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Written by Elma Steven | Updated on July, 2024

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Find Out- Is Coffee trailer Business Profitable?

The profitability of your Coffee trailer business depends on 4 important factors: Industry Prospects, Investments, Revenue Sources, Cost and Profitability. We have taken a deep dive to find out potential profitability from the Coffee trailer business. 

Coffee trailer Industry Prospects


  • Coffee Trailer: The purchase of the trailer itself. This is your primary capital expenditure, as it serves as your mobile venue. Prices can vary based on size, condition (new or used) and specific features.
  • Espresso Machine and Grinders: High-quality commercial espresso machines and coffee grinders are essential for making professional-grade coffee. These can represent a significant investment but are crucial for product quality.
  • Refrigeration Equipment: A commercial refrigerator or under-counter fridge for storing milk, cream and cold brew coffee.
  • Additional Brewing Equipment: Depending on your menu, you may need drip coffee makers, cold brew systems, or other specialized brewing equipment.
  • Point of Sale (POS) System: A reliable POS system tailored for food and beverage service, including software for sales tracking, inventory management and customer payments.
  • Power Supply: If your trailer isn’t fully equipped for electrical needs, you may need to invest in a generator or solar panels to power your equipment, especially in locations without accessible power sources.
  • Water Supply System: An onboard water tank, pump and heating system to ensure you have a consistent and safe water supply for coffee preparation and cleaning.
  • Initial Inventory: This includes coffee beans, milk, sugar, syrups, cups, lids, straws, napkins and other consumables needed to start selling.
  • Signage and Branding: Costs associated with designing and producing signage, wraps and branding materials for your trailer to attract attention and convey your brand identity.
  • Kitchenware and Accessories: Utensils and kitchenware such as tampers, pitchers, thermometers, scales and cleaning supplies.
  • Seating and Serving Equipment: If you plan to offer seating or serving areas outside your trailer, you may need to invest in tables, chairs, umbrellas and trash receptacles.
  • Permits and Licenses: Upfront fees for obtaining the necessary permits and licenses to operate a mobile coffee business in Omaha, including health department permits, business licenses and any specific mobile vending permits.
  • Vehicle for Towing: If not included with your trailer and if applicable, the cost of a vehicle capable of safely towing your coffee trailer to various locations.
  • Insurance: Initial premiums for insurance coverage, including vehicle/trailer insurance, liability insurance and property insurance for your equipment and inventory.

By carefully planning for these CapEx items, you can ensure that your coffee trailer business in Omaha has the equipment and resources needed to offer high-quality coffee and related products, attract customers and operate efficiently. It’s advisable to conduct thorough market research and consult with financial advisors or other coffee trailer business owners to accurately estimate these costs and develop a comprehensive business plan.


  • Beverage Sales: The primary source of income will be from selling coffee and other beverages. This includes a variety of coffee drinks (espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, cold brews) and non-coffee beverages (tea, hot chocolate, smoothies).
  • Food and Snack Items: Offering food items can significantly increase your average ticket size. This could include pastries, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast items, or specialty baked goods. Partnering with local bakeries or kitchens can provide quality products without the need for extensive kitchen facilities in your trailer.
  • Retail Coffee Sales: Selling bags of coffee beans, either of your own brand or sourced from local roasters. This appeals to customers who enjoy your coffee and wish to brew it at home.
  • Merchandise: Selling branded merchandise such as mugs, tumblers, T-shirts and hats can not only boost revenue but also serve as marketing tools when customers use or wear these items.
  • Catering and Events: Offering catering services for corporate events, weddings, parties and other gatherings can provide a significant revenue stream. This could include setting up a coffee bar at events or providing bulk orders of coffee and pastries.
  • Subscriptions and Loyalty Programs: Implementing a subscription service for regular delivery of coffee beans or a loyalty program that rewards frequent customers can encourage repeat business and stabilize income.
  • Workshops and Classes: Hosting coffee-related workshops or classes, such as barista training, coffee tasting, or home brewing techniques. These can attract coffee enthusiasts willing to pay for the experience and knowledge.
  • Partnerships with Local Businesses: Establishing partnerships with local bookstores, galleries, or co-working spaces to serve as their coffee provider can guarantee steady traffic and sales.
  • Seasonal and Limited-Time Offers: Introducing seasonal drinks or limited-time offers can create buzz and increase sales through scarcity and novelty. This includes holiday-themed beverages, summer coolers, or special blends.
  • Online Sales: If feasible, setting up an online shop to sell coffee beans, merchandise and gift cards can tap into the e-commerce market and extend your reach beyond Omaha.

By leveraging these diverse revenue streams, your coffee trailer business can cater to a wide range of customer interests, maximize income potential and build a robust business model that withstands market fluctuations and competitive pressures. Continuous market research and customer feedback will be key to identifying new opportunities and areas for expansion.

Cost of Goods Sold

  • Coffee Beans: The purchase cost of coffee beans is a primary variable expense. This cost varies depending on the quality of the beans, the quantity purchased and your supplier agreements.
  • Dairy and Alternatives: Costs for milk, cream and non-dairy alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk. These expenses fluctuate based on usage and the variety of options you offer.
  • Syrups and Flavorings: Expenses for flavored syrups, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and other additives used to create specialty drinks. The cost depends on the range of flavors offered and the volume of specialty drink sales.
  • Tea and Other Beverages: Costs associated with purchasing tea, hot chocolate mix, smoothie ingredients, or any other beverage offerings besides coffee.
  • Food and Snack Items: If you sell pastries, sandwiches, or snacks, the cost of these goods, whether made in-house or sourced from suppliers, contributes to your CoGS.
  • Disposable Items: Expenses for cups, lids, stirrers, napkins and packaging for food items. Eco-friendly or branded disposables may carry a higher cost.
  • Complimentary Items: Costs for items provided for free, such as sugar, artificial sweeteners and creamer packets. While individually small, these costs can add up with volume.
  • Waste: Costs associated with spoilage, waste, or any unsold items that must be discarded, including perishable food items and beverages.
  • Delivery and Freight Charges: For businesses that order supplies frequently, the delivery charges or freight costs for getting goods to your location can be a significant variable cost.

Managing your CoGS effectively involves negotiating the best prices with suppliers, minimizing waste and optimizing your menu pricing based on the cost of ingredients. Bulk purchasing, efficient inventory management and regular cost reviews can help reduce these variable costs and improve your business’s profitability.

Operating Expenses

  • Rent or Lease Payments: If you’re leasing a space or spots to park your coffee trailer, these payments are a recurring operating expense. This might include rent for a permanent location or fees for spots at events, festivals, or farmers’ markets.
  • Utilities: Depending on your setup, you may have costs for electricity (if you’re connected to a power source), water (if using an onboard water system and needing to refill) and propane or other fuels for equipment not powered by electricity.
  • Salaries and Wages: Payments to any employees you hire to help run the coffee trailer, including baristas and support staff. This category also encompasses payroll taxes, health insurance and other benefits if offered.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Costs associated with promoting your coffee trailer to attract new customers. This can include online advertising, social media campaigns, website maintenance and production of marketing materials like flyers and menu boards.
  • Insurance: Premiums for insurance coverage, including liability insurance, vehicle insurance for the trailer and property insurance for the equipment and inventory inside the trailer.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance and any necessary repairs for your coffee trailer and any vehicles used for towing or deliveries. This ensures your operations run smoothly without unexpected breakdowns.
  • Licenses and Permits: Fees for any licenses and permits required to operate a food and beverage service business on wheels. This may include health department permits, business licenses and vending permits specific to each location where you operate.
  • Supplies and Equipment Maintenance: Costs for non-disposable supplies (cleaning materials, barista tools) and maintenance or repair of equipment like espresso machines, grinders and refrigerators.
  • Payment Processing Fees: Fees associated with processing credit card and mobile payments, typically a percentage of the transaction amount.
  • Professional Services: Fees for services provided by accountants, lawyers, or consultants who assist with various aspects of running the business, including tax preparation, legal advice and business planning.
  • Training and Development: Costs related to training for you and your staff, including barista training, customer service workshops and food safety certification courses.
  • Travel and Transportation: Expenses related to moving the trailer to different locations, if applicable, including fuel, parking fees and tolls.
  • Depreciation: Non-cash expenses accounting for the depreciation of the coffee trailer and major equipment over their useful life. This reflects the wear and tear on these assets over time.

Efficient management of these operating expenses is essential for maintaining the profitability and sustainability of your coffee trailer business. Strategies such as optimizing your route and location strategy, carefully managing inventory levels and leveraging social media for low-cost marketing can help control these costs and enhance your business’s financial health.

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