Between sourcing local, quality produce and artisan products to give your café an edge, crunching the numbers to ensure your wage and food costs are proportionate to your revenue, and the long, tiring hours, running a café is hard work.
Once you feel like you're not frantically treading water and your business has reached what's known as the 'stabilisation' phase, it's important to always be on the lookout for ways to improve and evolve your business and help it grow.
According to Café Culture's Café Pulse report, coffee is now the number one consumed beverage out of home – even surpassing water! Australians, on a whole, are consuming 4.2 BILLION cups of coffee a year – and this figure is growing.
However, with this knowledge comes great opportunity – as well as a terrifying challenge. Coffee is now much more than just a café offering. In fact, cafes only represent 47% of the total out of home coffee consumed.
Many hospitality professionals cite quality and consistency as key tenets of a great offering. So how can you improve efficiency in your business without compromising the quality and consistency of your product? How can you compete?
We spoke to founder and owner of Blackboard Coffee Nick Pearce (pictured), who used Silver Chef to integrate automatic coffee equipment into his café. Originally opening its doors in Varsity Lakes to create the best possible coffee experience on the Gold Coast, Blackboard Coffee has been wholesaling to 20 different cafés since December 2015 and opened a new roasting space in Burleigh Heads including a barista training academy.
Nick said by implementing automated coffee processes into his café, it has completely streamlined their day-to-day processes and helped them maintain their quality of output.
Wait, automatic coffee? Won't that turn people away?
Not at all. Having automated coffee processes doesn't mean that the whole process is completely hands-off.
We still have educated baristas involved in the process who need to froth the milk perfectly and have the intuition that the coffee is still pouring right.
We always look for tools that will help efficiency and keep our coffee consistent. Our goal at Blackboard Coffee is to have our customers leaving happier than when they walked in.
At the Varsity Lakes store, we turn around 500 to 1,000 coffees a day (and 28,000 across the 20 stores who stock our beans), so it's extremely important to us that the quality and consistency stays the same.
So what kind of equipment does Blackboard Coffee have?Espresso Machine with automatic volumesMoccamaster for automatic filteringPuqpress for automatic tampering
What are the benefits of having automatic coffee processes?
The reality is that consistency will vary between baristas. By having automatic coffee processes integrated into our daily café operation, it has added consistency and quality in an extremely positive way for Blackboard coffee.
It gives our staff more time to engage with our customers, to chat about their day and share our knowledge of coffee. Our customers are also not waiting as long for their coffee.
How can I integrate automatic coffee processes into my café?
We did start off with a full manual coffee process. The equation to making the perfect coffee for me is that half of it is to do with your equipment and knowledge; the other half is the process and the quality of ingredients.
If you had to choose one process to begin with, the automatic tampering with the Puqpress is one of the most important tools you can use in the automatic coffee process to ensure perfect extraction.