Sugar Foods Newsletter – Winter 2015
The Rise of Specialty Coffee
America loves coffee.
It’s everywhere. From the thousands of Starbucks and McDonald’s, to Dunkin’ Donuts and Denny’s right down to the local coffee shop, the drive-through coffee hut and food truck. You can even find the finest blends in airports, grocery stores and college campuses.
We go to these places to hang out, meet for business and to spend hours at our laptop doing homework or chatting on Facebook; all the while, sipping our favorite brew.
Coffee used to be black with some cream and sugar, please. Now there are hundreds of ways to drink it, so you can have it your way: I’ll take a non-fat, soy milk cappuccino with a double shot.
The same goes for sweeteners. If you are a foodservice operator, you should be offering the rainbow of yellow, pink, blue, green and brown sweeteners, in addition to the traditional white sugar packs. Your customers will recognize them by their color, so all you need is a small caddie of packs on the table.
Coffee consumption jumped by five percent last year and now 83 percent of the adult population drinks coffee. According to a report from the National Coffee Association, 63 percent of American adults drink coffee daily and 75 percent drink it weekly. That’s a lot of coffee beans; and a lot of sweeteners too.
Making coffee an integral part of your menu is a no-brainer and can lead to increased business when done right. And at an estimated cost of about 15 percent of the selling price, coffee can be extremely profitable.
A great restaurateur once said, “It pays to have great coffee on the menu because coffee is usually the last thing your customers taste before leaving. And you want them to remember that taste.”
Today’s customers expect to be able to order cappuccinos and espressos at their upscale coffee shop, but even the most basic restaurant can serve top quality coffee. With new equipment and blends, it is easier than ever to offer a creative coffee menu to give consumers another reason – besides terrific food – to stop by and stay at your restaurant.
Coffee-makers go well beyond the old drip style and can vary from fancy Italian-made espresso machines to single-serve brewers. How extensive and expensive you want to go with the equipment will also determine how much training your staff must go through.
Like any portion-controlled item, going with a single-cup coffeemaker means you don’t have to make an entire pot at a time and you can stylize the coffee flavor to the customer. So you get the freshest cup with the least amount of waste.
Your coffee business will thrive based on your coffee menu. There is a trend to lighter blends today, but that only means you can offer a wider spectrum of flavors while tapping into the latest thing. You can promote a new blend as you would any new menu item.
You can expand your menu even more through a variety of creative concoctions. Iced coffee, coffee flavored with various syrups, frappés and frozen coffee drinks can become part of your dessert menu. Some operators even pair coffee with various menu items, as they do with wine.
So, when thinking of ways to enhance your menu and grow your business, think about coffee as the next great addition.
That aroma you smell is not just today’s fresh coffee; it is the smell of success.