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Thread: Advice Needed

  1. #1
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    Advice Needed

    Hi! I presently own a fine gift shop and am considering adding an espresso bar in the back. I own the building and rent out three spaces in it...this covers my mortgage. I have been reading about super automatic espresso machines and thought that might be the way to go since it could make things a lot easier. I''ve read that the drinks come out pretty great. There is no one selling espressos, cappucinos, etc. in the 10 mile radius of my shop. Do you think this could work? Any other advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Hello!
    This could be a good thought, but you want to double check the SuperAuto. and make sure you and your staff are properly trained. A thought, if no one in your area is currently serving Espressos and Capps, why not go all out and bring in a Barista or two to give the full experience? It could add an extra edge into your shop.
    Good Luck!!

  3. #3
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    I second what Nicole has to say. If there is no one nearby serving specialty coffee it can definitely work. I think it sounds like a nice touch to go along with your shop. However make sure that you have researched the art and done some training before you start. There is a lot that goes into running a coffee bar smoothly, so just make sure you go into it with a good basis. But I say you should go for it. Everyone needs good coffee.

  4. #4
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    I think it is a great idea! Depending on your location, I would reccommend the front window for seating, even a few bistro sets. Not only will you increase your gift business, because you will get more willing husbands with their wives, while shopping they will have something to do...and when they need to shop, the husbands will return!
    You will need atleast 2 employees at all times though, so keep increased staff in mind. If I were considering this addition, I would set up the tables and have outstanding coffees first, if that seemed to attract business then go for it! The coffee business does require alot of time and work. Good luck

  5. #5
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    Hi Chacha,

    Adding a specialty coffee retail bar to your business could be a great option. Would you lose a tenant or two by adding the coffee bar? If so it would be very important to run some financial projections to make sure that you can feasibly cover your expenses and it would be viable in your building.

    Since your question also addressed super automatic espresso machine, I thought I'd post some thoughts from a previous discussion here on this forum.

    I do think that there are applications where super-automatic machine would work well in i.e., car dealerships, schools, c-stores, salons, some restaurants, etc. but I feel that if coffee and espresso is your primary or even secondary business you'd be much better off going with a traditional machine, and investing the difference into training.

    A super automatic espresso machine is not as fast as a skilled barista on a conventional machine. While a super automatic may be able to produce one drink faster than a barista on a conventional machine, there is no contest when preparing multiple drinks. This slow down in preparation time could/would seriously effect your success in building a clientele base, especially at the drive thru window. This may be why we often see 2 or even 3 super automatic machines in many large chain locations.

    A conventional machine provides an element of "theater" within your coffee bar or even your drive-thru. People like to watch the sights an hear the sounds associated with drink preparation. They want to know that they are buying there espresso drinks from a skilled professional.

    Most important, many super automatics will only produce a mediocre quality beverage. Because of the mechanical complexity of the machine (which I might add can involve constant maintenance & repairs), the engineering will often not allow for a grind consistency fine enough to produce a top quality shot of espresso. If the coffee was ground fine enough to produce a quality shot, significant residues of coffee grounds would be left in the extraction chamber after the expended puck of used coffee was disposed of, thus causing a fouling of the mechanism, or requiring some type of rinsing cycle between shots. It is for this reason that super automatic machine almost always extract too fast, and often produce watery, more sour shots of espresso.

    I would want consumers to be able to differentiate the quality of your coffee as compared to the big chains. Using a super automatic will only drag down your coffee quality down to their level. I believe the best way to compete against them is to have better tasting drinks, at comparable price, served by friendly people.

    Also remember when buying your espresso equipment to always opt for a warranty and know who will be servicing your machine before buying it ... if your machine is down for 2 days and you lose 2 days of business, the initial cost of the equipment can be irrelative.


    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

    - Matt
    Bellissimo Coffee InfoGroup
    American Barista & Coffee School
    Expert Coffee Business Consulting, On-site or Espresso Lab Professional Barista Training!
    800.655.3955

  6. #6
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    Don't get a super auto, just train yourself and/or hire a barista. It's not just about the coffee, it's about the connection between a barista and the coffee that drives the success and enthusiasm behind the bar.
    Life: cloudy days, coffee shops, the smell and feel of summer rain,
    abstract, rhythm, human synchronicity,
    quiet times, unexpected smiles.....

  7. #7
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    I think I echo the sentiments everyone else has mentioned. I also agree with what Matt posted--it is about the experience, so try your best to make it special. A super auto could do the job, and could make it "easier" but you also have a lot less control over the super auto and what kind of drink it will produce for you. As with everything, there are pros and cons. Don't let the lure of what's the easiest way sway you from serving up a really special experience. I mean, if you do the research and decide its what's best for your business, then fine, its your business, but I think you could invest a little now (training, semi-auto machine) and turn it into something pretty wonderful. Good luck. And, btw, great idea! Go for it!
    AJPratt
    Pratt's Hill of Beans

    "Don't laugh at the coffee. Someday you may be old and weak, too."

  8. #8
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    Jeez Matt, you have a long memory! I read the post and remembered it vaguely from like 3 or 4 years ago! Anyway, what you said then has not changed and is still very valid today. I heard an industry rumor over my end of the world, taht after Starbucks spent zillions on fitting their stores out with Supers, they have now realised their error and are beginning to fit them all out again with tradditional machines. Not sure if thats true though.
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

  9. #9
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    They discontinued their latest machines, but the supers that were already there are the default machine.
    Life: cloudy days, coffee shops, the smell and feel of summer rain,
    abstract, rhythm, human synchronicity,
    quiet times, unexpected smiles.....

  10. #10
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    Interesting, so they will keep the Super Autos they have now? Actually you are probably in a great position to comment on the Superauto vs auto/traditional debate as I am guessing you have probably worked on all these meachines at Starbucks?
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

 

 
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