Cafe Tangoing going gone!

This is the cautionary tale of Bruce Wharton, founder of doomed coffee shop Cafe Tango for putting a complete chronicle of his tale online. What a fantastic learning resource for others!

His website tells the tale of startup coffee business Cafe Tango from planning, through execution and eventual last tango — managing to make a surprising number of coffee business mistakes along the way and yet still able to survive for about 2 years before closing. It gives a great overview of things that can potentially go wrong, all in one convenient package.

Reasons for Coffee Shop Failure

He begins with an introduction and overview of the business:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/coffee-shop-failure-intro.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

Inconvenience (parking) and difficulty of spotting the location:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Site-Selection.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

Overpaying for build out (better to keep it simple):

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Build-Out.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

The menu: too much food and “hotel style quality” coffee:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/bad-menu.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

Expensive advertising, rarely a good return on investment for coffee shops and discount coupons, which cheapen the perceived product and attract low cost opportunity seekers:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/expensive-advertising.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

Unfocused events that are more likely to deter new business than build loyal customers:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Events.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

…and the final summary plus an unexpected bonus resume of skills at the bottom:

[embeddoc url=”https://www.coffeestrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/failure-summary.pdf” width=”550px” height=”350px” download=”none” viewer=”google”]

We’ve all learned something here. For more information about starting a coffee shop, see my free online guide of business planning tips.