Espresso Blog

Is Your Outdoor Seating Area Ready For Summer?

Did you know that adding outdoor dining space to your coffee shop can increase your profits by as much as 65%?

With numbers like these, it may be time to pick up a few café tables and invite customers to sip and dine on your sidewalk—or even build a patio or deck if you have the space.

Of course, lots of eateries have outdoor seating, so you’ll need to make yours stand out:

First, get your sidewalk café permit

Cities require businesses to obtain a permit to use sidewalk space. It’s generally well worth the cost—often less than $300 annually for enough space to accommodate 8-10 customers, or...

Iced Coffee, Iced Tea and Smoothies Offer Summer Profitability

Summer is fast approaching, along with an uptick in your iced-coffee drink sales. Iced coffees and teas, nitro coffees, blended-iced drinks (frappes) and smoothies are popular in other seasons too, but by June you can expect your ice machine to start working overtime.

Cold coffee is a great way to win over younger drinkers—with Millenials driving the trend in the U.S. Iced drinks are great for your bottom line, too, because as much as half of a drink’s volume consists of ice—thus increasing your profits by 50%. Providing the lighter flavor that younger coffee drinkers tend to seek out means...

Achieve Your Green Coffee Goals Part III: Eliminating Plastics

In Part I of this series, we talked about how to conduct an energy audit of your coffee shop or restaurant, to find out where you should be incorporating energy efficiencies.

In Part II, we discussed the many ways you can increase sustainability without spending a lot of money.

Perhaps the most obvious way to go green is to recycle as much waste as you can. But while some plastics can be recycled, the greenest option is to avoid using it to begin with, wherever possible. Plastics can only be recycled a few times before they become useless landfill—unlike glass and metal which can be recycled...

Achieve Your Green Coffee Shop Goals Part II: From Local Food to Recycling, It All Adds Up

In Part I of this series, we discussed how to conduct an energy audit of your coffee shop or restaurant, to learn where best to incorporate energy efficiencies.

If an audit uncovers expensive fixes for your energy habit—like a need to upgrade your restaurant equipment to Energy Star models or install a new H-VAC system (not easy tasks), don’t fear. You can do those things in phases, and in the meantime, implement green measures that won’t break the bank:

Conserve water.

Simple changes in your water use such as running the dishwasher only when it is completely full, loosening dried food by...

Achieve Your Green Coffee Shop Goals, Part I: Perform an Energy Audit

Restaurants and cafes use five to seven times more energy per square foot than most other commercial buildings—and create a lot of garbage. Yet when looking to cut costs, even owners who see the value in “green coffee shop” status often focus on staffing or food-related costs—and ignore energy consumption.

The first step in achieving a sustainable foodservice business is to perform an energy audit to evaluate energy consumption in different areas of your café or restaurant. There are two ways to do this:

Hire a professional energy auditor/rater:

Working with an energy efficiency professional...

How Do You Know If You've Poured the Perfect Shot of Espresso?

The perfect shot of espresso isn't an elusive goal. It's within any barista's reach, with a little practice. Beyond the basics of pulling a shot, you just need to know how to evaluate an espresso's appearance, smell and taste.

So, what makes a shot of espresso truly great? 

The right brew time, for starters. Let's assume you have a delicious espresso roast, you know how to examine and tweak your grind, and how to tamp it into the portafilter just like so. If you've got these initial steps down, your espresso should take somewhere between 20 and 25 seconds to brew.

The stream of espresso...

Improve Your Staff’s Body Language as Part of Your Customer Satisfaction Strategy

Have you ever walked into a party and immediately decided whether to talk to a person, based on the way they looked or acted? Were they engaged in lively conversation or were they leaning against a wall with their arms crossed? Did they make eye contact or avoid it?

With anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of communication being nonverbal, it’s almost crazy how little significance we place on nonverbal cues in retail sales training. Especially knowing that people will draw a conclusion about whether they want to talk to a person—or buy from them—in as little as a few seconds.

So, what do...

Controlling Your Restaurant Business Costs

Unfixed restaurant business costs and waste can get out of hand before you know it—and drastically affect your bottom line. When was the last time you reviewed your costs and waste channels?

Following are a few ways to make sure your costs and waste don’t run you out of business:

Don't jump on every menu trend. Walk-in space, employee bandwidth—and even customer sentiments—are tested when a menu is constantly in flux. If you try to be everything to everyone you risk losing your identity and the reason people seek you out. You also risk wasting a lot of food.

Watch your advertising dollars....

Is Your Customer Service as Good as You Think It Is?

Put yourself in your patrons’ shoes to find out if you're on your customer service "A" game.

When was the last time you asked a customer for honest feedback? If your answer is, “not lately,” you may not truly know what's great (and what needs improvement) at your café or restaurant. And not knowing what needs improvement will likely lead to a loss of business.

Not only should you solicit feedback from patrons, you should take on their experience as your own. Among the benefits of walking in your customers’ shoes:

  • You'll uncover possible shortcomings in your products or service
  • You may find...

Five Coffee Equipment Maintenance Tips

Your brewing equipment and grinders (and customers!) count on you to make the best brew you can. Coffee equipment maintenance is needed daily and weekly, plus a tune up every 6 months, to assure they run smoothly and turn out the best possible coffee.

If you resolve to stick to some regular procedures, your equipment will thank you!

Tip #1 – Daily Coffee Equipment Maintenance

  1. Backflush each espresso group head nightly and wipe down your espresso machine so it’s sparkling clean for the next day.
  2. Clean brew pots and brewing chambers on your drip brewers.

Tip #2 – Weekly Espresso Machine,...

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