Beans & Machines

The Tampa Beverage Solutions Blog

Diners gone AWOL – Avoid “Desserters”

At the FRA last weekend, we attended a talk given by Sherri Johns, the president and founder of WholeCup Coffee Consulting.

Sherri is a veritable coffee expert, so when she offered us some insight on a phenomenon plaguing restaurants around the globe, we were overcome with the urge to spread the knowledge.

First, some vocabulary –

Desserter (noun):

Customer who, in the event that coffee and/or dessert are not on the menu, exits the venue where he or she has enjoyed a meal in search of these items elsewhere.

Apparently, as post-meal coffee nudges its way into the habits of the American restaurant-goer, those who can’t get their fix of café au lait or espresso following dinner or lunch will not only skip on the dessert order, they will go out and find a place that provides both the coffee and the slice of pie.

That’s revenue that is lost on the restaurant owner and substantially gained by the smart cookie who serves artisan coffee roasts (and maybe a particularly nice baklava).

We want to make sure our loyal blog fans are avoiding desertion in their businesses, so we’ve thrown together this simple five step guide to ensure it won’t happen on your turf.

  1. Put Coffee on the Menu – okay, sure, that one is obvious, but you’d be amazed how many places don’t bother to put it on the menu.  Go ahead and check to make sure yours is equipped.
  2. Stock Good Coffee – Sherri shared with us a story about going to a famous, high-end restaurant a few months ago and inquiring about their coffee selection after the meal.  She was horrified that after such an in depth presentation of the meats, desserts, and wines, the only thing the server knew about the coffee was that it “came in a little golden bag.”  Not only does this not bode well for the quality of the final note of a nice meal, it leads us to –
  3. Educate Your Staff – Make sure your servers know where your coffee is grown and roasted, how it tastes, and to always mention it to tables as they are winding down on their entrees.  Equate your coffee to wine.  Not only is the taste range on a similar scale, the consumer palette is becoming ever more sophisticated as coffee popularity booms in North America.
  4. Use Clean, High Quality Equipment –Your machines will make all the difference in the product that you turn out.  Make sure that everything is clean, you are using filtered water, and you haven’t purchased something more for the bargain than the capability.  Just remember, coffee is often the single most profitable item on a menu.  It’s worth it to spend a little extra on a machine you can trust.
  5. Serve Variety – Drip coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte … make sure you’ve got it all, because in this post-Starbucks world, specialty coffee preparation is no longer an exclusive thing.  Proper prep and lovely presentation will drive the point home that your customers need not leave the table to get their just desserts.
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September 21, 2010 Posted by | Business Tips | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Café by Etsy – Cool Finds to Make your Business Indie Trendy

Vintage Spoon Set by Wooden Hive

Let’s face it – coffee shops used to be hip by default.  Cool people like to sip coffee and tea over stimulating conversation, brainstorming, first dates, you name it.  But as the popularity of the cafe heats up, so does your competition.

The aesthetic of your business to turn it into a haunt-of-choice for coffee lovers of your area is an imperative part of developing your brand identity.  As American coffee drinkers move away from the commercialism that is Starbucks in search of privately owned niche cafes, there is a more of a desire for quirk, novelty, and a unique display to set off high quality roasts.

That’s why we love Etsy.  One-of-a-kind handmade purchases by artsy folks around the globe provide just the creative touch give your place a little street cred.

If you’ve never heard of Etsy, no worries.  We’re here to give you a little guidance with some examples of picks we liked for the cafe shopper.

Coffee/Tea Pots:

Pay special attention to this one if you serve coffee or tea table-side or by the pot.

There is a limitless array of pots from handmade ceramics to funky painted glass on etsy.  The one pictured to the left is a Japanese Ceramic Pot posted by Logan Square Houseware on 9/17 for a bargain $20.

Table Decor:

Place mats, coasters, tablecloths, games … the possibilities are endless when it comes to sprucing up the tables in your cafe for dine-in customers.

Our favorites from a spur-of-the-moment search on Etsy were these super cool recycled woven coasters by Harriet’s Haven for $11 and these Leaf Table Pieces by River Bird.  Pictured to the right were another set of coasters we are still drooling over by Etsy coaster queen Love My Coasters.  They run on average $12/set of 4, and the shop array features all sorts of yummy options for coffee house chic.

Behind the Counter:

Apron by The Lime Shop

With all the stuff required to full suit your staff and counter, there’s a lot of room to play with your purchase choices.

From funky aprons to shabby chic chalkboards like this vintage option from Chalk Board Originals, you can really throw yourself into providing a distinct personality to your cafe for relatively cheap and the reassurance that your stuff is one-of-a-kind.

Consider doing a locale search to find Etsy artists living nearby as well.  You can always commission out pieces from shops you like (even if they aren’t local) to fit a specific logo, brand, or vision you’ve got in your head.

Best of luck, and be sure to send us photos of your finds!

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Business Tips, Decor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment