Taking over a coffee roasting business: What to consider

Esther Gibbs
August 15, 2023
An image of a coffee roaster in a coffee roasting business, in an article on what to consider when taking over a coffee roasting business

Nestled in the heart of Wales, UK, Ferrari’s Coffee Roasters has been a highly favoured supplier among locals since 1927. This was something the new owner, Yash Dhutia, had to keep in mind when taking over the business almost 100 years later, in August 2018. 

When Yash took over Ferrari’s, the business was working with a 60 kg Trabattoni roaster and some packaging equipment. The brand’s focus was selling roasted coffee to cafes, pubs, hotels, and restaurants across South Wales. The team was small, but armed with a delivery van, the brand continued to build on the legacy left by founder Vittorio Ferrari. 

Under Yash’s leadership, five years later, Ferrari’s Coffee Roasters has grown rapidly: expanding into a larger industrial unit, gaining more staff, and doubling its roasting capacity. Yash agrees to share his experience in order to learn more about the logistics of taking over a fully operational coffee roasting business.

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Expanding a well-established coffee brand

“When we took over the business, we were delivering coffee to customers every day, using the van,” explains Yash, who is also the managing director at Nashville Food Group. “We were selling coffee equipment and focused solely on smaller, independent businesses.

Soon, however, Yash realised that for the business to grow, the team needed to change their approach and focus on higher volume coffee sales. “Obviously, we wanted to continue offering the best service possible to our existing independent customers, so we decided to partner with local distributors.” 

Now, Ferrari’s Coffee Roasters has secured several large-volume contracts for wholesalers and distributors. Beyond this, the brand offers white label coffee for other roasters. White label products are manufactured by a contract or third-party manufacturer and sold under a brand name. However, unlike private label products, the retailer only specifies what the label looks like.

White label coffee is a practical solution for both retailers and roasters. For retailers, it’s a more affordable option than private label coffee because the manufacturer doesn’t have to build an entirely new process to create and develop the retailer’s products.

Instead, they can repeatedly create the same coffee and distribute it to retailers who sell it under different labels. For roasters, it offers a consistent and reliable source of income without having to worry about branding costs.

Understanding the benefits of white label coffee

“When determining how to maximise the capacity of our roaster, the easiest solution was to roast for people who already had existing customers,” Yash says. “This provided us with more time to focus on roasting and growing our business rather than dealing directly with customers.” 

Ferrari’s Coffee Roasters began taking on white-labelling contracts with existing businesses to build a network of coffee distributors. “These clients wanted high volumes of a consistent coffee blend. We wanted to offer them something that was price conscious and reliable, so Ferrari’s developed some blends which they still use almost five years later.”

Beyond this, the brand has acquired SALSA and Fairtrade certifications, and become a Real Wage Employer. In turn, the brand white label customers and distributors share in the benefits of these accreditations.

“We’ve taken on several customers who wanted to start a coffee brand but were unable to make an upfront investment in equipment,” Yash says. “We can roast coffee, grind it, and pack it at a competitive price because of our setup. Plus, we have a large variety of coffee in the roastery from specialty to commercial.

“This makes it incredibly easy and affordable for someone to partner with us and set up their business. It’s also easy for us because we have one consumer to worry about, rather than having to ship to multiple customers.” 

An image of a coffee roaster brewing coffee using a drip coffee filter, coffee packaging, coffee bags, coffee roasting business, in an article on what to consider when taking over a coffee roasting business

The importance of attending local coffee events

As well as focusing on bringing on more white label customers, Ferrari’s also taps into opportunities presented to the brand. For instance, the team recently attended a series of large trade shows across the region, allowing them to meet buyers from several large retailers. 

“As we had the necessary systems in place, we’ve been able to take on large orders and begin exporting almost immediately,” Yash says. He adds that these orders have also allowed the brand to begin sourcing coffee directly. 

“As we attended World of Coffee in Greece, we’ve been able to meet with producers, negotiate prices and buy our coffee with confidence.” As a result, Ferrari’s coffee has become more transparent and traceable, as they deal directly with producers. This benefits both the brand and its white label customers, who will be able to use direct sourcing in their own marketing materials. 

Ferrari’s Coffee Roasters has been able to grow on a legacy with integrity and humility. Notably, the brand recently installed an additional pair of roasters to further increase capacity and grow the team. 

“We’re confident that we’ll achieve our goal to source 100% of our coffees directly from producers by 2025,” Yash says. “Working with multisite users means it could happen even sooner, as their order volumes make it easy for us to forecast and commit to our coffee requirements.” 

Essentially, communication and a good understanding of the customers’ needs are essential. Roasters have to know whether they are comfortable with coffee changing in line with seasons, stock, and pricing. 

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the logistics of starting a coffee business and scaling a brand. This is why we offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) stock bags for specialty roasters looking to offer private or white label coffee.

Our plain stock bags are the perfect option for those after a simple yet effective way of packaging their coffee, ready for distribution. We can help you find the perfect recyclable stock coffee bags. Available in a range of shapes and sizes, including side gusset, and stand-up pouches, our stock bags are not only recyclable but also high barrier.

MTPak Coffee is also a Gold Sponsor at Producer & Roaster Forum in Colombia. Following a successful event in El Salvador, Producer & Roaster Forum will return to the Plaza Mayor in Medellín, Colombia, from 14 to 15 September.

The two-day event brings together thousands of coffee professionals and industry leaders from around the world. Beyond this, it offers a unique opportunity to network, participate in workshops, listen to talks, and join in roundtable discussions.

Don’t miss out on the world’s largest producer-focused coffee event. Register for tickets today.

For more information on sustainable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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