The Coffee Warehouse

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Coffee Distribution Business Plan

Market Analysis Summary

Coffee is the second largest commodity market next to oil, and growth is expected to continue at a strong pace for the foreseeable future. The specialty beverage industry is growing at an equally strong pace, with sales growth in some categories projected to grow at rates of 40% per year.

This growth offers excellent opportunities for new companies to enter this market, and we are excited about the possibilities of what The Coffee Warehouse can accomplish in the Spokane and Northern Idaho market.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The gourmet coffee and specialty beverage industry is divided into several segments. Consumers who enjoy these products purchase drinks at restaurants, coffee houses, sports venues, drive-thru espresso stands, and even inside other retail establishments that might feature an independent beverage stand.

As illustrated in the chart below, within the market surrounding Spokane, Rathdrum, Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene, there are currently 250 drive-thru espresso stands, 18 coffee/tea houses, 52 independent inner-retail espresso stands, and approximately 10 stands in locations such as sports venues, university campuses, and etc. These figures are not including the number of restaurants, bars and cafes that also feature these beverages.

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Drive-thru Espresso 4% 250 259 268 277 287 3.51%
Inner-Retail Espresso 4% 52 54 56 58 60 3.64%
Coffee/Tea Houses 5% 18 19 20 21 22 5.14%
Other (sports venues, universities, etc) 5% 10 11 12 13 14 8.78%
Total 3.79% 330 343 356 369 383 3.79%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

While the market is already sizeable, this industry continues to grow. New espresso stands open their doors to the public on a monthly basis in our market, and it isn't uncommon to see numerous espresso stands within a one or two mile radius. The article below, published by a national coffee retail magazine, discusses our market's unique drive-thru espresso industry. The sales potential in this market is unlimited.

The Coffee Warehouse initially plans to target these drive-thru espresso stands, as well as all inner-retail espresso stands within our designated market. It is this segment that is most in need of the services we are planning to offer. Essential needs include: quality products at competitive prices, first class service, and strong sales support. It is most often these small owner-operated businesses that are neglected by larger suppliers and are forced to service themselves. It is also these smaller businesses who could most greatly benefit from marketing services, sales support, and full service product delivery. Providing the same high-quality service, within the first six months of operation, The Coffee Warehouse plans to expand our target into formal coffee houses and cafes, and as business grows and stabilizes, eventually evaluate the needs of potential customers in the restaurants and bar industry.

4.3 Market Growth

Coffee has been a growing industry for the past several years.  In the gourmet/specialty coffee industry alone, the figures show an impressive rate of growth in the United States.

The new age beverage industry is growing at an equally strong pace.  Sales growth in the chai tea category alone is estimated to be 50% historically, with projected growth rates of 40% per year. Energy drinks, including brands such as Red Bull - and trends such as Jet Tea - are driving the new age beverage growth, and have increased 50-fold in the past three years.

Bubble Tea has been a rapidly growing market in Asia, though it is relatively new to the United States.   Introduced to trend setting marketings such as San Francisco and Seattle, sales have been exploding - and the craze of the "Tapioca Pearl" is expected to spread throughout America.

4.4 Industry Analysis

The coffee and specialty beverage industry is pulverized, with hundreds of manufacturers, brokers, suppliers and retailers. Unlike the beer/soda industry, with large companies such as Anheuser Busch, Pepsi and Coca Cola controlling most of the market, the coffee and specialty beverage industry does not have large national chains with market control.

In an open industry growing at such a strong rate, The Coffee Warehouse is in position to capitalize on the customer's need for quality product, exceptional service, and an effective partner to success.

4.5 Industry Participants

With the rate of growth in the gourmet coffee market, in addition to the recent trends in Jet Teas and other specialty beverages, the industry is comprised of many small participants, each focusing on only a few specific items or brands at a time.  As the markets evolve, we expect the industry to consolidate with larger distributors representing more of a vast selection of products in each market.

Currently in our segment of the industry, there are no large national chains with market control.  There are also few products that are offered with exclusive rights to one market.  While this is the case with many products, The Coffee Warehouse is working with manufacturers to change that practice, and not only represent a larger variety of product than others in our industry, but also acquire exclusive rights to many of the products in our portfolio.

4.6 Distribution Patterns

The following flow chart illustrates the overall industry surrounding the distribution patterns of coffee and specialty beverages.   (The Coffee Warehouse falls into the level highlighted in yellow).

Several manufacturers are represented by master distributors and/or brokers who in turn provide the product to direct distributors and other wholesale suppliers.  Other manufacturers allow distributors and suppliers to purchase product direct - depending on the quantity of product being purchased.   Product is then distributed or sold through cash and carry wholesale stores to retail businesses as illustrated below.

4.7 Competition & Buying Patterns

While there are a handful of coffee and specialty beverage suppliers providing product in our market, there is still a great deal of room for new business. Most importantly, there is room for new business that understands the need for high-quality service and sales support - in addition to product at competitive prices.

In this industry, customers choose their suppliers based on available product, price, and service - though most often, it is the service that suffers most. While one supplier may offer the product at the right price, they do not provide the level of service that the customer demands. The next supplier may offer the right level of service, though their prices are too high. This results with the customer purchasing most of their supplies through a cash and carry style wholesale store - leaving the customer with no service or support.

By positioning ourselves in the market with in-demand, quality product at competitive prices, with a consistent high level of customer service - we are confident that we will see customers and their business continue to increase.