It is evident from the nature and content of your posts that it would be in your best interest to clearly understand the concept of positioning. Why it matters, how to establish it, and how to effectively use it as a marketing tool and a means for continued motivation.
When a high-end restaurant and high-end roaster begin a relationship, it is (should be) the roaster's job to take control of the coffee program, from equipment, to brewing methodology, water chemistry, and training. A restaurant should be willing to make whatever changes necessary to meet the standards of the roaster.
So my question is, how are the Restaurants who are purchasing high end coffee preparing it for their customers?
How is quality ensured?
This kind of relationship should only be for the purpose of by the cup brewing, and for a restaurant, the easiest, most consistent way to ensure quality and consistency would be to brew press by the cup.
This is what we did for the restaurant we work with:
1) Upgraded grinder and changed all large press to single-cup presses. (of course they pay for all equipment, and supplies. A roaster should never give equipment, just bring it to them, and bill them for it.)
2) Tested water chemistry, installed filtration system to correct water chemistry (while waiting for the installation, I hand delivered water in 5 gallon containers from our already calibrated supply)
3) Implement brew program. Calibrate grinder, write down brewing parameters from preheating cup, to dose, grind, and brew times.
4) Train front of house staff. Have a tasting, explain the WHY of the methodology.
5) Set pricing (We deliver fresh roasted coffee every two weeks. Everything is seasonal and small-batch, we change coffees every time, provide tasting notes, and pricing. Our coffee pricing ranges from 5-10 per cup. The restaurant follows our parameters exactly.)
6) Invite staff for tasting session.
7) Revisit to ensure they are maintaining standards.
For us, we have an excellent relationship with the chef/owner, and the staff all "get" it, so we have no worries about consistency. They know not to falter.
These (or similar) is what I would consider a minimum that any reputable roaster should do.
If roaster and/or restaurant is not enthusiastic about doing these kinds of things, there is no point in them doing business together. Somewhere between the two is a weak link, until it is remedied, it will be a flawed relationship at best, and both will suffer for it.
Last edited by John P; 01-25-2013 at 06:43 PM.
Salt Lake City, UT
01-25-2013 06:29 PM
We provide coffee for a "farm to table" restaurant which just opened a couple of months back. They serve a blend that was developed just for them (and named for them) as well as a decaf in french presses.
Originally Posted by eldub
I love this story here. Is this something restaurants are interested in? Our focus is on more of a Farm to Table niche of restaurants.
Let me know, I would love to hear more!
I was just in the restaurant owners meeting couple of days ago here in Michigan. There were about 250 restaurant owners there from lower end of the spectrum to high end. There were few of the owners wanted to know the differences between coffee from the national suppliers to small coffee house roasters. At the end, the price is the main priority. second is the quality. I asked if they would change the coffee supplier with best quality of coffee but need to pay 5 dollars per pound more and answer was Big "NO" The shocking things is the most of the these restaurants don't even have water filter for their coffee machine unless they were installed by the coffee suppliers.
Yes I am sure there are many restaurants owners would buy high end coffee and would pay 14-15 dollar per pound but I bet it won't be where you can make living off of them....
Another funny thing about coffee business in Michigan... There is a very fast growing coffee chain called "Bigbee coffee" used to called "beaners" and they chanced their name pretty quickly after complains about the name. But i just found out they get their coffee from one of the biggest local roasters with one of the worst coffee you can find in the industry. But then again they are the one of the fastest growing coffee chain.... I wonder what is the recipe for great success on coffee business...... It surely doesn't seem like the best tasting coffee we all love....
I’ve been running the numbers on a business plan for a high end small roaster, but it seems like a more stable approach would be to focus on fresh affordable good coffee rather than the highest quality. Which is a little disheartening because I got into roasting because it was the answer to the my quest of finding the best coffee for myself. Now, 7 years later I can go to the grocery store and there are 5 amazing local(ish) roasters to choose from.
I may have to rethink this a bit.
And thanks for the answers John.
[QUOTE=cotatiadam;55502]I’ve been running the numbers on a business plan for a high end small roaster, but it seems like a more stable approach would be to focus on fresh affordable good coffee rather than the highest quality. Which is a little disheartening because I got into roasting because it was the answer to the my quest of finding the best coffee for myself. Now, 7 years later I can go to the grocery store and there are 5 amazing local(ish) roasters to choose from.
I may have to rethink this a bit.
Don't just give up on your dream.
I am just saying about restaurants owners.
There are tons of high end coffee drinkers out there.
There is a small coffee house here in Michigan opened few years ago and they are located in very high end district but they just expanded to bigger space.
They serve what I would have done with coffee house if I only had one shop....
They carry between 4-5 single origin coffee and they charge around 3.50 for single cup drip brew.
Their house blend is around 2.75 and their Espresso based drinks are about the same as others...
They sell tons of beans at their store and local specialty shops....
This is very possible business model but location and the product has to be top notch....
They have been in business for couple of years and they established as the premier coffee house in college town with about45 coffee houses... NOT TOO SHABBY...
I was just trying to just have a roast shop and not serve drinks, but it's looking like it's the best way to go.
The smaller you are, the more you need a distinct differentiator, and the single best way to create your own niche and to remain profitable (when you are small) is to have Quality as your differentiator. From quality of beans to skill, understanding and craft as a roaster.
Average, or simply "good" coffees must be HIGH volume in order for you to compete. Unless you will be roasting 15,000 +++ pounds of coffee per month, stay out of this area. You simply can't compete.
Place yourself in a category where you have no competitors, understand coffee and business equally well, and deliver an exceptional value proposition to your customers and you will always be profitable.
... Split the difference, and do a roast shop with daily (scheduled) coffee and espresso tastings to help promote What you roast, How you roast, and Why it's better than A, B, and C. This will give your customers greater insight to what you offer.
And in the SF area, there are a very small number of excellent roasters for the population. (Ritual, Wrecking Ball, Four Barrel, Blue Bottle and possibly Sightglass) Find a neighborhood that doesn't have one, and BE that one. SF should have 10 to 15 excellent coffee shops/roasters. There's plenty of room for more.
Last edited by John P; 02-04-2013 at 05:53 PM.
Salt Lake City, UT
SF is i would say 3-4th biggest market in US... Second to NYC for most densely populated city in US. It would be unfair to compare small city to SF... In my opinion...
You don't have to have fancy coffee house in your shop.
It could be used bar counter from the close bar and basic coffee equipment is all you need.
Some tables and chairs....
If you try to compete with the big coffee houses, it will be hard but if you just offer great coffee and place to come, I would say it will sell.. just don't spend all your money on decoration...
Last edited by CoffeeJunky; 02-04-2013 at 07:56 PM.
Thanks for all the input. I think i'm getting ahead of myself, but a place to do cuppings and have education was always in the plan. I'm actually just north of SF about 20 min. But it's just discouraging to see 4barrel, Verve, ritual all at the local Whole foods.
But I do believe what you all have been saying otherwise I would not be considering it. I've been working with the local small business development center to help with a business plan and running the numbers. I'll keep you all posted.
I love how I hijacked this post
Last edited by cotatiadam; 02-04-2013 at 10:55 PM.
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