So you've decided you want to start your own juice bar! Here are some helpful tips that will make you successful in your endeavors.
The first thing to keep in mind is the age old expression-"location, location, location!" Running a juice operation can be extremely profitable, but you must make sure that you find the right space...in a high traffic area. The space doesn't need to be too large. In fact it's probably better if it's a little smaller. It's not easy, but you must make sure that this space also has low overhead. In a city, like New York for example, where real estate prices and competition is insane, it is better to be patient in your search for the ideal location, as most businesses fail on this one, simple, yet obvious mistake. One might have a space that is too large for their needs, with huge overhead...and while the business is making money, most of the profit is going into the lease, leaving little left over for anything else.
In order to cut down on the startup costs, it is ideal to take over from a location that has previously been used as a restaurant or bar. This will save you money on plumbing and refrigeration. There should also be at least 3 sinks at the location, for legal reasons and to avoid fines.
Ideally, most successful juice bars will have attractive tiling, light wood paneling, a large refrigeration display and use pastel colors, attracting people to freshness . Your business ultimately comes down to what your customers think, like and dislike when they walk into your shop. Aesthetics and layout play a significant role on a subconscious level. For example, the color white can convey a feeling that your establishment is sanitary...But too much white is a turn off, and can come across as unappetizing.
Interior and exterior signage is also extremely important. While it can be an expensive undertaking, if you have the money it is our advice to find a professional store designer that can help you with graphics, color scheme, chairs/tables and seating layout. Unique fonts and signs can help set apart your store from others and give it character.
The next step is your menu. A good option for your menu signage are chalk boards, placed above your counter, which allow you to change menu options, quickly and easily. Writing should be clear and legible. Warning: DO NOT CONFUSE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH TOO MANY OPTIONS. 10 different combinations of freshly squeezed juices should be enough to start. Your customers will show you what they prefer, and you should adjust your menu accordingly to suit their needs. Think of the first 3-6 months as a learning curve to perfect your operation...take notes. What works, what doesn't...talk to your customers and get a feel for what they like. Pair your juice menu, with some great coffee varieties, healthy teas and a few different types of tasty sandwiches and you will be good to go. Limiting your menu allows you to perfect the offerings that you are already serving, i.e.- quality over quantity. The last thing customers want is to feel overwhelmed when they walk into your establishment, which is why going overboard with your menu, is a recipe for disaster.
Try to have something on your menu that you build up as your "specialty item". In other words, when you find out what the biggest seller is with your customers, promote that item as the thing that you are known for. This will help with your branding and recognition.
For great tasting juice, you must find great tasting fruits and vegetables. This will require a trial and error with different produce purveyors, the goal being the best options at the best price. Whether you should go organic or not will largely depend on your neighborhood. Non organic produce will allow you more variety to choose from and lower your costs and prices for the drinks you serve. However, organic fruits and veggies are healthier and will add a certain caché to your business, especially if the neighborhood competition is predominately serving organic options. Most cities have organic purveyors. Beware that switching from organic to non organic, may have a negative impact on your customer base, so it is optimal to stick with whatever option you choose from the beginning, before opening your juice bar.
The price you charge for your drinks will depend again on your neighborhood, bottomline cost of product and number of drinks you serve per day. It can also vary season to season and fruit to fruit. This should predominately be figured out before opening, and during the 3-6 month test period. Supplements and additives such as protein, bee pollen and flax seeds can help increase your revenue, allowing you to charge a little more for each drink, by giving your customers the benefits of these added nutrients.
In the juice business, quality is key. Show your customers the quality that you pride yourselves in, and they will come back for more. Mist your produce, as this gives a shiny and fresh texture to your fruits and vegetables. Make sure berries and bananas, and other fruits with short shelf lives are frozen. Display your fruits and vegetables proudly in an attractive refrigeration display. Put them in nice baskets around your counter.
You will need 2 blenders, 1-2 Automatic vegetable juicers and an Automatic orange juicer. A sugarcane juicer doesn't hurt either. Make sure your juicers are on the backbar mount, facing the customers so they can see the juice being squeezed. Do not go through the effort of having a juice operation, if you're going to hide your juicers in the kitchen or basement, unless there is a space issue, as this defeats the purpose of offering freshly squeezed juice in the first place. Customers respond positively when they can see their drinks being made in front of them. An Automatic orange juicer will give you delicious tasting orange juice, which acts as a nice base to mix other juices or smoothies with, i.e. (apple/pineapple).