My Journey Starting My Juice Bar

From the moment I had the vision of launching a juice bar, I was equally as excited as I was terrified.

 

Starting a Juice bar was the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

 

Up until this point, I was a very low-level entrepreneur. I had done a few “business oriented” things but had never run a company with a substantial amount of staff or consistent sales.

 

I was up until this stage, what they would call a “wantrepreneur” and hadn’t yet graduated into full entrepreneurial status.

 

It all began when I was transitioning out of a career that I had been in for nearly 15 years. What I was doing day to day was no longer fulfilling me. I know I could no longer be in a career because I was scared of not having money, or because it gave me some status.

 

I knew that I needed to do something that was going to fulfill me and truly be of service to the world.


Prior to launching this business, I had some pretty profound shifts and realizations in my health. I made it a regular habit to juice (almost daily) I adopted a completely plant based diet and I was extremely inspired to share all of the powerful things I had learned and experienced with others.

 

I was seeing subtle signs that the juice industry was expanding and I knew that this was the kind of business that I could really put my heart into. I knew that my desire to serve people, build community and build financial abundance could all be fulfilled in starting a juice bar.

 

Once I made the decision that this was something I wanted to do internally, the real journey actually began.

 

I was excited, confused, overwhelmed, filled with determination and doubt, all at the same time.

 

How much money do I need?

What licenses do I need?

How am I going to create my menu?

How am I going to find the right location?

Do I need a business partner?

 

These are just a handful of the questions that I had as I began to pursue this endeavor.

 

I know this is meant to be a blog and not a book so I will spare you some of the extraneous details.

 

After the initial mysteries of this business were resolved and it all settled, I actually decided to start a juice truck instead of launching with a store.

Part of my reasoning at the time was, financial, and the fact that I thought that having a truck would give us more access to people and flexibility.


Although, the truck was extremely successful by juice truck standard. In the grand scheme of things, it had a lot of limitations.

I learned that even though we were able to sell out of nearly everything on the truck most days of the week, we would still never make enough money with this truck to open a store in a reasonable time or make. We also would never make enough money to feel that having this single vehicle alone was truly worth our time.

While the truck was beautiful on the outside, it was riddled with mechanical problems that would force us to shut down our operations half way through the day on more ocassions than we could afford.

On top of all of this, I realized that my monthly overhead just for having the truck was nearly 4k.
Between the gas costs of nearly $1,000 per month

The parking tickets that cost nearly $600 a month

The truck rent of $2,000 per month.The commissary rent of $1,000 (Where we had to park the truck at night to clean it and plug it in)

I realized, that for the amount we were investing in monthly operating costs for the truck I could rent a really nice storefront.

In truth, If I had known what I knew now, I would have taken a different approach. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20

Thankfully my assumption about graduating beyond the truck and opening the store was correct.

I was able to find a location on the very high traffic sunset blvd for just over $4,000 per month.

The even better news was that we were able to increase our income 3 fold.

Opening a store had its own set of complications and challenges.

From how to negotiate good lease terms, to building out the store in a way that looked good but didn’t cost me a fortune. To knowing how many staff members we needed and the list goes on and on.

It was a bumpy road the first year and I worked harder than I had ever worked in my life. I learned many lessons about what works  and what simply does not.

When we launched, I had not properly trained the staff. Truthfully at that time, I wouldn’t have known how to train them.

When we had the truck it was me and my business partner and a handful of other people doing all the work. That being the case it was much easier to manage and we didn’t have the same issues we did with a business that was much smaller and doing a much smaller volume of business.
When it came to running the store, there were a lot more moving parts that I had not foreseen, so this created a lot of initial stress.

I am happy to say that none of the catastrophic mistakes I made put us out of business. We learned and adjusted the things that didn’t work. We created systems to manage the staff more effectively, and refined our marketing to attract more customer and improved our operations so we could keep more of the bottom line.

As things with our store started to go better and better we started to attract more attention from other hopeful juice bar entrepreneurs.

This is how I began our consulting practice. We slowly began to help other hopeful juice bar business owners as they come into the store asking for help.

If you are in a place where you are at the early stages of your juice bar journey and feel that you would benefit from working with a collective that has nearly a decade of experience, we would love to hear from you.

andrew mcfarlane