffee.
- Rum! Finally, we have the right coffee here! – cried Rukobratsky, bumping his paper cup Belyakov. Both drank immediately.
“It was a good coffee shop,” breathed Belyakov.
- There will be others! – Rukobratsky breathed out after . Although I knew that there would be no others like that.
We sat inside our cozy little coffee shop, which opened in May 2015. Then, after two crises in a row – fiscal 2008 and political and economic 2014 – we decided to set up an experiment: is it possible to run your own small business while keeping your main job? Where, due to crises, bonuses are cut and wages are reduced.
We painstakingly wrote notes in the first year of the business. And then they stopped – money loves silence.
At first, everything was strange and incomprehensible in the sea of relations between Russian small business and the state. But Belyakov’s analytical mind helped to figure everything out. While Rukobratsky charisma lured people into the coffee shop. Even the Speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova liked our cocoa when she was on the air on KP radio. I ordered it twice.
How did we succeed? Here’s a recipe. Belyakov, the financial engine of our enterprise, explains:
- I registered an individual entrepreneur – an individual entrepreneur, this is now done in a few clicks on the state services website. Then he agreed to buy a franchise – he found a chain of coffee shops in Veliky Novgorod. For half a million rubles (and in Moscow they asked for a million or more for the same), they agreed to help us with the equipment of the outlet, suppliers, plus training the barista – this is the one who makes you coffee. Then I was looking for a place for a future coffee shop for a long time. As a result, an end was made in the cafeteria of Komsomolskaya Pravda, where the employees ate food brought from home. But most importantly, this buffet could be accessed from any other office in the building. And even from the street.
The rent was minimal, but I had to put up with the smell of microwaved fish cakes (they were carrying them from home!). The expectation that the visitors of the buffet would take after coffee and cakes was not justified. On the contrary, the crowd at lunchtime and the “cocoa” -phony of smells frightened off clients.
Despite this, the business went to zero in two months, and then a small plus appeared. A year later, the landlord invited us to occupy the entire premises. From a take-away point, we were able to turn into a full-fledged cafe. But there was a risk. The rent grew fivefold, and it was necessary to work on the growth of revenue.
We carried out several advertising campaigns in the building where the editorial office was located. So we lured employees of other companies to us to drink coffee. Although we had fierce competition. Our coffee shop was located on the 4th floor of an office building. And on the first floor there were two competitors. But one had expensive coffee and the other had a cheap push-button coffee machine. We relied on quality and a friendly atmosphere.
The risk paid off! Good coffee, an Italian coffee machine, and a cheerful barista are the three ingredients of our first arrival.
We managed to recapture the 500 thousand rubles invested in the first stage in a year and a half.
MINUTE – MONEY
In the first year, the coffee shop was time-consuming. Sometimes Belyakov wanted to strangle Rukobratsky, and Rukobratsky – Belyakov. Especially at the very beginning. It was necessary to establish all the processes, to deal with the equipment, to expand the assortment. Either the cash register breaks down, then the terminal for accepting bank cards turns off, then the milk runs out.
I had to literally drop everything, call tech support or run to the store. Because every minute of downtime is a lost profit.
In the third and fourth years, we relaxed. The traffic in the office center was about the same. The work with suppliers has improved. The main thing is to keep track of consumables and order everything on time. I missed the moment – early in the morning you go to METRO for a centner of milk on your own. We consistently received 20-30 thousand rubles of profit per month. Not so much money for Moscow, but labor costs are minimal.
In the fifth year of the life of the coffee shop, there was a sharp increase. “Well, finally,” we said. The monthly profit began to reach 50-60 thousand rubles. And this was already a decent increase in salary. And then 2020 came …