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Thinking of starting up a coffee truck...

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Ideally has anyone got any experience? I want it to have a slightly retro feel, so was hoping to get hold of one of these; Citroen 2CV Van and then put the machines in the back?


Also has anyone got restaurant/coffee shop experience with Espresso machines? The 2/3/4 head machines would look better in the back, but this site; Brackins Bar recommends going for a couple of single head machines in case the boiler goes so you can still keep serving... How likely is that?


Many thanks for any ideas and help in advance!


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Check your health department regulations. Here in AZ, they need to approve the vehicle and the remodeling plans before you start. Also, the vehicle needs to load, unload, and get cleaned in a health department certified location. (many trucks use a big warehouse run by a local coffee roaster, for a set fee)

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The health regulations may vary city to city;  in our town, the heath dept requires you to submit a list of handwash facilities on the route you're expecting to operate on, but the town next door doesn't, so definitely do some due diligence.  If you do events, be aware that you might need a catering license for the day-of so that's something to check out too.

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Oh yeah, I used to own a Citroen 2CV van many years ago. Mine was a 1958 model.

It was, and still is, a grey market vehicle  in the US. I got a salvage title, and a clear plate without questions, but, that was in the days before the DMV had computers.


I wouldn't load anything that weighs much in it, we used to have troubles with it not making it up steep hills, and I spent a good amount of time pushing it around -while it was empty. Although admittedly, I lived in Santa Fe, NM at the time which is at a fairly high altitude and hilly areas were often at much higher altitudes. That said, Smart cars have engines that are more than twice as large. By the time you have a generator and backup batteries to power the machines and a set up for hot water + a sink for handwashing, other equipment (for making coffee, and serving supplies) may weigh too much.


Ultimately, I doubt that I'd risk my life driving it nowadays. I'm not as reckless as I once was. There's simply no doubt that if an SUV hit it, everyone in the Citroen would die in the collision. I mean, have you seen the seats? You're basically driving around sitting on lawn chairs. Heck, I have owned more substantial lawn chairs than those seats. And, I have owned lawnmowers with more powerful engines. Then, there's the added bonus of having the all aluminum frame, so it crumples very easily, and has no airbags. (yes a Smart car weighs more, too) I'd really work with the health department, and know that your truck has plenty of carry capacity by weight and volume before committing to a particular type of vehicle.

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Seems to me that the biggest question is where are you going to try to pull this off.


The questions about a vintage car as a key element of your business are good ones.


But biggest question is what city is able to make this profitable. Where can you find a coffee culture that can make this profitable? i think location is the prime concern.

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  • 1 month later...

Fancy types or at least around here tech money types eat at fancy trucks. The neighborhood where Amazon has offices is flooded with higher end food trucks and their fans at lunchtime. 


There are a few coffee trucks, though the city is pretty saturated with espresso shops so it would be harder to stand out around here. 

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  • 3 months later...

How are you going to power all of this? Single group espresso machines draw enough that 2 on the same circuit will trip any conventional breaker, and most, if not all, commercial machines take at least 220v, and draw a bunch as well. You'll also need to figure in refrigeration (milk and cream) as well as work lighting. Not to mention that the Citroen is basically a steel box with no insulation, anywhere. Sweltering in summer, freezing in winter. A generator is probably out because of the noise, and not a lot of places have that kind of power available for outdoor hookup.

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