Bikini Baristas are women who serve coffee dressed in a bikini, lingerie, or in any outfit that shows more skin than clothing. They work at bikini coffee shops that are prominently found in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in Seattle, although there are bikini coffee shops scattered everywhere in the United States.
One bikini coffee shop that’s based in California is Bottom’s Up Espresso. They’re all about quality custom drinks, very creative coffee names, and of course attractive female baristas. The chain has over 6 locations and is available for drive-thru. I view the concept kind of like the coffee shop version of a Hooter’s Restaurant.
How much does it cost to open a Bottom’s Up Espresso? You need a liquid capital of $65,000 to $100,000 and a minimum net worth of $100,000 to qualify. The initial investment is $106,100 to $245,300 with an initial franchise fee of $39,000 per unit. Take our 7-minute franchise quiz to find out of Bottom’s Up is right for you.
Below are more details on this unique coffee shop concept so read on to find out more about their financial requirements, advantages, and challenges of operating Bottom’s Up Espresso. Is this the right coffee franchise business for you? Let’s find out.
Financial Requirements and Fees
Here’s a breakdown of Bottom’s Up Espresso’s financial requirements and fees:
|Fees / Expenses
|$65,000 to $100,000
|minimum of $100,000
|$106,100 to $245,300
|$39,000 per unit
An important thing to note here is that you get discounts when you franchise multiple Bottom’s Up Espresso units. Here is a direct quote from their franchising FAQs on their website regarding this matter:
“If you should choose to open Multiple Units simultaneously then you will prepay Fifty percent (50%) of the Initial Fees for your additional units at the following discounts
- Ten percent (10%) discount off of a 3 Pack, paying $39,000 for the first unit and then Fifty percent (50%) of $35,100 for each additional franchise unit
- Fifteen percent (15%) discount off of a 5 Pack, paying $39,000 for the first unit and Fifty percent (50%) of $33,150 for each additional franchise unit
- Twenty percent (20%) discount off of a 7 Pack, paying $39,000 for the first unit and $31,200 for each additional franchise unit, at the time you sign the initial Franchise Agreement.”
In addition, Bottom’s Up Espresso charges a royalty fee of 8% based on gross sales if it’s $41,666.00 or less per month or 7% of gross sales per week if the store’s gross sales are $41,667.00 or more per month. The franchising term to operate a Bottom’s Up Espresso unit is 10 years.
Average Sales / Revenue per Year
There is no official data regarding Bottom’s Up Espresso’s annual revenues or average sales but an estimate made by Manta claimed that the coffee shop’s annual revenue is $235,064. I don’t have a high degree of confidence in their estimate, however.
Bottom’s Up Espresso Franchise Facts
|BUE Franchising LLC
|Food and Beverage
The concept for Bottom’s Up Espresso was started in 2010 by Nate Wilson and Alexandra Ireland. It was Alexandra Ireland who took interest in a bikini coffee shop concept when she saw the theme in her 20s back in her hometown in Seattle, Washington. Her interest led her to work as a bikini barista as well. She and Nate Wilson then decided to plan their bikini coffee shop in central California where they opened Bottom’s Up Espresso in Modesto, California in 2011. Within the first year of operations, they were able to open a second store.
Bottom’s Up Espresso’s unique concept make up of three things: creative quality custom drinks, coffee names, and sexy baristas.
For the drinks, they serve the classics such as lattes, cappuccinos, Americanos, and espresso. They also have the premium coffee line which are shots of espresso mixed in with different syrups and flavors. Energy drinks, smoothies with your choice of soy or whey protein, hot chocolate, and chai tea lattes are also a part of their menu. Most of these drinks also have clever suggestive names such as Blonde Bombshell, Screamer, The Big O, and Sweet Señorita.
Food is also served at Bottom’s Up Espresso. The menu includes French toast bagel sandwiches, savory bagels, muffin tops, croissant breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, and breakfast burritos.
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But quality coffee and food aside, let’s be honest with ourselves. It’s the female baristas that make this concept standout from a marketing perspective. Providing high-quality customer service is the number one priority at Bottom’s Up Espresso and their bikini baristas deliver just that. There is also no uniform but they do have themes every day of the week: Mondays are Schoolgirl Days, Tuesdays and Saturdays call for Bikini Days, Wednesdays are Cowgirl Days, Thursdays are Lingerie Days, Fridays are Fantasy Days, and Sundays are Sports Days.
The rules when it comes to their outfits? “It does not allow them to wear anything that they could not wear to a public beach.” Alexandra Ireland said although many still voice their concerns about having such a business concept in their communities. One would also expect that the customer demographic would attract more men but a manager from one of the Bottom’s Up Espresso branches said that they get more women.
Aside from the menu and the baristas, Bottom’s Up Espresso also sells merchandise. They sell trucker hats, lanyards, hoodies, beer can sleeves, and more.
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Though the bikini coffee shop concept is still not widely accepted, Bottom’s Up Espresso is continuing their operations. The shop is open Mondays to Saturdays from 5 in the morning to 7 in the evening, and on Sundays, they operate from 6 am to 6 pm. Bottom’s Up Espresso is headquartered in Modesto, California.
How Much Does Bottom’s Up Espresso Make in Profit?
Not much public information is available about Bottom’s Up Espresso. The concept presumably makes a profit but judging from their revenue mentioned above, the numbers could be small. But this is because of several factors such as the limited number of locations and the size of the business. We might be able to see bigger revenue numbers if the coffee shop expanded to more places and gains broader brand recognition.
Advantages of a Bottom’s Up Espresso Franchise
Does operating a Bottom’s Up Espresso have any advantages? Here we list down what you can expect if your application to franchise their coffee shop gets accepted:
You have to admit, bikini coffee shops are a unique theme mostly because of the baristas. They’re eye-catching and can draw in customers. Maybe the coffee and food come second and the curiosity to experience being served as a bikini barista comes first. Whatever the reason, the unique theme is a strong marketing differentiator.
Coffee shops with a drive-thru set up are very advantageous in this day and age when people are more likely to just grab their coffees and go since dining in isn’t safe for now. Bottom’s Up Espresso already has a drive-thru in their concept so this will be easy for you to implement.
Bottom’s Up Espresso offers financing if you need assistance. On their terms, the chain may finance half of the initial fee. They call this their in-house financing option so if you’re very interested in operating a unit but need help with financing, Bottom’s Up Espresso will assist you.
Bottom’s Up Espresso will provide you with the business training you need to operate their coffee shop. This includes 40 hours of pre-training text, initial one week training at corporate, and soft opening and grand opening training.
Bottom’s Up Espresso sells a variety of truck hats, shirts, and other gifts. For anyone you can sell merchandise to you’re able to increase your average ticket value by 2x – 4x depending on the order. With a concept like this, you’re likely to generate a few extra sales daily with this offering.
Challenges of a Bottom’s Up Espresso Franchise
Running any type of coffee shop comes with challenges. It’s best to be prepared for them so you can plan ahead. Below are some of the challenges you can expect when running this franchise.
Bikini coffee shops are not unheard of but there’s no concept to date that’s been able to grow to a few hundred locations like a Dutch Bros. Take Bottom’s Up Espresso for example. They only have about 6 locations at the time of writing. Expansion seems is slower than other concepts that could signal lack of demand from either franchisee’s or consumers in many markets.
Bikini coffee shops still suffer from some members of communities not being able to accept their business concept wholeheartedly. This may be one of the reasons why the expansion seems slow because some communities write petitions to get bikini coffee shops to close down, citing numerous reasons why they’re inappropriate.
If you were granted to franchise Bottom’s Up Espresso, be prepared to face some degree backlash from community groups, press, and government leaders. Be prepared to face greater local scrutiny than other coffee shop owners in your town.
Bottom’s Up Espresso does require their baristas to wear a standard uniform. Rather, they are just given a theme and it’s up to them to dress up according to what they understand the theme is.
Uniforms can be considered as a marketing strategy and a form of branding and can help people remember the name of the coffee shop. Take Hooters for example wherein they’re known for wearing the name of the restaurant in their white tops and orange skirts so the sight of their uniform has people associating them with the restaurant.
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For Bottom’s Up Espresso, the lack of branding on their outfits might just have people associate them as the sexy baristas and not the coffee shop name itself. Another risk from an operational standpoint is ensuring that baristas uniforms aren’t too revealing. Lack of standardization in uniforms can create confusion among staff and even managers who may feel a certain outfit falls into a grey area.
We are in a bit of a labor crisis right now with coffee shops, restaurants, and other service industry businesses finding it challenging to find workers. Since hiring male baristas isn’t an option with this concept, you limit the number of prospective employees. Additionally, there’s only a certain type of female that fits the criteria of a Bottom’s Up barista. Females in the 50+ age category are unlikely to apply.
On the flip side, you can offer a unique workplace that young female baristas won’t find anywhere else. The scantily clad uniforms could also result in higher tips for outgoing baristas that are able to attract repeat customers during their shift.
As with any customer-facing business, you’re going to encounter some rude customers. While rare, some customers may cross the line and take the flirty attitude of Bottom’s Up Espresso a bit too far. According to current management, these situations are rare, but they do happen. It’s another unique consideration to keep in mind before opening.
Is the Bottom’s Up Espresso Franchise Right For You?
If you like the idea of owning a drive-thru coffee shop business with a sexy concept, Bottom’s Up Espresso might just be the franchise for you. They can help you with financing, provide training, and even help you with assessing a location for your business.
What is an alternative bikini coffee shop franchise? If you’re looking for other options with the same concept, check out Cowgirls Espresso. They’re also a coffee shop with bikini baristas serving customers. They have 11 locations to date.
To franchise a Cowgirls Espresso, you’ll need a liquid capital of $35,000. The franchise fee is $25,000.
So if it’s a uniquely themed coffee shop you want, check out Bottom’s Up Espresso. If you like what you read then give them a try. Maybe your location will be more welcoming with a sexy barista concept than most places. Whatever the case, if you’re interested, head on to their website and apply to become one of their franchise operators to start on this new business venture.