Semi Automatic, Automatic or Super automatic

AJPRATT

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Mar 7, 2007
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Atlantic City, NJ
I have read information/cut sheets on these espresso machines, but I was wondering what the end users think of these and what your feedback is? Which one or combo is best?
 

cafemakers

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The ideal machine or combination of machines will vary for each business model and location. What is yours?
 
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AJPRATT

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Atlantic City, NJ
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We have not opened yet. We will be situated on a very busy county road (30-40,000 travelers/day). While I don't expect at 40,000 to pour in to my store, I do anticipate a busy early morning rush. Since we don't have anything like this in the area, my employees won't really have any experience so I'm trying to think of quality drinks at a fast pace, poured by people who are new to the field. I hope I am not being a pain, just trying to get some educated advice. Thanks!
 

cafemakers

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You can choose any of the three (semi, auto, super) or some kind of hybrid solution for your business; but will need to adjust your business model accordingly.

I wrote an article about this a few years ago, here: Should You Choose a Superautomatic Espresso Machine that has some insight on points to consider.

Since that time, you've also probably read the Starbucks memo where Howard Schultz seems to show regret about (among other things) switching to superautomatics in a sit down coffee shop environment.

It's not an easy decision to make; there are many other factors that we investigate when helping companies to make these sorts of decisions -- I'm afraid that the process is too lengthy to discuss in a message. I hope that you find the information in the links above helpful.

Best,

Andrew
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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Seattle,Washington USA
Hey AJPRATT:

First off when are you opening your location? If you are still in the research phase it might do you good to visit a number of locations first and see what types of machines they use. Then observe how the operators use these machines. I have been contacted many times in the past by those that are a long way from opening and want to choose machines before they know exactly what they need. The type of location usually dictates the type of machine you will need, i.e., drive thru locations generally do better with traditional machines either auto or semi auto machines and not super automatic. Somethimes most owners will not allow their employees to make adjustments on super automatic machines, and there are alot more adjustments to make on these machines. If not properly trained, this can spell disater especially during a morning rush. Whereas, traditional machines are much easier to deal with.

I would concentrate first on securing all of the other details first like your location, lease, permits, etc. Then after those are already set, then come back to the machine issue. That usually takes the shortest amount of time to complete.
 
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AJPRATT

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Atlantic City, NJ
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Thanks for all of your input... We have a location. I am working on my start up costs and proforma in order to secure funding for it. Depending on which machine I choose affects the costs of start up.

I was also curious about people's preference.
 

rikin_in

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Apr 2, 2007
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Just a quick question between this discussion i have been told that the super automatic machines have less maintanance cost then the semi-automatics is that true????
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
No. Supers are more sophisticated then a semi or auto machine. Plus there are more moving parts that will wear out over time.

If employee turnover is a problem then it is cheaper to train new employee's on a super then a traditional machine.
 
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AJPRATT

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Atlantic City, NJ
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CoffeeGuy: I should have mentioned that our location will have a drive thru. Its a pad site in a newly constructed shopping center. It will probably be done by first quarter next year so you are absolutely right, I do have plenty of time to select equipment.

All I want to do is play with all of the fancy machines! I think I may steer away from the supers and stick with something I am more familiar with.
 
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