Tips for setting up a mobile café

Have your café where your customers are. No matter where it is, with a mobile café you can get there. Turn a passion for coffee into a great business project at minimal cost.

Why have a mobile café?

  1. Mobile cafes have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to bring quality coffee and snacks directly to their customers. Being on hand is your main draw to customers. Why should they look for a coffee shop? You find your coffee shop and they will love you for it.
  2. A mobile coffee shop doesn't have to limit itself and can be almost anywhere. With a coffee machine on wheels you can easily move to wherever there is something going on - weddings, parties, corporate events, music festivals or local fairs. You can even get to places where a brick-and-mortar café could not be built: parks, tourist areas, but also squares, where you can use a mobile café to penetrate between established cafés.
  3. Location independence allows the mobile café to reach more customers and build a wide target group. You can afford to prepare coffee outside your city and spread awareness of your coffee skills - and the brand itself - in the near and wide surroundings.
  4. Minimal costs to open and operate compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar coffee shop.
  5. Your "mobile café" can test new markets and locations, without the commitment of a long-term lease and large investment for space modifications. If the desire for a stationary café doesn't leave you, you'll have an advantage in identifying just the right location with good foot traffic.

How do you get started with a mobile café?

When opening a mobile cafe, the basics are the same as with any business. You need to have a trade licence in the hospitality business - this is a craft trade for which you need to demonstrate the prescribed qualifications.

If you do not meet this qualification, it is possible to appoint another person as a so-called responsible agent or guarantor to be responsible for your trade.

Takeaway coffee and legislation

Contracts, licences and permits to operate. Paperwork and more paperwork. This is an important step you need to take in the journey to your mobile coffee shop to make your operation official and legal.

Before you start selling bikes, you need to register your operation with the health department, which will provide you with the appropriate form.

The conditions for selling in mobile cafés are set in the same way as for bricks and mortar cafés by the European Parliament and the Food Hygiene Council. They set general hygiene conditions and requirements for all retail operators.

In particular, under these regulations, stall operators must ensure that stall premises are located, designed, constructed and maintained in a clean and good condition. This must be done in such a way that there is no risk of contamination, particularly from animals and pests.

Hygiene in not only a brick and mortar café is related to the written operational document required for catering, food production and sales and hospitality operations, which serves as a useful tool to ensure the healthfulness of food and foodstuffs. Don't forget access to sanitary facilities.

A mobile establishment is considered a vending stand and its location and operation may also be subject to site-specific rules. Contact the municipal government of the town where you wish to operate the café to determine the specific requirements for your location.

How to set up a mobile café

The foundation of a mobile café is, of course, the cart. You can build your own, but wouldn't it be easier to purchase a vehicle that is already ready for the café?

Once you've acquired a suitable cart, it's also important to think about the fact that you need to have a place to store the cart. A simple garage or a short-term rental of space from the city will suffice for this.

Everything to make coffee

The kind of cart you choose depends purely on you and your finances, offerings, equipment and preferred size.

Depending on the type of mobile coffee shop you plan to run, you will need to equip the vehicle with the necessary equipment such as coffee machines, refrigerators and food transport areas.

Although a cafe on wheels is small, it requires the same goods and materials as any regular cafe. For starters, make sure you have the basic equipment:

It's important to consider the amount of potential visitors that will frequent your café. This is what determines the equipment you get for your cart. A coffee machine with volumetrics, a grinder that weighs itself, a Puqpress or a fast-heating coffee machine will help you speed up your coffee preparation.

What might the equipment in a mobile coffee shop look like? Image source: JP Gastro

Takeaway coffee accessories

Since you are setting up a business that will specialize in takeaway coffee, it is important to think about all the accessories that this entails. So that you can give your customers the best experience.

Trendy mobile coffee shop

Due to limited space, mobile cafes may have to reduce their equipment and stock, which can affect the content of the products on offer. However, don't let this put you off. Find something that will make your cafe unique and keep customers coming back.

Signature drink

Create your own drink that is specific to your café! Do you have a favourite ingredient? Combine it with coffee, fine-tune the flavours and create an original drink like the one at Starbucks.

Offer according to the weather

You just can't beat the weather! Especially when you have an open-air trolley, the weather has a big impact on your function. Adapt your offer accordingly. In summer, focus on cold drinks and in winter, serve hot drinks to warm you up.

Take the coffee cart on the road and make your dream come true. Image Source: JP Gastro

If you've always dreamed of starting a coffee shop, it's time to make your dreams come true! Start a cafe on wheels - preferably now, and instead of the hassle of building a permanent space, focus on the most important thing: making your customers the best coffee possible.

Let them know you want your mobile café. We'll help you get it going in the right direction. Just email We will be happy to advise you on the operation, coffee preparation, equipment and even the whole mobile café turnkey and according to your wishes and tastes.

Frequently asked questions

What is a mobile café?

A mobile café is ???? a café on wheels. It is usually in the form of a wagon or trailer that can be parked and set up in different locations to sell coffee and other drinks, as well as snacks and baked goods.

How to set up a mobile café?

Starting a mobile café involves several steps, including a business plan, obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, purchasing or leasing a vehicle, purchasing the necessary ???? coffee equipment and supplies, setting up a menu, staffing and marketing.

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