The Pros and Cons of Starting a Bikini Espresso Stand

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Deciding on opening a bikini barista coffee stand can be intriguing and beneficial from a business perspective. Aside from the novelty of bikini-wearing baristas, a well-located coffee stand can be a very profitable business venture.

Starting a bikini barista coffee drive-thru stand has an inherent competitive advantage to other coffee stands: It provides a novel customer experience, generate inherent marketing advantages, and generate higher receipts per sale. Of course, the actual numbers vary, but nevertheless, the business model can create certain competitive advantages. 

Despite the potential for profitability, however, we strongly encourage you to learn the basic fundamentals of the retail coffee business before you spend money on starting your bikini barista drive-thru coffee stand. There's a lot of things to master: the municipal aspects of the business is important but so to are are learning the basics of running a coffee stand.

We strongly believe that learning how retail coffee with the help of other experienced coffee business owners can be helpful in developing your business concept and executing your strategy.

Okay, so let us assume that you are thinking about starting a coffee stand with bikini baristas. What's ahead for you? 

  1. Potential Significant Profit
  2. Potential Controversy
  3. Lots of Planning & Research


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Bikini Barista Coffee Drive Thru Can Be Very Profitable. Credit: ABC News


But What Are The Pros and Cons of Starting a Bikini Coffee Stand Business?


Over the years, we have been asked about what the prospects of starting a successful bikini coffee stand business would be like.

The apparent success of existing bikini stands in the Northwest (and elsewhere in the United States), have attracted the attention of many other coffee entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. and beyond.  While it will require much more research to start, we have seen that it can be tremendously profitable. 

The niche entertainment coffee business model that a bikini coffee stand provides has raised some eyebrows in some communities, but it has also raised a lot of money.

With appropriate planning, having a profitable espresso bikini stand business is certainly obtainable. I have been able to interview several bikini baristas and bikini coffee stand business owners and know that the businesses can be very worthwhile, especially in a competitive market.

Like many other businesses, your chances of success often increases if you are the first in your area to launch a particular business that has the demand. However, keep in mind, having the first bikini espresso stand in your area can ruffle the feathers of your neighboring community and spark an ongoing antagonist relationship with some.

Certainly, a bikini coffee stand business can easily differentiate itself from the competitors, but it also stands out with critics.

While traditional coffee shop and coffee business try to bring communities together, the bikini barista model seems to isolate people into three camps:

1. People that are opposed to them outright and don't want them in their community; 2. People that support their right of “being in business”; 3. People who really don't have an opinion either way – as long as the business obeys the law.

In fact, from our keen observation, we have found that while the critics are often of loud, many people fall within the third section, many people actually don’t oppose such coffee businesses and defend a business owner's rights, as long as no laws are being broken (and the business doesn't attract unwanted spillover of crime, etc.).

Bikini Barista Espresso Business Take Away Points:

  • Bikini espresso stands can be very profitable
  • Bikini barista coffee businesses require exceptional research and planning 
  • Bikini barista stands may attract good and bad attention (and scrutiny

Instead of fully weighing in on the controversies themselves, let us take a brief look at what it takes to start a coffee business – especially opening up a bikini espresso stand business below.  Aside from the attire, we know that a coffee stand owner needs to do his/her research thoroughly. In the following article, we will discuss some of the important topics you will need to address as you start planning your business.

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The right business for you? Facebook, M. Martinez

Let's start with a little history.

Bikini barista coffee stands have been around for about 12-13 years now. Many of them started in the Pacific Northwest where coffee is prevalent and competition among coffee business is fierce.

A way to encourage sales, baristas started simply to wear bikini tops – after approval of local municipalities were granted.

As you can imagine the novelty of the bikini barista coffee stand drove up curious customers and sales, making the venture of young women dressed in bikinis and serving coffee quite profitable. In essence, it's an effective marketing strategy.

But once the “coffee business model” seal was broken, other competitors started showing up – and a new coffee stand business model was born.

While some bikini barista espresso stands focus on quality coffee, many customers find that uniqueness a compelling differentiation in the market place: a novel customer experience by being served by bikini baristas and/or uniquely-themed costumes.

Perhaps having bikini espresso stand business may be hard for some people to swallow, there is no denying that having a strong, clear, and concise USP (Unique Sales Proposition) can serve as a competitive advantage for any business in the market place. A strong USP can increase sales,  develop customer loyalty, and lead to profits. But how much profits exactly?


$2 Million a Year in Revenue?

Your revenue will vary due to numerous factors that are unique to your location, your number of customers, and pricing. However, we recently read an article about one bikini coffee stand owner who raked in $2 million in revenue. Not bad for such a small investment. But this is certainly an extreme outlier of success and a reasonable coffee drive thru business owner shouldn't expect revenue at this level from one coffee stand location.  Of course, if you have multiple locations, the economy of scale, can multiply your gross revenue. 

There are many factors in starting a profitable coffee business. For example, you will want to make sure that you understand your pricing, product services, and other elements that adhere to your locale's laws and regulations.

Still, one of the take-away points is that your bikini coffee stand business can be profitable.

But remember, that example just mentioned was an outlier of revenue. In reality, most coffee or espresso stands are more modest in their revenue (and take significant work to maintain).  Such success factors including your revenue, really are impacted by your location, your lease, your product offering, your management skills, and pricing strategy.

Your initial startup costs are also important to consider. If you decide to borrow (take a loan or use credit cards), you may hamper your ability to turn a profit in a more reasonable time period.

Like any business, if you want to open a bikini barista coffee stand, you will want to calculate your pro forma financials and determine your break-even point. If you want to calculate your break-even point and profitability for your future, our coffee shop business guide is a resource you will want to invest in.  

Turning a profit for any business is important and necessary to your viability as a business. Of course, you want to be able to increase your revenue, decrease your costs, and scale your operations. By doing so, maintaining a well-greased operation, turning a profit is more than feasible. 


Bikini Stands are gaining in popularity despite inherent potential controversy. Photo Credit: My NorthWest AP File

Bikini Stands are gaining in popularity despite inherent potential controversy. Photo Credit: My NorthWest / AP File


How To Start a Bikini Barista Espresso Stand

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A bikini barista coffee stand in essence is no different from a “regular joe” coffee stand. It needs all the same things that any other coffee stand needs.

For example, as a new or potentially new coffee business owner, you will need to secure a great location, business licenses, health department permits, coffee equipment and coffee supplies – such as a local coffee roaster, supplier of cups and lids, etc.

The coffee business plan is a unique document that is used to separate the doers from the dreamers. Most coffee businesses actually fail, not because of a lack of money, but because of a lack of planning.  This is especially true for bikini barista espresso stands. 

For more information and premium resources on starting a coffee stand business, we recommend that you start with our Coffee Business Startup Guide. It will provide you with a depth of knowledge and expertise of real-world coffee business owners. Learn from the experts on how to start your coffee stand.  

Consider reading the following articles on how to start a coffee stand business:


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Analyzing The Pros and Cons of Opening a Bikini Barista Stand

Every locale and municipality varies from the next, so the pros and cons may be different for each coffee business owner.

Certainly a few of positive and not-so-positive reasons for starting a bikini espresso stand that come to mind. If you are thinking of starting a bikini stand in  your community,  you should do some research and lots of planning.

There is a lot of back-and-forth of opinions and legal decisions that impact bikini baristas. There is a strong argument that baristas serving coffee in bikinis is (or should be) proctected by the First Amendment and the variious cities' dress-code ordinances are not just vague but most likely violates equal protection because they often apply only to women.

A good place to start:

If you are considering starting a bikini barista stand, consider the following questions: Are there other existing bikini espresso stands in the specific area where you wish to startup your coffee stand business? Has there ever been an attempt to build or open a coffee bikini barista drive-thru stand? What would the sentiments at city hall or in the community in general be?  

Our strong recommendation is that you do as much research and planning as possible – as well as get your finances in order – before you approach others with your plan.

Our Complete Coffee Shop Startup Kit might be beneficial with this respect. With our kit, not only will you get a wide spectrum of the retail coffee business advice delivered to you, but also specific tools to help you plan your coffee stand business. Additionally, we also interview a bikini barista coffee stand owner. It's an interview you don't want to miss.

Taking time to listen to coffee business professionals and find out what they can offer you in terms of advice can help you better position yourself for success.

Unfortunately, many people try to save or skip out on first learning about the coffee business and end up struggling and ultimately failing. This is not the best path to take. Why make the significant investment but not take time to learn about your industry?

With that being said, let's give a few “Pro” positions on starting your own espresso bikini stand:


The Pros of Starting a Bikini Barista Coffee Drive-Thru Stand

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Bikini Baristas make significantly higher level of tips. Photo Credit: OregonLive


There is no question that there are real and tangible benefits of starting a bikini barista coffee drive-thru stand. Consider the following:

#1 Differentiation in the Market Place – Clearly, owning and operating a bikini stand will be a lot different than your “traditional coffee stand”. Therefore “standing out” will be much easier to do. Having a different offering – which is ultimately the “novel customer experience” of being served by bikini-wearing baristas – is the basis of this significant differentiation. This translates to serving a very specific niche and reduce your competition in some market places.

#2 Marketing May Be Easier – By being able differentiate yourself in the “market place” with the bikini barista experience, you may find that your promotional efforts and marketing will be easier – or not – depending on how you handle the negatives (which we will talk about later). However, with all things being equal, your bikini espresso stand will essentially market itself – or at least through the level of high customer service offered by your baristas.

#3: Customer Loyalty – A single loyal customer can spend $1000 – $1500  a year on coffee (on average) bought at a coffee stand and café – and that number doesn’t it include tips! In discussions with bikini baristas and bikini coffee stand owners, loyal customers are critical. Having more loyal customers is a perk the owners and baristas try to establish through excellent customer service, remembering names, previous conversations, and of course, well-poured coffee.

#4: Potentially Very Profitable – Many bikini baristas offer espresso coffee (of a variety of calibers) at generally a higher premium than other coffee shops. Some retail coffee/espresso prices can be 20% to 35% more than, say a coffee chain or other cafes. The number of daily net sales and sales per order, may in fact be higher when averaging the same number of customers at similar coffee stands. This generally leads to higher profitability for bikini stands.

#5: Recouping Business Investments May Be Quicker – Since prices per order may be higher and net sales will also be higher, recouping coffee business startup costs, may be quicker. Certainly, you will need to figure out your coffee business “break-even point”, but the more quickly a coffee stand is able to turn profit more quickly, generally the numbers point to reaching your break-even point faster.



Start a bikini stand, how to open a bikini stand

Credit: Fox 10


The Cons of Opening Up a Bikini Barista Coffee Drive-Thru Stand

Like starting any business, weighting the negatives or Cons for starting it needs to be done. In fact, it's part of doing your due diligence.

Rather than treating each negative like a potential barrier, many successful business owners treat negatives as potential opportunities. Again, it's a matter of thoughtful planning, research, and business expertise.

#1: A potential powder-keg of controversy – Local news media love to cover this story. Local news managers see all the good stuff that drives ratings: The story involves bikini-clad women (AKA sexuality), a local business, and often scandalous controversy, oozing with the potential of crime, so it’s easy to find someone who is opposed to the business. This story is simply waiting to be covered by local TV stations on the occasion the next business owner or barista makes the wrong move.

#2: May be more difficult to get a business license  If you open a bikini coffee stand, you may have trouble securing a business plan in your community. You will need to do advanced research before you get a business license. Additionally, you may need to attend and get approval before your city council or county board.

#3: May be more difficult to find employees You will need to find willing employees who want to dress in bikinis every day in your local area – you will need to make sure that you are able to hire 3-5 part-time baristas. 

Baristas generally have a high turn-over rate, so your investment in training and excellent and stable customer service is a priority, finding the right employees may be challenging depending on where your business is. All it takes is one “bad” employee to turn your profitable business into a money pit.

#4: Community May Not Embrace Your Business – Since bikini barista stands may generate a lot of news and attention, your community may not fully embrace your business. As any competent business owner would do, make sure you do your market research to see how the community will respond to your business.


Your Coffee Drive Thru Business:

High Profits Vs. Facing Your Community's Potential Wrath

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Develop Your Coffee Stand Business :

Addressing The Cons of Bikini Espresso Stand: Planning, Learning, and Developing Expertise

how to start a coffee shop business, start a coffee business, start a coffee standExcellent management from day-to-day operations will always be important. But staying ahead of any of the potentially negative aspects of the business will need to be essential.

By doing your research and staying sensitive to the needs of the community as well as the needs of your staff, will impact your long term success. Several bikini barista espresso stands have “gotten in trouble” because of the actions of their baristas.

Hiring decisions are therefore important – but so is training, monitoring, and supervising. Having good employees means establishing a good system that encourages everyone to do the right thing. It may be a good idea for any coffee stand to install cameras, but it may be particularly important for bikini coffee stands. So, while you most likely will be on the “straight and narrow”, you may also attract extra scrutiny, especially in some communities.

Having in place a training program with a training manual that everyone must sign, having a mission statement, a vision statement, and well-laid out rules that are written down – and followed – will be critical. You should have an employee handbook – and detail the role of the job, which will include your dress code.

You will also need to follow up with employees and perhaps get the opinions of  your customers. For example, I've met one bikini barista owner who regularly drug tests their employees, does regular training, etc. In addition, she is extremely generous with them, but there is often a zero-tolerance for serious infractions. Developing superior management skills will be something that you will absolutely need to focus on when it comes to your coffee business.


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how to write a coffee shop business plan, coffee shop business plan, how to start a coffee shopWhether or not you serve coffee with bikini baristas or not, some things really never change when it comes to successfully starting a coffee shop business.

Would be coffee stand business owners would be advised to carefully plan out there business, as they would normally. Perhaps even more so, as the type of business may be more difficult to establish in one part of town, versus another part of town.

Researching the local laws and regulations of businesses matter, so your business planning will be essential.

In addition to your coffee business planning, you will also need to maintain excellent relationship with vendors – making sure your coffee beans are delivered (or picked up) whenever you need them.

Vendor relations is key to managing the “day-to-day” operations that is paramount for success.

The focus on your employees will be the highlight of your business, therefore, like any other business, your hiring will be important.

In addition, thoroughly researching your local municipality, understanding your community (residents of the area), and demonstrating that your coffee stand can be supported (with sales) in your area of choice.

Your Take Away Points:

  • Research, Research & Research!
  • Increase Your Knowledge Base
  • Learn From Experts 
  • Start Your Coffee Stand Business Plan!
  • Understand Your Market, Industry, and Goals
  • Plan, Plan, and Plan!
  • Know Your Lease Terms 
  • Choose The Right Coffee/ Espresso Equipment
  • Hiring The Best Employees Matters
  • Have a Marketing Plan
  • Learn to Avoid Common Mistakes


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 Not Sure About Starting Your Own Bikini Espresso Stand? Maybe There is A Third Option…

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A unique business model – Photo Credit: KiroRadio

Certainly starting a bikini coffee stand isn’t on everyone’s business radar. But the benefits may intrigue many people to start “some type of similar coffee stand business.”

A third option is having a “costume themed” espresso stand. A costume stand may not be as titillating as opening a bikini stand but it can still produce much of the benefits without the headaches and potential controversy.

Walking a fine line between a coffee business  concept that attracts and “sells itself” versus a “bikini espresso stand” coffee stand that attracts negative attention or even harassment is tough to navigate through for any period of time.

The most helpful thing you may consider is doing your research, write your coffee business plan, stay organized, and have an effective training program.  Being creative, offering great coffee, excellent customer service, operating within the laws of your community will get your bikini coffee stand business off to the right start.  

A costume-themed espresso stand may help you test the waters and skirt any controversy in your community, while you move up the experience curve in handling your coffee business. At the very least, if the “long game” your coffee business aspirations is to start and open a bikini espresso stand, but you seem resisting for any reason, you may simply consider opening a “family friendly” coffee stand first.

By opening a coffee stand that is family friendly you can boost your confidence and management skills. After you deem yourself ready and learn the ropes you can move forward with your vision! And then, open a bikini barista espresso stand once you feel you have mastered the management aspect of your coffee business.


Thinking About Becoming A Bikini Espresso Stand Owner: Why Not You?

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Coffee stands are being opened every week across the country. Bikini stands are being conceptualized and started – and generating healthy sales and subsequent profits for their coffee business owners.

So, if you are interested, you should consider the question: why not you? Why shouldn’t you receive the benefits of a thriving coffee business? It’s just a matter of time before someone decides to open a bikini coffee stand in your area, so why not you first?

Being first in a community may require you to pave a new road – but if you plan right, execute well, and smartly utilize the resources in your area, you could be a successful coffee stand owner. But it won't happen unless you decide to take action. It won't happen if you simply try to “wing it”.

We recommend starting from learning everything you can about retail coffee. Talk to local coffee business owners – and get their feedback to your specific questions. It may take time, but it will be worth it. Or you can save time and money by getting our Complete Coffee Shop Startup Kit. It's not only affordable, but it's the best way to start planning your coffee business.


Open a Bikini Barista Coffee Stand:

How To Get Started Today

Deciding on opening your drive thru coffee stand requires you to simply start researching your options. From an operational perspective, there is not much difference in a bikini barista coffee stand to a “family friendly” coffee drive-thru stand.

You still need to be familiar with your property lease options, your coffee equipment needs, and navigating the health department. Additionally, you will want to hear the stories from actual coffee business owners.

Here are a few things you can do today to move forward:

  • Decide to learn all you can about the retail coffee business.
  • Make an appointment with a local coffee shop owner to “pick” his/her brain about the coffee business.
  • Decide on the business concept (Your business name, logo, colors, etc.)
  • Get our Complete Coffee Shop Startup Kit and hear the 15 hours of expert advice on starting your coffee business


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Thanks to corporate coffee shops, the market for coffee is growing and growing. People, especially young people are drinking more and more espresso based drinks. With a growing market willing to pay for high quality coffee drinks, there really has never been a better time to start a coffee business – and specifically a coffee stand. In many communities, a coffee stand business would thrive. It's your job to do the research and planning to see if your business will be the right one for your community. 

  • High Profits 
  • Increase in Personal Freedom
  • Build a Coffee Drive Thru Empire
  • Requires Planning, Research, and a Solid Hiring Plan



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There Has Also Never Been a Better Way To Get Your Bikini Espresso Stand Business Plan Started

Our Complete Coffee Shop Business Startup Kit, is simply the best way to get your bikini espresso stand business plan started.  That’s because we provide you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, allowing you to learn from other coffee shop owners.

In addition, we provide you an easy to use coffee shop business plan template you can simply fill-out. Simply add your own information and print! We recognize that there are many ways to get started in your coffee drive thru business.

You can read a uninspiring “how to” book or you hire an expensive consultant that could cost you up to $7,000 for a couple of days of work… or perhaps there is better way?

We actually do think there is a better way to start a coffee shop or coffee stand.

What we have set out to do is to harness the wisdom and expertise of experienced coffee experts – and create a very affordable way to start your coffee business concept development and planning. Before you set out to start your bikini espresso stand business, it is important – critical actually – to get a wide perspective of the industry and to get the thoughts and ideas of current business owners and professionals.


If You Are Interested in Opening a Bikini Espresso Stand Business, Where Should You Start?

Get the only affordable coffee online guide you'll need to get your coffee drive-thru stand planning started and running. Would you like to start a coffee business – such as a coffee stand? There are plenty of great opportunities to open and operate a successful, profitable coffee stand business.

We recommend that you do your research, understand the industry, and learn all you can before launching into something you “think” you might know about.

We've created a very affordable business startup kit for serious entrepreneurs. Additionally, for more information on starting a coffee stand business, consider visiting our coffee business blog page for more in-depth articles on how to start your own coffee stand business.

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Have You Ever Wanted to Ask A Coffee Drive Thru Stand Owner the Following Questions:

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Starting a coffee business is a challenging prospect. Making sure you plan your business effectively is of critical importance. Our coffee business plan guide will help you get your business planning off to the right start.