Richmond Coffee Business Is Perking -Richmond Times Dispatch 2008 by Bonnie Newman Davis Margaret Doyle feeds her culinary passon every day. For the past seven years, Doyle has operated Espresso-A-Go-Go Coffee Catering, which provides beverage and food service for special events, weddings and corporate meetings. Getting it off the ground wasn't easy, Doyle said. Her "kooky little business" initially started as a mobile coffee and espresso bar commonly found at local festivals and the 17th Street Farmers Market. She discovered less competition for that type of business. Doyle worked many street festivals and relied on friends to double as her employees. She used her own funds to purchase equipment such as espresso machines, syrups and coffees. The business did well, with the exception of hot and rainy days, when coffee sales barely simmered. Despite her success, Doyle knew she needed to diversify and expand her business. She did so by catering more indoor and larger events. Word of mouth advertising led Doyle to be tapped by larger venues such as Maymont Park and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden's annual Garden Festival of Lights, from Thanksgiving through New Years holidays. Yet catering, a somewhat more reliable flow of business than street vending, can be tricky too, she said. "It's a difficult business," she said "On (televised) food shows, no one is yelling at (celebrity chefs), and they're not on their feet for 12 hours. Catering is a non-stop business. You have to have the drive, determination, motivation and wherwithal to stay in this business." Her mobile service continues to provide specialty coffee, teas, European-style pastries and other treats at various venues and offices. Onsite catered events vary from breakfast and lunch menues to full-course meals. While much of Doyle's work is based in Richmond, she has increased her travels to proide services in several cities along the East Coast. "When you have your own business, no one cuts you a check," she said. "You are in charge of every dollar. I've made a comfortable business in catering. The money comes in and out very quickly. You need to have a good financial base and I've been fairly successful financially."
Embracing Change - Richmond Magazine
by Megan Marconyak
Growing up in an Irish-Catholic family in the 1960s Chicago, Margaret Doyle's earliest memories include kneeling on a phone book and helping her mother roll out dough to make doughnuts for guests. Her father was a firefighter, and it seemed like there was a constant stream of people coming in and out of her house. "The coffeepot was on 24 hours a day," she laughs. "I always loved that feeling when people walked in the door. We were always entertaining." Although she enjoyed cooking, Doyle followed a different career path, eventually working as a field-crew technician for C-SPAN. But at the age of 30, she realized she wanted to return to her roots. Doyle quit her job and spent about nine years moving through the restaurant industry when, tired of switching jobs and waiting to become an executive chef, she made another switch -- to the coffee industry. "I did it because I wanted to run my own business and be my own boss. It was the best decision I ever made," she says.