Espresso Blog

Sales Training for The Retail Coffee or Restaurant Setting

Get the nuances of customer interactions right, and you’ll see more repeat customers.

Sharpening your sales skills can help you and your staff sell more drinks and meals—and build a steady base of regular customers. It can also help you attract investors to your business model or land a business loan.

Contrary to what you may assume, you don’t have to be an extrovert to be good at sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re oozing with small-talk skills and confidence (in fact, this can sometimes work against you), or if you’re more shy and introspective. Either way, you have an equal chance of...

Evaluate Your Coffee Shop or Restaurant Chai Program Before Fall Arrives

According to market research firm Euromonitor International, Americans are increasingly attracted to bold, spicy, exotic flavors. Specialty tea sales also continue to rise at retail, with chai being one of the most popular flavor profiles in the category.

But of course, it’s been popular for thousands of years in India. Many families there have special recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation—consisting of a blend (also called a masala) of freshly ground spices that are steeped with black tea. Common spices in the masala include cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorn...

Should You Diversify Your Coffee Shop Offerings?

If you’re thinking about expanding your drink or food menu, selling gift items or going beyond your shop to find new business, there a few things to look at before you leap.

Walking into a coffee shop for a pastry and a latte can be overwhelming. You might be confronted with 20 or more beverage options—or retail goods (candies, greeting cards, t-shirts, coffee mugs, kettle chips, tins of tea, etc.)

While a sparse, modern coffee shop with a minimalist menu looks great on the surface, let’s face it: It’s hard to pay the bills when you’re selling coffee and not much more. Starbucks sells much...

Inventory Management: As Simple as Getting to Know Your Customers

It's never a bad time to evaluate the products you're carrying. Take a moment to look at everything on your counter and in your refrigerator and ask yourself, "How many of these do I actually sell?" If you find yourself wondering why you brought some of them on board, it’s time to revisit your menu.

One key to managing inventory is getting to know your customers, your neighborhood and surrounding businesses. Do you have traditional coffee drinkers? Experimental ones? Office workers who want lunch options or mainly a morning crowd? This makes choosing the products you want to carry—and stocking...

The Latte Example: Figuring Out Your Food Costs

While great coffee and impeccable customer service can lead people to line up outside your door, you need to keep your food costs in line—or you'll still lose money.

Take the basic latte. Are you charging enough for it to make a profit?

A successful food-service operation has food costs that are around 30% to 35% of total revenue. If a cafe does $20,000 per week in sales and the total cost of food and beverages is $7,000 for that week, then the food cost is considered 35 percent.

To calculate the cost of a latte and other drinks, add up everything that goes into making it. For example, for a...

Sustainable Coffee: What's In It For Your Coffee Shop?

Retailers can distinguish themselves by offering products that will ultimately affect their future.

If you own a coffee shop, you're in a great position to make an impact beyond your front door. More consumers than ever are voting with their dollar—buying products that align with their ideal(s) of how the world should be. These consumers are included to choose one coffee shop over another if they feel that shop shares their values—such as by carrying sustainable coffee(s). Thus when all else is equal,

Consider the issue of how coffee pricing versus affects coffee quality. (You thought...

Easy Coffee Shop Marketing Ideas

Coffee shop marketing doesn't require a lot of time or money.

Get creative, and include your staff in the process to help them take ownership of your marketing efforts:

  1. Drink specials can get customers out of their comfort zone and onto something they'll want to keep coming back for. Specials can rotate daily, weekly or monthly. They can celebrate holidays, seasons or community events. Use a a chalkboard or dry erase board to prominently displays your special(s). Consider offering a coffee-drink special, smoothie special and a sandwich special if you serve lunch.
  2. Bundling, because everyone...

Espresso Equipment Maintenance: The Key to Consistency

And by that, we mean consistent coffee quality and consistent reliability from your machine.

If you want to take full advantage of that fancy espresso blend you’re buying (or roasting), your espresso machine, grinder, and water quality must be regularly maintained. 

Below are the basic steps for success. Contact us for more information regarding the proper maintenance schedule for your equipment.

Espresso Machine:

  • Backflush the espresso machine with Cafiza at the end of every day, no exceptions.  
  • Replace o-rings and gaskets in a preventative manner—before they cause the dreaded "downtime."

Coffeehouse Buildout: Getting Your Plans In Order

There’s a lot of documentation involved in getting your coffee shop built out. Here’s what you need to know to get them just right, so your dealings with city codes and contractors will go smoothly.

A recent blog post coffeehouse design (on our Intermix Beverage website) outlined all the things you’ll need to consider when planning the use of your space. That's the easy part. Now you have to assure the dimensions of everything you bring into the space are exact, as well as making your electrical and plumbing plans perfectly clear and correct, so you can avoid headaches such as: rejection of...

Espresso Extraction: A Finer Grind is Usually Better

With years of experience evaluating coffee quality in coffee shops and restaurants, one brewing error pops up more than others: The grind is too coarse, resulting in an under-extracted, not-so-great shot of espresso.

Hence, it’s time to get that stopwatch out and start timing espresso pours. A shot from a traditional machine should take 20-30 seconds to pour, no matter what the portion size (single, double, triple). We often see shops pouring espresso in 8-15 seconds, making it too light in color with a weak crema, and lacking strength, body and complexity.

Here’s how to fix your shot-pour...

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