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