Before my current job, I worked as a barista for 6 years. As a passion project, I would start a decent espresso bar since there are none in the town I live in. I'd model it after some of my favourite Italian bars. As a business man, I see there's little money to be made in such a venture. BTW you wouldn't really need half a million for such ventures, if you come up with a good business plan the bank will supply about 60-70% of your startup capital here in The Netherlands. But you will be needing collateral, though. I'd put 150K in myself, get the bank to invest 350K and put the other 350K I'd have left in Dutch gov.bonds that the bank would get as collateral while I'd still be receiving the coupons on those bonds. Yes, I'd be paying more interest on the loan than I'd be getting on the coupons but that interest is tax deductible.