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Approximately 70% of Americans consume coffee at least weekly, and others like a cup on the move. Food trucks, including coffee trucks and coffee carts, are a thriving sector, with the number of food trucks operating in the United States increasing in only a decade.

A mobile coffee cart can operate in busy city centers, at festivals, or even at special events like weddings or business parties. You can have fun, enjoy some wonderful coffee, and make a nice life if you establish a coffee cart company. 

To understand how to establish and operate a business, you will need to conduct some research. Fortunately, this step-by-step tutorial will set you on the right track.

Step 1: Find Out if this is the Right Business for You?

Positives Vs Negatives

Fun way of life – Get out and meet new people.
Popular – Most Americans like a nice cup of coffee.
Coffee has a significant profit margin.
A cart and equipment will be required as an investment.
Market Overcrowding – Compete with coffee trucks and other beverage trucks.

  • Size of the sector and historical growth – The US food truck market is expected to be worth $1.2 billion in 2022, after growing at a 6.4% annual rate over the previous five years.
  • Forecasted growth – In 2022, the US food truck business is expected to rise by 3.4%.
  • Number of enterprises – In 2022, there will be 35,512 food truck businesses in the United States.
  • In 2022, the US food truck business will employ 40,547 people.

Cost of Starting a Coffee Cart Business in 2023

Coffee cart startup expenses range between $9,000 to $18,000. The costs include both the cart and the coffee equipment. There are several sorts of coffee carts available, the majority of which are trailers that attach to your vehicle. If you purchase one that isn’t a trailer, you’ll need to move it on a trailer. 

Investment Items:

  • Coffee Stand
  • Coffee Maker
  • Coffee Mill
  • Brewer for coffee
  • Coffee Maker
  • Equipment for Serving
  • Pitchers that are steamed
  • Sink for handwashing
  • Your Coffee Maker Needs a Water Pump
  • Water bottles

Is Coffee Cart Business in 2023 Profitable?

You’ll charge by the cup if you put up your coffee cart in crowded downtown areas or at festivals. Specialty coffee beverages might cost as much as $4 per cup. If you perform events, such as weddings, you can charge by the hour or by the event’s total cost. You should be able to make around $300 each event. Profit should be around 70%.

In your first year or two, you could host three events per month and sell 50 coffee cups each day, five days a week, for a total yearly income of $63,000. Assuming a 70% profit margin, this equates to $44,000 in profit. As your company grows, you may be able to hold five events per month and sell 75 coffee cups per day, five days a week. You’d generate a comfortable $67,000 profit on an annual revenue of $96,000.

Entry Barriers

  • The coffee cart and equipment’s start-up costs
  • Making a name for yourself in a crowded market

Step 2: Create a Strategy

Identify a Gap

Examine the items, pricing, and user reviews of coffee carts in your neighborhood. You’re aiming to fill a market void. For example, perhaps the local market is lacking in a coffee van or a cold brew coffee cart. This might kickstart your word-of-mouth marketing and immediately attract clients. 


  • You should create a customized menu to distinguish your coffee cart. You may even sell baked goods from your cart.


A typical cup of coffee may cost between $2 and $3, whereas a speciality coffee drink may cost between $4 and $6. You should earn at least $50 per hour for events. Examine local prices to ensure you’re competitive. After deducting your ingredient and gasoline costs, you should aim for a profit margin of around 70%. 

Once you’ve determined your expenses, you can use this profit margin calculator to figure out your mark-up and final pricing points. Keep in mind that the pricing you use at launch should be subject to modify if the market warrants it.

Target Market

Because the majority of people drink coffee, your target market will be large. You should diversify your marketing efforts to include TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.


Choosing the best location for your coffee cart business is critical to its success. Look for a location with a large volume of foot traffic and a high demand for coffee, such as a major junction, a transportation hub, or a prominent retail district.

Consider accessibility and convenience, making sure the area is easily accessible by foot and has enough room for your coffee cart. Furthermore, evaluate the competition in the region and strive to differentiate your coffee cart company by offering unique blends, tastes, or brewing processes, or by providing a welcome and customized experience for consumers.

You may develop a lucrative and popular coffee cart business that serves a diverse variety of clients and stands out in the competitive coffee sector by deliberately selecting the proper location.

Step 3: Write a Business Plan

Every company need a strategy. This will serve as a manual to help your business through the launch process while keeping you focused on your primary objectives. A business plan also helps potential partners and investors understand your company’s mission and vision:

  • Executive Summary: A brief summary of the full business plan that should be produced when the plan is completed.
  • Business Overview: A description of the organization, including its vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
  • Product and Services: Provide detailed descriptions of your offers.
  • Market Analysis: Conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate market trends such as variances in demand and development potential.
  • Analyze your top rivals’ strengths and shortcomings, then produce a list of the benefits of your services.
  • Sales and marketing: Investigate your company’s unique selling propositions (USPs) and create sales, marketing, and promotional plans.
  • Management Team: An overview of the management team, outlining their positions and professional backgrounds, as well as a corporate hierarchy.
  • Operations strategy: Your company’s operations strategy comprises procurement, office location, critical assets and equipment, and other logistical aspects.
  • Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup expenses, break-even analysis, profit and loss forecasts, cash flow, and a balance sheet.
  • Include any extra financial or commercial documentation in the appendix.

Step 3: Create a Marketing Plan

Some of your customers will be passing by or online, but you should still engage in digital marketing! It is extremely vital for new businesses to spread the word since it increases consumer and brand recognition. 

After you’ve launched your website, connect it to your social media profiles and vice versa. Because you can generate compelling posts that sell your items on social media, it is an excellent tool for promoting your business: 

  • Facebook: A fantastic paid advertising network that allows you to target certain demographics, such as males under the age of 50 in the Cleveland region. 
  • Instagram has the same advantages as Facebook, but with a different target demographic.
  • Website: SEO will help your website rank higher in relevant search results, which is critical for driving sales. Make certain that your website’s calls to action are optimized. Experiment with the wording, color, size, and location of calls to action like “Coffee Now.” This has the potential to dramatically increase sales. 
  • Google and Yelp: Getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be critical to creating awareness and consumers for businesses that rely on local clients.

Kickstart Marketing

Increase awareness of your services and promote your brand by utilizing your website, social media presence, and in-person events. Here are some ideas: 

  • Display eye-catching signs at your cart and on your website.
  • Make a film about your coffee cart. Use humour, and it may go viral!
  • Send out frequent emails to consumers and prospects. Make them unique to you. 
  • Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and distribute it across numerous platforms.
  • Paid social media advertisements – Select sites that will reach your target audience and run targeted ads.
  • Pay-per-click marketing entails using Google AdWords to improve search engine performance. First, conduct keyword research.