March 15th, 2023 officially marks two years of sharing Big Sip Energy with Downtown Las Vegas at Bungalow Coffee!
ICYMI: Bungalow Coffee is the third wave coffee shop my husband, Ryan, and I opened during the pandemic. 🤪 (Give us a lil virtual stalk over on the Bungalow Coffee Instagram, or check out a recap of our first year in business here!)
Since opening Bungalow Coffee back in 2021, we have (of course) faced our fair share of common entrepreneurship problems. Though we’ve been successfully growing The Social Bungalow as an online business since 2018, we were new to starting a brick and mortar venture and had no idea what to expect.
But now, two years in, we’ve created more than half a million dollar business (post-tax), and we’re still growing. Let’s take a peek at how we turned our passion project into such a powerful revenue stream…
Here are 5 things we did over the past year to continue scaling Bungalow Coffee:
1. Expanding how we serve BTS
After spending the first year of Bungalow Coffee focusing solely on serving patrons inside the shop walls, we knew we wanted to branch out with how we served our community in year two.
So we did just that by offering high-end catering and private space, and we gained two new revenue streams in the process.
We started offering our custom coffee cart to cater private events in late 2022, and by 2023, we’ve already catered over 10 incredible events including athlete’s weddings, ARIA Resort’s holiday party of 3k people, MGM private golf tournaments, collabs with Lululemon on the Las Vegas strip, and more.
We got two event licenses—one for private and one for public events—and started renting out the space a couple of times a month for things like weddings (we’ve hosted both ceremonies and receptions. Hello Bungalow Brides! 😍), retirement + birthday parties, and large family reunions.
Coffee is a low-ticket price but a high volume industry. And with only so many seats and so much traffic per day, private space rental was our way to bring in more cash. This has also given us the opportunity to donate the space to local charities that are near to our hearts.
2. Investing in Team
In the first year of Bungalow coffee, we were primarily focused on creating SOPs and operational checklists to keep things running smoothly with the team.
How it started: Every team member was trained on every role (including barista and kitchen roles) with a rotating “position” every two hours. Basically, you would come in on bar #1, then switch to register, then switch to the kitchen, etc.
How it’s going: This original setup wasn’t working well for our outgoing baristas and made for disorganized ownership. So, we split the bar and the kitchen into two separate roles and cross trained the full-time employees in case of emergencies.
With more time and more funds on our hands in 2021, we were also able to focus more on leadership organization and tenure with the team.
Knowing we wanted more hands-off roles for Ryan and I, we built out the team to include a multi-leadership chain of Manager > Store Supervisor > Bar Lead > Kitchen Lead > Bar Team & Kitchen Team with Ryan and I acting as true owners vs operators.
This has allowed us to really remove ourselves from the hectic day-to-day operations and focus more on larger decision-making.
3. Refining what we already have
Rather than expanding our drink menu and adding on more options, we decided to focus on refining the existing menu that was already doing so well. (Why fix what’s not broken, right?)
This allowed us to offer a consistent experience for patrons—so clientele know what they can expect every time they come in as opposed to being greeted by new pop-up drinks every other week.
As part of that ‘refinement’ process, we also upgraded our equipment, swapping our standard commercial drip coffee maker to a high-end one with multiple cycles that produce greater flavor extraction. It also has the ability to make batch espresso (fancy, I know).
4. Focusing on customer convenience
While we offered the same drink menu throughout year two, we did expand options for food and pickup.
To really lean into the lunch crowd, we began offering more bowls and salads, which have gone over like gangbusters. (I *highly* recommend the goat cheese panini or chicken superfood bowl if you’re ever in the area 🤤)
We also dialed in our pickup process by developing the Bungalow Coffee app. The addition of the app has allowed patrons to place orders while they’re out and about and then, stop by the shop to pick up their food and bevs. The app is worth the small investment — we pay $100 a month to keep the app in service and get about $100 in sales from it every day.
5. Consistent marketing on one main platform
Although we get a good amount of business from word of mouth and Google, we use Instagram as our main digital marketing platform.
To keep up with the ‘gram and maintain a flow of fresh content, we hire a local photographer for monthly photo and video shoots. In year two, we were able to grow the Bungalow Coffee IG account from 3k followers to more than 9k followers.
What scaling has allowed us to do (most importantly)
It’s always been super important to Ryan and I to give back more and more as we have more means to do so.
With a focus on The Cupcake Girls in 2021 (they provide confidential support to those involved in the sex industry, as well as trauma-informed outreach, advocacy, holistic resources. Check them out here.) At the beginning of 2022, we sat down and picked out an organization to focus on supporting. We chose the Shine A Light Foundation, which helps hundreds of people living in the underground tunnel systems here in Las Vegas by providing them with housing, much needed-supplies, and other forms of mental & physical support.
Over the past year, Ryan and I have had the honor of donating private event proceeds to the organization as well as time and product to the cause. We’ve also spent some weekends in the tunnels ourselves, handing out provisions, it’s an incredibly eye opening experience. (If you’d like to donate to Shine A Light and support this incredible organization, click here.)
Passion project thoughts
Sure, these past two years growing Bungalow Coffee have had their ups and downs as we’ve been navigating different business shifts. And it hasn’t always been easy. Trust me when I say that every success mentioned in this blog has come to fruition only because of the consistent effort we and the team have put in, the learning experiences we’ve grown from, and the feedback we remain open to and genuinely take to heart (which is far less triggering to receive VS that from a personal brand 😂).
But ultimately, the shop has been a huge source of joy for both Ryan and I. I like to think that Bungalow Coffee proves the point that diversifying revenue streams can be FUN, and that the possibilities are endless. ✨
Want more business scaling tips? Subscribe to The Goods, our free newsletter that brings the online business heat each and every Tuesday 🔥 #getthegoods
The Goods is your weekly download of all things business scaling and magnetic marketing, from exclusive content by Shannon to incredible guest contributors. We’ve got what you need.