Espresso Blog

Refresh Your Coffeehouse Menu, Part II: Designing & Printing Your Menu

Your coffeehouse menu design says as much about you as your choice of clothes. Are you clean, polished and easy to read, or frumpy and a bit disheveled?

Use the following guidelines when creating your menu and you’ll be sure to make a positive first impression:

1. Graphics/Imagery. Use your logo and brand colors to tie your menu to your brand. Avoid photos—they're time consuming and don't often look great on a printed menu. If you must use photos, they should be beautiful and professionally done. Food photography isn't easy, despite its ubiquity on Instagram. It requires proper lighting to...

Your Coffee Shop Menu, Part I: When, Why and How to Update It

A good restaurant menu invites customers to dive into your offerings. People should be able to rely on popular go-to items and new favorites—with a fair amount of flexibility mixed in, so they know what to expect. That said, your menu should be flexible (read: do not laminate). The big reasons for keeping it open to changes: changing food costs, spoilage and passing trends.

When you create a menu, you get to play around with food combinations and how to describe them. But there are so many variables. How much should you charge for each item to make sure you’re making a profit? Knowing your...

Is Coffee Freshness Overrated?

Check out this great video on coffee freshness from California-based coffee expert Chris Baca. He breaks down several key factors that affect freshness, and how to harness them:

1. The importance of degassing coffee in the first week after it is roasted to assure peak flavor and consistency. (If you use it right out of the roaster, good luck dialing it in for a good espresso.)

2. The importance of proper storage to mitigate oxidation, which makes coffee stale and starts as soon as it comes out of the roaster.

And more insight that will keep you in fresh coffee (but not too fresh)! 

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....

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