It's me again. Haven't you been curious? It has been two-and-a-half months since we closed the Kick Butt Coffee in the Triangle (click here to read that story). You ask: "How is Kick Butt on Airport Blvd. doing?" "Will we be closing that one too?" I have your answers (mostly). Please read down below...
Me, this past Saturday. My Drink? Our Black Ice (Iced Coffee) with Soy and 2 pumps of Dark Chocolate
A little Good News and a little bad news
|Black Ice: Our Iced Coffee|The good news first. I closed the Triangle Kick Butt on March 20, 2012. The next day our sales at the Original Kick Butt went up over 20% ... that's right, UP. And each day since our sales have been up $200-400. That's awesome! I've seen most of our regulars who love us continue to see us. It is a testament to you that we didn't do anything wrong at the Triangle. My friends in the biz (the owners of Little Deli, Galaxy Cafe and Progress Coffee) all said something like: "Wow... you must of been providing great service and great product in the Triangle to have that many people transfer over." You can imagine how big of a failure it might feel to have to close your business ... and how encouraging it feels to have so many people like you stick with you.
Now the bad news. Many of our costs that were split between the two locations are now a burden for the one location. You know ... costs like bookkeeping (it is a 40hr a week position), manager salary, booking person salary, printing and advertising etc. Thank goodness you believed in us for our sales to have been higher. I have to confess it has still been stressful and challenging. Today, Kick Butt still is not profitable ... the bouncing-employee-paycheck type of not profitable . Not good. And in all of this there is still no pay for me, the owner (never has been), and this doesn't include 2k-3k in debt payments each month for the original build-out of Kick Butt. Oh, the self-pity...
|Kick Butt Coffee's Income (green) and Expenss (Red) for the last 12 months|
The Light at the End of the Tunnel?
So it has been a few months. I didn't know what would happen. But now, instead of losing 10-12k every month with 2 locations ... I am back to only losing 3-6k ... and it looks like we may be closing the gap (see graph above). The team at Kick Butt has gotten tight. Less is missed. More is covered. Service is even better. Quality is controlled. I decided it was time I talked to my friend/mentor from Progress Coffee. This past Tuesday, I did, and the following were the topics we discussed. There were 3 main considerations:
1. My lease at Kick Butt is up March 31st 2013 (yes it will have been 5 years). My mentor says that the time to negotiate a renewal is 3 months prior to the lease expiring. We have till the end of the year ... and so do you . There is no sense in closing Kick Butt before since it is such a short time until it's lease expires. So, Kick Butt will definitely be around through March 31, 2013.
2. What is the difference between our (now closed) Triangle location and the Original location on Airport Blvd? You know the question , what went wrong at the Triangle? Would that also happen at the Airport Blvd location? I was talking to Justin last Friday. Justin is our events coordinator (booking guy). He was curious. Will he have a job next month? The following is a summary of our conversation:
"Justin, we worked our tails off over at the Triangle, we did all the right things, our customers loved us so why Justin didn't they come back? I think they tried to come back but..." I asked him, "what do you think when you think about going to the triangle?" he said, "I dread finding a parking space." I said, "Right, and you work here so you had to find a space, imagine someone who just want to get a quick latte ... so whether or not it is true...," he interrupted (he does that), "oh, it is true..." I continued, "whether or not it was true, the triangle (and kick butt) has had a perception of there being, no parking. So no matter how well we did right by our customers ... they couldn't come back." I then said, "how about this location? (we were talking at the Original Kick Butt on Airport Blvd.) Justin said, "I never am worried about finding a space ... I mean there is the liquor store (Spec's right next door, with tons of parking)." I concluded, "At the Triangle there was no hope. At the original Kick Butt ... there is still hope."
3. ACC is coming. Ok, actually ACC is already here but it is also coming. Please, keep reading. If you didn't know ... Austin Community College has a campus behind Kick Butt. It is called ACC Highland Business Center. Also, if you didn't know, ACC purchased Highland Mall, most of it anyways. They plan to renovate the mall and move all of their administrative offices there (from locations around the city) ... as well as ... establish it as a campus. (Click Here to read Austin American Statesman article about this)
Also, the City of Austin is about to rezone the entire corridor to promote redevelopment and grow the area (Click Here to read that story from the Austin Chronicle). Good News? You would think. But, I have had a recent bad experience with a redeveloped "mixed use" city sponsored project that took years to approve and get built called... well you know... I mentioned it above and it's named after a shape. So what gives? Should I stay or should I go ? This is the question I asked my mentor friend from Progress. This is the question I have been asking myself and will be asking myself and you until the last day of this year (again, when I need to begin the process of renewing my lease or giving notice). The answer is difficult. Who would sign a lease for another 5 years if the previous 5 years had no profit, would you? Who would sign on to loose 3-5k a month for another 5 years with only hope that it could get better? Would you ?
Right now, with all the additional business from former Triangle customers, I think I will stay, but only if and this is a big if ... IF we can "crack" the ACC nut. You know, if we can provide great service and great quality consistently to you and to our friends at our largest neighbors at ACC Highland Business Center. If we can serve them right at there current size then we can do it when they become the BIG ACC in the old Highland Mall. That can be what launches us to a huge sustainable success. I think we can and we have the rest of this year to prove it. Wait? You may wonder, "aren't you already providing great service and quality to ACC? Actually we haven't been. That is my failure and that is another story. So, if you would like to hear that story and what we are actively planning to keep Kick Butt kicking butt ... then please email me back right now and write, "MORE PLEASE" ... and I will send you that story, too.
Just wanted to thank you again for being part of the Kick Butt Coffee family. We love you and look forward to seeing you again soon.
Thomas "the coffee guy" Gohring
Kick Butt Coffee 5775 Airport Blvd. Austin Texas 78752Now serving LUNCH m-f 11am-2pm MENU
PS. Didn't know about our HIP HOP shows the past 2 weekends? Perhaps you should be getting our weekly Kick Butt Entertainment Guide? Simply email back and write: "ADD ME" :-)
PPS. Missed it again? This past Sunday's Barista for a Day Class (http://coffeedojo.com)? There are still a few spaces in the next 2 classes but hurry... spaces fill up fast!!! ... just say'n.
Barista For a Day - Sunday July 8th -> 10:30am - 12:30am - Click Here to Register (5 spaces left)
Barista For a Day - Sunday August 12th -> 10:30am - 12:30am - Click Here to Register (6 spaces left)
|Most Recent Barista for a Day Class|
PPPS. DO you HAVE kids? Do YOU need BIRTHDAY Party IDEAS? How ABOUT a KARATE KIDS BIRTHDAY PARTY at Master Gohring's Tai Chi and Kung Fu? Kick here: http://karatekidsbirthdayparty.com
PPPPS. There are many reasons why your friends think we are the #1 coffee house in Austin. You know if we were talking about us we would say anything to get you to come in to give us a shot. So don't believe us. take a look at what your friends and neighbors are saying:
- "This place is awesome! Better service than any other coffee shop I've visited in Austin. Really like the people, the atmosphere, the Kickin' Chicken Salad!" - Mete Willhite, Texas Protax (Hot Chai Latte)
- "I was very impressed with the customer service from Lisa. That is a huge deal to me and I was very pleased." - Jonna Stiles (Vanilla Latte)
- "Thanks for the email. Love the place! Just moved to Austin for work and I head over all most every day for coffee and twice a week for some wine and music at night.Best thing about your coffee shop is the people that work there. They never give crazy looks when you order crazy drinks. Best drink is three shots of espresso over ice." - Caleb Williams
- "EVERYTHING is great! I NEVER come to Austin without coming to Kick Butt! LOVE IT!"- Rachel Portillo, Knox Park Dental (Mint Mocha)
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