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:

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Inconvenience (parking) and difficulty of spotting the location:

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

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

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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:

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

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

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