Advice Needed

chacha

New member
Sep 13, 2007
1
0
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!
 

NicoleCoffee

New member
Oct 29, 2007
1
0
Massachusetts
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!!
 

KnappCap

New member
Oct 28, 2007
15
0
Chicago, IL
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.
 

Ooh La Latte

New member
Nov 2, 2007
2
0
Lake Conroe Tx
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
 

BaristaTrainer

New member
Oct 18, 2004
192
0
Portland, OR
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
 

3ternal

New member
Mar 22, 2007
126
0
Seattle, WA
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.
 

AJPRATT

New member
Mar 7, 2007
382
0
Atlantic City, NJ
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!
 
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.
 

3ternal

New member
Mar 22, 2007
126
0
Seattle, WA
Yep, I did. I've used all but a manual press down machine. Tried the laMorzzaco's too, not at sbux though.

The super's are good machine's for a consistant drink. You can adjust shot timing which is really cool, and it always steams to the right temperature. I've done plenty of latte art using the super's, they take longer to get used to than traditional since crema isn't as thick in the shots, but it's still possible to get a velvety smooth cappacinno, or a rosetta latte. Problem is; other than me, I have yet to find another barista who can do the same.

At the same time though, there are different types of supers. The latest machines sbux discontinued foamed in addition to steamed I think, but the ones that are used the most just tamp the shot and keep steaming until the temp is right, so it still requires a skilled barista. Keep in mind that most sbux's use kind of a... semi-super lol. It doesn't do all the work, just most of the dirty work.

So in my opinion, a super is a great machine for the beginner to intermediate, but if you want to become a skilled barista and delve further into espresso, you need a traditional.
 

MrBeans

New member
Dec 13, 2007
10
0
NO NO NO

Super Auto is the best way to go.

You will hire a barista $12/hr or way less

If it is a $12/hr then Ok traditional, now you can gaurantee, that two weeks later he or she does not need to look for a better paying job.

If of course not $12/hr then go Super Auto, so you don''t have to train a new person every once in a while.

PS: Traditional machine cost approx $7500.00 plus two grinders for another $2000.00 =$9500.00

You can get a clean used super auto for less than $7000.00

contact me if you need more details.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
0
Des Moines, Iowa
MrBeans said:
NO NO NO

Super Auto is the best way to go.

You will hire a barista $12/hr or way less

If it is a $12/hr then Ok traditional, now you can gaurantee, that two weeks later he or she does not need to look for a better paying job.

If of course not $12/hr then go Super Auto, so you don''t have to train a new person every once in a while.

PS: Traditional machine cost approx $7500.00 plus two grinders for another $2000.00 =$9500.00

You can get a clean used super auto for less than $7000.00

contact me if you need more details.

Gibberish, $12/hr? What state do you live in? You show me a good super auto for less then $7000 thats used and doesn't need some kind of work.

I've repaired enough super autos to know that if your going to buy one used you better damn well find out its usage and PM history or you better know the previous owners real well! Otherwise that $7000 super auto is going to make one hell of a boat anchor!

There is a lot more that can wrong with a super auto then a traditional. I tell all of my clients that if it isn't refurbished by a factory trained specialist for that particular line then your putting business in another persons hands.
 

RowanTuckfield

New member
May 27, 2007
4
0
Brooklyn
Keep It Simple

I am a surprised that anyone would suggest spending $7k on a machine for a "side enterprise" ie an espresso bar out the back, when a. a properly trained Barista can get better coffee from a $2,000 - $4,000 machine and b. there are an increasing number of professional barista schools springing up along with more and more wholesalers offering decent on site training. On one side you have quality, theatre, low capital expenditure and robust, tried and tested, reliable technology. On the other, a technology that actively excludes professional input, high capex, complicated/new technology and a "push button experience" for customers and staff. I love gadgets as much as the next guy but we're talking espresso here....not copier machines...
 
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