A coffee kiosk is a small cart or coffee stand found in various locations, including the mall, at major attractions and at special events. A coffee kiosk may be an offshoot of an existing coffee shop or the sole location for serving coffee to patrons of the mall or attraction where the kiosk is located. Operating a coffee kiosk business is less expensive than operating a coffee shop, but this type of business does have start-up costs. According to Tea & Coffee Trade Online, the minimum start-up costs are $13,000 to $26,000.
Enroll in a barista training program. If you do not have experience as a coffee kiosk owner or server, enroll yourself or your staff in such a program. The American Barista Coffee School and Seattle Barista Academy (see Resources) offer training in how to make and serve specialty coffee, as well as some training in running a coffee business.
Write a business plan. Before you start putting your coffee kiosk together, write out the details of how to start and run the kiosk. The business plan should contain information on the location or locations of the kiosk, business hours, staffing needs, marketing strategies, and projected costs and income.
Contact your county health department. Because you are serving beverages, the coffee kiosk is subject to health regulations. Request a copy of the health department's requirements for running a coffee kiosk. Generally, these requirements require you to have water access, such as a sink for cleaning the kiosk and utensils required to make and serve the coffee.
Register the business with the state. Choose a name for the coffee business, if this is not an offshoot of an existing business. Contact the secretary of state for your state to see if the business name you want is in use. Obtain the necessary paperwork for registering the business entity of your choice -- limited liability company, partnership, corporation or sole proprietorship. If it is an existing business, obtain the application necessary to alert the state of the additional location where you are installing the kiosk.
Register the coffee kiosk business with the county permit department. Apply for and obtain a business permit to run the kiosk. Typically you will need to complete an application and pay a permit fee.
Rent or lease the space where the kiosk will be located. When negotiating the space or location for your kiosk, verify with the landlord that you will have access to a sink, restrooms and possibly a kitchen if you need to move the kiosk cart to these areas for cleanup, according to the local health regulations. Also, verify you have access to electricity. According to Tea & Coffee Trade Online, a coffee kiosk requires at least 220-volt/50-amp/1-phase female electrical outlets within six to eight feet of the kiosk.
Buy the equipment and machinery. Machinery and equipment such as a commercial-grade coffee machine, small refrigerator, spoons and coffee pitchers, as well as serving cups, lids and coffee stirrers are necessary items. You will also need to buy coffee, milk, whipped cream and sugar products.
Install a small refrigerator for refrigerating dairy products such as milk, creamer and whipped cream.
Print and hang kiosk signage. Work with a sign maker to create and have signs printed for the kiosk. Depending on the shape and size of your kiosk, you will need at least one sign for the front of the kiosk and possibly other signs for the sides and back.