Espresso Blog

Hiring and Keeping Employees Part 1: Hire Right, So You Can Do It Less

Between tracking food costs and working to create a steady flow of customers to your café or restaurant, proper hiring practices can fall to the wayside. But resist the urge to hire quickly, just so you can get back to running your business. Be thoughtful and patient, even if it means you and your staff will need to work extra hard until you hire right, and find the right person.

Good hiring requires at least two interviews, reference checks, and possibly background checks. The process can take at least two or three days, but the due diligence will pay off.

A wrong hire can damage staff...

Café Management: It’s All About People

It’s not all coffee and pastries. Whether you’re an owner-operator or you employ a full-time front-of-the-house manager, people are the core of your business. You need to know how to engage them, motivate them, and teach them.

Some management basics, to stay you in your employees’ good graces:

Always be professional. Never yell, curse or hurl insults at employees. This is the least you can do to maintain morale and respect for your position.

Put most things in writing. Don’t assume employees will “know what to do” if you haven’t told them explicitly. Have clearly defined job descriptions with...

Coffee Shop Marketing You Should Do Every Day

Coffee shop marketing should be a constant in your business. Besides your killer location, eye-catching signage and perfect espresso, how do you bring in customers?

Here are a few methods that are pretty easy, and even inexpensive:

1. Get to know your customers. People love being recognized. It’s probably the most welcoming thing you can do for them. Remember their regular coffee drink order—or even better, their name— and they’ll come back for more.

2. Should you offer product specials? Maybe. But the most loyal customers buy at full price and tell others about their favorite coffee shop....

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...

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