Espresso Blog

Revisit Your Coffee Business Plan—Regularly!

You may dread pulling out your business plan to give it a fresh look. But if you take just a bit of time to keep it up to date, you'll be able to step back from the day-to-day and make sure you're still on the right path. And if it appears you're not, you can adjust your course instead of burying your head in the sand.

For a coffee shop that has grown and evolved, it’s almost unheard of for an original business plan to remain 100-percent relevant. But when you keep your plan current, it will help clarify your business direction and ensure that key employees are working from the same set of...

Inventory Management for Your Coffee Shop or Restaurant

You wear a lot of hats as a small business owner, with a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. It can be hard to find time to do everything, but by making a few changes to your inventory management system, you can probably save yourself hours each month.

It's important to fully engage key employees in inventory management. They should be aware that the cost of goods sold is the key to staying in business. Keeping close tabs on inventory will help you:

Reduce food waste: When doing inventory, you'll learn when and where waste is occurring, and gain an understanding of what ordering practices...

Social Media Mistakes to Avoid for Coffee Shop and Restaurant Owners

The most important part of a do's and don'ts list? The don'ts. Now that you know what to do on social media, here are some mistakes to avoid.

Don't auto-DM followers

Setting up automatic direct messages to new followers is about as impersonal and robotic as it gets. “Thanks for the follow!" or "Looking forward to connecting with you!" are common messages that are generated immediately. Recipients will likely assume these were sent automatically and may think you’ll be spamming them in the future. They’re also disingenuous to people you don’t know and might not reach out to. If you do know...

Social Media Strategies for Coffee Shop and Restaurant Owners

Opening a cafe or restaurant used to mean laying down some cash to get the word out. Newspaper ads, fliers and a press party were required to kick things off. But today, three free social media platforms can do nearly the same job: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Word of mouth can make or break your food service business, and social media gives you the potential to reach hundreds (thousands?) of potential customers every day with minimal effort—and mostly for free.

Most importantly, you can differentiate your content from the competition to increase the click-through rate (CTR), comments...

Food Allergies Bring Challenges & Opportunities to Restaurants and Cafés

Whether you run a casual cafe or an upscale restaurant, your customers' food allergies can bring you success, or even failure. You’re most likely seeing increasing requests for allergy-free offerings, as allergy issues are on the rise due to growing awareness of adverse reactions to shellfish, eggs, nuts, diary and wheat. But these hurdles can also be seen as opportunities to amp up your customer service and create repeat business at your restaurant or coffee shop.

“People with food allergies may be a small percentage, but they're still our customers,” said beloved Chicago-based chef Tony...

Coffee Expert Guesses Which Coffee is Expensive ... and Which One is Cheap

"Price Points" is an Epicurious video series that gives some great, snapshot insight into just how much restaurant goods cost—and why. In a recent episode, coffee expert Dillon Edwards of Parlor Coffee attempts to guess which of two coffees is more expensive, after examining, smelling and tasting them. Edwards also offers viewers insight into his methods for analyzing coffee, while also breaking down roasts (dark vs. light), and waxing poetic about processing, freshness, varietals and source.

Then, he examines and tests each coffee before guessing which one costs more. Once the coffee prices...

How To Tamp Espresso Like a Pro

If you want to make the best espresso, you’ll need to pack the perfect puck.

A good tamp creates resistance (with evenly compacted coffee) that makes the brewing water work hard to saturate the grounds and extract all of that great coffee flavor. The water pressure pulls oils from the grounds and creates the bold taste and rich texture your customers expect from a quality espresso.

But if the coffee grounds are loose and uneven, water will find the gaps and move through them instead of extracting flavor, and your brew will be watery and flavorless.

To avoid this, follow these easy steps....

Coffeehouse Management Skill #4: Attention to Detail

If you want your coffeehouse to reach its full potential, you need a healthy dose of obsession. It requires total awareness of your operation—when a glass is missing on a table, the trash is overflowing, or a staff member seems out of sorts—to keep customers coming back.

Managing details like these can turn your business from good to great. Of course you don’t want to take on everything—you want your staff to be empowered and accountable—but it takes setting the example and regularly communicating your expectations to assure quality and service don’t deteriorate.

Your staff needs to see that...

Rev Up Your Coffeehouse Marketing—and Your Profits

Coffeehouse marketing is all about letting people get to know you and the benefits you offer. 

In a way, your coffeehouse or restaurant is its own form of advertising. If you've got a good location—with plenty of drive-by or walk-by traffic—visibility may be enough to keep business humming along. But other than your brick-and-mortar address, how do you promote your business? And does your marketing message communicate your philosophy while giving customers good reasons to walk through your door?

If you market your coffee shop online or with flyers, cross promotion, or print ads, consider...

Video: Clean Your Espresso Machine!

You want a clean espresso machine, don’t you?
Third Rail Coffee in NYC has a great series of videos on all things espresso.
Here’s their down-and-dirty tutorial on cleaning an espresso machine: 

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