What's the worst thing to offer customers in a coffeehouse?

I am hoping to start a coffeehouse by the end of summer. I am currently deciding on what services, menu items, seating, etc, to offer my customers. I am also considering what equipment to use.

What's the one thing you would never do? If you have more than one, that would still be helpful.

Views: 80

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Here's a few things I think are bad ideas:
Opening a coffeehouse in July in the south :).
Serving flavored coffee.
Weak, wimpy Americanos.
Not offering a ceramic cup option.
16 and 20 oz "cappuccinos".
Offering whipped cream on a cappuccino (this nearly got my vote as the worst).

The worst thing to offer customers in a coffeehouse?
(its a tie)
Staff with poor training and/or attitude.
Crappy coffee (should be obvious, yet apparently isn't to some).

Good luck.
Ditto to Brady!

And...
I would never offer soup, breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal, [insert any "doesn't belong in a coffeehouse" food here], bulk-brewed drip coffee, blended drinks (unless alcohol is involved... as in coffee "bar"), or any whipped-creamy drinks. I would never allow people to take up space and not order. I would never serve a drink that did not meet our standards... no matter how busy we were. I would never fail to educate the customer about the coffee or espresso they are having. And I would never compromise our principles in order to make a sale.

As an owner, you will have to decide what's best for you. I strongly believe that in order to thrive as a small business owner, you need to have a definite mission statement, core identity, set of principles -- what have you, that will clearly decide these types of questions. The key is to never be tempted to stray from your vision. Many owners have a lot of great platitudes, but they never follow through when people challenge what they are doing. Remember you are running a business, but if you make decisions based on defined principles, I believe you will be better for it.
Instant Coffee?
Perhaps I should explain the market niche that has opened here. Our small southern town has been pushing for a downtown revival, and many of my bakery customers bemoan the fact that there is no local gathering place for casual business connections over coffee. There is not one restaurant that offers free Wifi, although you might stumble across someone's unsecured network. There is a huge need for a location that the teenage crowd would be drawn to, as there is NOTHING to do in our small town. The downtown merchants, secretaries, bank tellers, insurance agents, and other professionals are looking for a business that offers simple, healthy, light food (salad, sandwiches, ahem...soups ;) ) that is only a few doors down from their offices. The interest I have garnered with informal polling of my bakery customers has been considerable. I realize that summertime in the South is not coffee-drinking time, but a business operator has to configure his business to meet the need of the customers. If our town was full of sophisticated urbanites I could afford to be exclusive about what I serve, but with the smalltown, often rural, customers I anticipate, I should cater to their wishes to some degree.

So, there will be traditional coffeehouse fare, as well as light lunch foods. I may also offer perhaps 4 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream. I plan to offer cold drinks, including Southern Iced Tea, and those blended coffee drinks. I honestly admire the purist coffee shops, and I want to provide the best espresso product I can. So I will pursue excellence and customer service, and I will keep my food offerings as simple and trouble-free as possible. I am willing to learn how to make espresso and its derivatives from those who understand it best, and I will try to avoid following the pattern set by *$ and others of their ilk.
Our Grand opening is this Friday!!! There are a few companies- people that I would NEVER deal with again. please feel free to email me if you would like those names as I'm not sure if it's permitted to post here.

AS for the coffee in July in the South... we offer gelato and blender drinks. We also offer soups, and sandwiches and even salads... this tiny town needs it. It is about knowing your market, save the absolute 'forbiddens' for those things that directly relate to quality such as the whipped cream on a cappuccino or the mega cups, crappy coffee or poor service...

By knowing who you trying to get to walk through the doors and then making it the best possible experience for them you can't go wrong.

Be willing to postpone the opening if you are not ready!!!
The public will respect the fact that you want it to be a great experience for them... communicate that!

They drive through our lot daily looking for the open sign... If you build it they will come (especially when there is no other place like it in more then a fifty mile radius).

Good Luck & God Bless.
IMHO, it is important to consider aroma when you are deciding if/which foods to serve. Ideally you get your lunch at a restaurant and your coffee at a coffee shop. But as some of you have mentioned the American market seems to think that they should go together in many cases. So all I can say is that if you have a coffeshop with light fare then consider that you are still a coffee shop. If it smells like burritos when people walk into your COFFEE shop then it will only appeal to your burrito customers (which would be a smaller percentage than your coffee customers) Make it smell like delicious coffee, even outside your cafe.

as for things to not offer, there is only one size of cappucino. Just 5-7oz no matter what your customers say. Just 1 size, this opens the door to educating so many people because they think that espresso drinks have different ingredients when it is actually a ratio difference in may cases.

*note* burrito is an example, I've never actually seen a burrito/coffee shop
Denise,

I think you should list your do not do business with. Good luck with your Grand Opening, from seeing your posts here I know you will do very well. I hope you find your target audience quickly.



Denise Smith said:
Our Grand opening is this Friday!!! There are a few companies- people that I would NEVER deal with again. please feel free to email me if you would like those names as I'm not sure if it's permitted to post here.

AS for the coffee in July in the South... we offer gelato and blender drinks. We also offer soups, and sandwiches and even salads... this tiny town needs it. It is about knowing your market, save the absolute 'forbiddens' for those things that directly relate to quality such as the whipped cream on a cappuccino or the mega cups, crappy coffee or poor service...

By knowing who you trying to get to walk through the doors and then making it the best possible experience for them you can't go wrong.

Be willing to postpone the opening if you are not ready!!!
The public will respect the fact that you want it to be a great experience for them... communicate that!

They drive through our lot daily looking for the open sign... If you build it they will come (especially when there is no other place like it in more then a fifty mile radius).

Good Luck & God Bless.
Hope, Internet access, and a choice. One size in house. There is no such thing as a large cappuccino, and if you ask for wet or dry, double or single,long or short I'll just smile, nod and commence to serve you a traditional equal parts beverage that's been the same for the past 70 years. Some customers need to have their hipster card revoked. It's barista's choice, take it or leave it.
i have worked in a small town coffee shop in the south...i understand. but, i have to say i respectfully disagree with a few of these things. in the south, especially in summer, you absolutely need cold offerings. blended drinks are not a bad thing as long as you are using fresh spro/ coffee and quality ingredients. a milkshake with a shot of espresso is a great example of what NOT to do. also, food is a great thing to have, just make sure it pairs well with your coffee. "oh, you want some yirgacheffe? here try a berry scone." ya know? learn your coffee flavors and get pastries or whatever to go with them. (also @ John P... i worked in a shop that served soup and oatmeal and they both sold out every single day....something to consider)

as for the things i would personally not do....
pre grind your coffee. it will be stale within a few hours.
have artificial syrups (although in a small town they may benefit you because people love a little splash o' flavor so it doesnt "taste like coffee")
let your coffee sit out for more than an hour or so...make it fresh in smaller batches!

good luck!! what kind of coffee are you serving?
I currently am brewing javataza coffee at our bakery. They are located in Texas, and roast what I order when I order it. They are a small, young company with excellent service and a desire to excel. They even custom bag a blend I developed from a couple of roasts I was getting from them, and private label it for me. This is the blend that I brew for our customers. I have currently been experimenting with all their single origin coffee bean varieties, (at their cost, I might add) and am working on some more private label blends, which I hope to have ready in time for when I open.

Javataza coffee

Brandon Malcolm said:
i have worked in a small town coffee shop in the south...i understand. but, i have to say i respectfully disagree with a few of these things. in the south, especially in summer, you absolutely need cold offerings. blended drinks are not a bad thing as long as you are using fresh spro/ coffee and quality ingredients. a milkshake with a shot of espresso is a great example of what NOT to do. also, food is a great thing to have, just make sure it pairs well with your coffee. "oh, you want some yirgacheffe? here try a berry scone." ya know? learn your coffee flavors and get pastries or whatever to go with them. (also @ John P... i worked in a shop that served soup and oatmeal and they both sold out every single day....something to consider)

as for the things i would personally not do....
pre grind your coffee. it will be stale within a few hours.
have artificial syrups (although in a small town they may benefit you because people love a little splash o' flavor so it doesnt "taste like coffee")
let your coffee sit out for more than an hour or so...make it fresh in smaller batches!

good luck!! what kind of coffee are you serving?
Hi Paul, Just a quick comment - I can't quite comment on the quality of coffee that Javataza has (never had an opportunity to try it) but Eldon Hooley is a great guy over there and seems to have a great amount of knowledge!

Paul Yates said:
I currently am brewing javataza coffee at our bakery. They are located in Texas, and roast what I order when I order it. They are a small, young company with excellent service and a desire to excel. They even custom bag a blend I developed from a couple of roasts I was getting from them, and private label it for me. This is the blend that I brew for our customers. I have currently been experimenting with all their single origin coffee bean varieties, (at their cost, I might add) and am working on some more private label blends, which I hope to have ready in time for when I open.

Javataza coffee

Brandon Malcolm said:
i have worked in a small town coffee shop in the south...i understand. but, i have to say i respectfully disagree with a few of these things. in the south, especially in summer, you absolutely need cold offerings. blended drinks are not a bad thing as long as you are using fresh spro/ coffee and quality ingredients. a milkshake with a shot of espresso is a great example of what NOT to do. also, food is a great thing to have, just make sure it pairs well with your coffee. "oh, you want some yirgacheffe? here try a berry scone." ya know? learn your coffee flavors and get pastries or whatever to go with them. (also @ John P... i worked in a shop that served soup and oatmeal and they both sold out every single day....something to consider)

as for the things i would personally not do....
pre grind your coffee. it will be stale within a few hours.
have artificial syrups (although in a small town they may benefit you because people love a little splash o' flavor so it doesnt "taste like coffee")
let your coffee sit out for more than an hour or so...make it fresh in smaller batches!

good luck!! what kind of coffee are you serving?
Denise Smith said some stuff, including:
AS for the coffee in July in the South... we offer gelato and blender drinks. We also offer soups, and sandwiches and even salads... this tiny town needs it. It is about knowing your market, save the absolute 'forbiddens' for those things that directly relate to quality such as the whipped cream on a cappuccino or the mega cups, crappy coffee or poor service...


Hi Denise. I'm really happy to see that your opening approaches. Best of luck to you, I'm sure you'll do well.

What I meant with the thoughts about a July open was this... we all know that the mid-summer months are bad for coffee, despite our best efforts to round out our lineups. Lower sales and profitability. People are on vacation, off their routine, and less-inclined to be excited about a coffeehouse. I feel like you should be making a big impact when you first open, and that's less likely if you are focusing on stuff that isn't exactly your core product. If you find yourself in a situation where your open has been pushed back and you have to open then, clearly your choices are limited. But if you are looking ahead and planning, wouldn't you think it better to open in March or September rather than July?

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

Barista Exchange Meet Up D.C.

© 2014   Created by Matt Milletto.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service