Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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be a huge undertaking. Menu and recipe development, equipment pur- chases, execution, consistency, and continued innovation are all key in achieving overall success in bakery and food options. As with any business venture, it's important to start with the de- velopment of a general tactical plan that sets goals, delivery dates, and targets; measures your progress; and helps communicate and clarify. What percentage of your daily sales will need to be in food in order to make back your investments? What are the labor, ingredi- ents, training, signage, and even fixtures and display costs that will be involved in the addition of a food program? How can you know what to charge your customers so that your profits are enough to sustain production? If these seem like big questions—good! They are big questions, and they're only the beginning. Taking the time to assess the goals and growth potential of any business is not a small undertaking, and neither is successfully branching out into a different retail market, as complementary to coffee as good food can be. By breaking down the analysis into a few distinct categories, you as a business owner can start to organize your thoughts, strategize, and finally implement your plans for this delicious development. FOOD AND COFFEE: SEPARATE BUT EQUAL Decide who will take the lead on your product programs by recog- nizing and drawing upon your previous experiences. Do you have years of coffee-brewing experience but know nothing about bak- ing, while a business partner is all about muffins instead of mac- chiatos? Rather than being divisive, having dedicated program leaders can actually unite the café and its menu, allowing room for collaboration instead of competition. The family affair at Baratavelle Coffee + Wine Bar in Berkeley, Calif., speaks volumes to knowing where your strengths are: Moth- er-owner-chef Suzanne Drexhage manages the spot's stellar food program, while her son and veteran barista Sam Sobolewski mans the coffee bar. "When my mother and I decided to open a café togeth- er, it was pretty obvious to us that food and coffee would be treated as equals," Sam says. "She has spent most of her adult life working in restaurants and in the wine business, and I have been working in coffee for 10 years. We each have our focus, and in some ways the café feels like two businesses that share a dishwasher and an address." Sam recommends not biting off more than you can chew if you're also sipping more than you can swallow: "In our experience, that's the key to excelling at both things, treating them as separate but equal. If you've got baristas wandering away in the middle of pull- ing a shot to throw a bagel in the toaster, something's gotta give." Recognizing and honoring staff members' gifts and interests—let- ting the baristas make the coffee and the cooks plate the food, for instance—can really allow a team to work together and support each other more fluidly, which is a bonus for everyone. WHAT'S COOKIN'? Deciding what types of food to offer obviously goes a long way in establishing how much the program will cost, and what sorts of re- sources and training you'll need, and it also set a tone for the business as a whole. Do you want a small, selective menu of specialized food items, or something more expansive and food-full? Stamford, Conn.'s PHOTO BY SHANNY SENA, REVERENCE COFFEE, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 74 barista magazine B o o k 5 5 - 8 8 . i n d d 7 4 Book 55-88.indd 74 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 1 0 : 0 9 P M 3/19/14 10:09 PM

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