Cafe Design and Architecture - DNA for The Specialty Coffee and Tea Industry

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Coffee Shop Displays

October 28th, 2013 05:19:34 pm


Keeping your regulars comfortable is important, but savvy coffee shop owners know that bringing in new customers is crucial to helping any business thrive. Visually interesting displays can accomplish both goals as well as helping to increase sales on new items and on those you are trying to move more quickly.

The key to a successful display is to keep the sales aspect subtle. Offer rather than push, and play to as many senses, including the emotions that you can.

Edibles should be displayed as enticingly as possible while keeping kitchen hygiene in mind. Artful pyramids of boxed or tinned cookies and well-wrapped candies placed among mugs encourage impulse buying. Make foods part of the design; for example, place votive candles in coffee cups and fill the spaces around them with coffee beans. Tie cinnamon sticks around the outside of white pillar candles with raffia in your store colors and place them among your display. You don`t have to light them to get the full effect.

Bargain bins attract customers if they are whimsical and well-organized. It`s also important to make the bargain items look fresh and not picked-over. A bin divided into many tiny compartments, all of them full, will attract more positive attention than one big, half-empty bin full of assorted items in no particular order. Make clear and clever signs for each little compartment, using puns and silly illustrations.

Local art encourages conversation, as well as bringing in the friends, family and followers of the artists. Consider creating a place of honor for a piece of art and change it out every month. Find out about the artist`s preferences among your products and set up a small table beneath the featured art with their favorite coffee flavors as well as packaged treats. You could even have copies of their favorite books and music and offer those. The artist will appreciate the exposure, and your customers will appreciate the chance to get to know the locals before they hit it big.

Highlight local events as a way to move merchandise. Nearly every city has a marathon, a fun run or other charity athletic event. Put out flyers, photographs of past events and offer things like reusable water bottles, chocolate-covered coffee beans and any other high-energy snacks you carry. This fosters a sense of community that will bring new customers coming back.

Create a display for the next big blockbuster movie coming out. Name a coffee grind after it, and stock the display table with everything you sell that a fan might appreciate when lining up for tickets.

Seasonal changes help to not only keep your decor fresh, but fostering a holiday spirit makes people comfortable and encourages a feeling of camaraderie. You don`t have to redecorate the entire coffee shop every month, because small changes can have a big impact. Set out bags of September`s featured coffee flavors among vintage schoolbooks, a logo mug full of colorful or interesting pencils, ruler, compass, big pink erasers, old-fashioned calculator and a bright red faux apple. Write a description of the coffee on a small chalkboard. Scatter some brilliantly-colored paper leaves and you`ve summed up the start of a new school year while highlighting the product you`re focused on that month.

Don`t put out Christmas displays until after Thanksgiving and your coffee shop will be a comforting oasis in the midst of the holiday marketing madness that seems to start earlier every year.

The coffee lovers at Cafe Design know that no matter how attractive your coffee shop is, you`ll get nowhere if your product doesn`t live up to your atmosphere. Great coffee starts with great equipment, so visit the friendly and knowledgeable professionals at CS Catering Equipment for all of your coffee shop equipment needs.


Coffee Society

January 24th, 2013 10:44:19 am


Coffee has a long history in the United States. In 1773, the Tea Act gave one company, the East India Company, the monopoly on sales of tea. With limited availability and rising prices, tea quickly fell out of favor and gave rise to the popularity of another hot drink, which was coffee. Prior to the lock on tea prices, coffee was mainly used for health purposes, as it was costly to consume on an everyday basis.

In 1793, the first roaster opened in New York, on Pearl Street. Beans were sold to local hotels and port shops, with coffee businesses popping up along ports on the East River. A lot of the early coffee was low quality. Without communication and a reliable delivery system, many businesses ended up with coffee beans that had been traveling by sea for months. The beans would take on musty smells and other unpleasant qualities from the dank ships, affecting the taste of the coffee.

The coffee industry grew in Manhattan until 1881, when the "coffee crash" hit. Attempts were made to corner the coffee market that year, causing a jump in prices that forced most businesses to close. Trade pricing regulation was introduced afterward and the market began to rebuild.

In 1882, the Coffee Exchange of New York began to regulate the coffee industry. Measures were introduced to improve quality and trade. Coffee began to taste better due to advancements in technology and other areas that affected coffee prices and quality, such as the introduction of paper packages. The drink became more affordable for those interested in everyday consumption. The industry would remain this way in the United States for decades, until after World War II.

Lower quality beans, known as Robusta beans, began to infiltrate the market in the middle of the twentieth century. Businesses looking to cut costs used the beans and began marketing coffee as a beverage that served a purpose rather than something to enjoy.

In the 1950s, the Pan American Coffee Bureau sought to change the image of coffee as a functional drink only in the United States and to encourage production of coffee from Central America. The bureau ran "coffee break" ads to grow customer demand for better tasting coffee. Starbucks would open in Seattle in 1971, transforming the way Americans viewed coffee forever.

Today, coffee is a ten billion-dollar industry in the United States. Despite the economic recession, the coffee industry remains stable.

The coffee industry is projected to grow at a rate of five percent a year over the next decade. Consumption is at all-time highs and it`s expected that raw coffee bean costs will decline over the next five years, aiding industry growth. Recent health research has linked more benefits to coffee consumption than people had previously believed and it`s expected this research will have a positive impact on the market.

Equipment advancements have also played a part in the expansion of the coffee industry in the United States. Coffee equipment, such as machines provided by CS Catering U.K. , are crucial to providing a quality beverage.


Specialty Coffee Design & Construction

November 8th, 2011 10:12:35 am


Recently, I had been asked by Specialty Coffee Retailer Magazine to provide some insight on coffee shop design and construction.  Their primary reason for asking me I feel was to create a “Do-it-yourself” guide for the retailer on design and construction of coffee houses.  They asked me for a rule of thumb on constriction costs etc…There really is no rule-of-thumb for the amount of money you can spend on the design & construction of your shop.  Specialty coffee houses can be beautiful with a minimalist design or sport lavish décor. The key is to identify your front-of-house concept considering demographics, style, location and your budget.  You might also visit other restaurants and cafés and see what works, what doesn’t work and develop or add to your personal ideas & style.

For service line ergonomic layout, some owners will do minimal coffee bars with espresso & drip or pour-over coffee; others go as far as adding beer and wine to the menu. It should be obvious, (but for first timers it usually is not), that the more you increase your menu offerings, the more expensive the equipment, infrastructure, design & construction budget will have to be. So in order to keep a lower budget, get your menu refined and then start planning.

Don’t trade experienced ergonomic design for a layout done by a part-time consultant or a local equipment dealer to cut costs!  This superficial savings will cost you money down the road when you realize that your baristas lack of functionality is due to improper ergonomics, and also results in longer wait times for customers. Another consideration for economizing your design when purchasing equipment, you can most likely find like-new, (but used) equipment for a fraction of the cost of a new piece.

Speaking of functionality and ergonomics, every location has its ups and down of flow, exposure, storefront, traffic, etc.  So while planning your shop, always consult a professional.  A good professional will help you with site selection, location orientation, approach, signage and general visibility issues.

Louis Sullivan, a well-known architect from the Modernist Movement, said, “Form follows function”.  This is especially true when you have a few dozen pieces of under-counter, and counter top equipment to plan for ergonomically.  You don’t want to create overlaps in worker circulation behind your service line, nor do you want equipment to be obstructive to the patron’s experience.

In our experience aesthetically, you want to maximize your front of house exposure with good lighting and a non-cluttered setting. Good flow that is obvious is always helpful.  Don’t mix styles of casual furniture; this may have been fine in the old coffee shop days like “Congo Square” inSanta Monica, when eclectic was not a bad word. Today’s specialty coffee bar requires more sophistication aesthetically.  If you insist on going at it alone, you can always get good ideas from what’s around you.  But in order to not make the same mistakes they made, do more research and call for a consultation from a professional designer (not to be confused with a decorator).


Welcome to Cafe Design & Architecture!

September 14th, 2011 07:42:56 am


How can we help you today?

 

Cafe Design & Architecture is the only interior design and architecture firm that specializes in Coffee Shop Design and Retail Fast Casual restaurants.  We are proud to provide exceptional personal service to first time coffee shop and cafe proprietors as well as seasoned operators.  Coffee, Espresso, Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream, Gelato, and micro roasting facilities are our passion.  Everything you need we can provide directly or by referral within our close knit community of consultants & suppliers.  From logo design and barista supplies to design consultation services and permit / health department contract documents and construction, at Cafe Design & Architecture, we want to make your project a success!



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