Birmingham Coffee Scene – part 4

Does Social Media work – part 2
October 16, 2011
Coffee shop VAT
December 31, 2011

We (Urban Coffee) have been talking about opening our next emporium in Manchester for the last year or so and have even had press articles covering our plans. However, in the last month we decided to postpone this for the following reasons:

– Current economic conditions (we’re not sure what’s going to happen.)

– We can’t find anywhere suitable – we have been looking for over 9-months.

– Rents are way too high in Manchester – (two to three times more than Birmingham.)

– We want to build from a solid base and are not sure we have that yet.

The major challenges of moving to a new city are:

– Market understanding: unless you spend days observing and understanding a particular location you never really know your market. We understand Birmingham, we don’t know Manchester.

– Logistics: it’s difficult to support an operation from 100 miles away, you can’t just pop in if there are issues.

– Staffing: finding staff you can trust and that can deliver without supervision.

The common mistake is for the manager/owner to go and open the new store and the result is the others suffer and you end up with multiple struggling stores which pulls you under. History is littered with coffee shops that over stretch themselves and end up in the bin.

So we note with interest that Cafe Blend are opening a Manchester shop in December. Looks like they are going ahead with a similar focus on Alcohol but have taken the property prior to getting the license approved. Not sure on the exact situation but The Titchy Coffee Co were trading from that location but may have moved within The Triangle (which means there will be a competitor with a following).

Cafe Blend, Kiosk 1, The Triangle, Exchange Square, Manchester, M4 3TR

So I guess they will blaze a path and prove or disprove how easy it is to move into a new city.