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Thread: Don't do themselves any favours

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Don't do themselves any favours

    Some Cafe's don't do themselves any favours.
    There's a cafe that used to have really high standards before the original owners sold it.
    The bean was good (not as good as Andy's - but OK.)
    Since the sale I notice a lot of very old roast bean on the shelves - think mid-October.
    I bought a small amount of the latest roast date to keep me going and on inspection it is a darker roast and slightly oily (all their bean is slightly oily).
    Now - Andy's bean comes to me through Aust. Post from Melbourne and it is always nice and dry when it gets here.
    What is wrong with these people? Don't they understand that any real aficionado doesn't want bean that is a month old?
    If they can't sell the stuff then tell the supplier to stop sending it. Seems simple to me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    If they can't sell the stuff then tell the supplier to stop sending it. Seems simple to me.
    Maybe they're contractually obligated to buy a certain amount of beans from the supplier, so they may not have a choice in the matter?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Probably why I'm not in business, because if a supplier tried to lock me into a contract that committed me to take a given amount of bean a month (or any perishable, the consumption of which might be expected to fluctuate,) I'd look for another supplier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Some Cafe's don't do themselves any favours.
    There's a cafe that used to have really high standards before the original owners sold it.
    The bean was good (not as good as Andy's - but OK.)
    Since the sale I notice a lot of very old roast bean on the shelves - think mid-October.
    I bought a small amount of the latest roast date to keep me going and on inspection it is a darker roast and slightly oily (all their bean is slightly oily).
    Now - Andy's bean comes to me through Aust. Post from Melbourne and it is always nice and dry when it gets here.
    What is wrong with these people? Don't they understand that any real aficionado doesn't want bean that is a month old?
    If they can't sell the stuff then tell the supplier to stop sending it. Seems simple to me.
    The problem with this line of thinking is that if a business caters to only the aficionado, where in most cases the aficionado is a small percentage of the business then the business will not be in business for long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lootee View Post
    The problem with this line of thinking is that if a business caters to only the aficionado, where in most cases the aficionado is a small percentage of the business then the business will not be in business for long.
    I'm not sure you're on the money... this is closer to selling groceries that are past their use by date.

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    Smart cafes sell the retail beans out of the exact same stock that they use for their coffee making. The turnover means that the beans they sell are fresh.

    There's a place near work that doesn't get this simple principle. They stick the bags of retail beans up on the shelf, don't rotate them and they are months old.
    Yelta and 338 like this.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    You've got it in one, Herzog. Too many varieties and all bagged and on the shelf.
    Their coffee across the counter used to be the best in town but they never seemed to manage their roasted bean stock well.
    Always seemed to have a lot of it in big bags behind the counter getting stale and oily.
    It's just a shame to lose the option to walk in off the street and buy a bag of fresh quality bean.
    If I were running the cafe, I would just have a big sign up saying "Ask us to bag your favourite fresh bean on the spot" and a list of varieties/quantities/prices.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Andy is on hols so I'm back trying to get fresh bean out of these guys.
    Ton of old bean (FN plus on the shelves) nice and oily.
    First advice from the new management was new bean coming in on Monday. Didn't arrive.
    Then it was Wednesday (we will text you)
    Next it was "Gee, could be Thursday but if not then won't be this week, might be next week."
    I just don't get it. If my supplier mucked me around like that I would get a new supplier. The bean is not THAT good.
    I would want to know what variety, how much and when, so I could keep my customers informed. This is 'bread and butter'.
    Had a coffee while I was there - indicated the ceramic cup I wanted to 'drink-in' and promptly got served as a take-away, wasting two paper cups which I immediately poured into a ceramic cup.
    They have had a chance - I am an ex-customer.

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    Are there many alternatives where you are?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Lots of cafes. All using their own bean. Nothing as good as Coffee Snobs and hard to know when some of it was roasted.
    I have been using the joint referred to for years as a local alternative but it has always been a production to get it fresh, and it has always been poorly stored and a bit oily. Also unreliable Re supply of particular varieties.
    The bagged/dated bean just sits on the shelf until it is sold. OK during business hours when the A/C is on but no good in this climate during the 12 hours when it is off.
    Most people who buy bean are obviously not discriminating up here in the sticks.
    I am going to have to start trying other cafes, one by one.

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    I don't think the supplier was stuffing them around, it is the classic "string the customer along".

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    It seems a bit like "stringing the customer along". I suppose there has to be a critical mass of coffee drinkers who care enough for these people to seek better suppliers/ take more care with what they order.

    we had a ripper specialty cafe in the Dandenongs. It only lasted one year. They had a fairly good following who believed in what they did, (turned me into a coffee snob single handedly!) In the end, it wasn't enough I guess. And since then coffee in the hills has had nothing particularly good at all. It seems we still don't want it.

    In a nearby town, I went into a bakery that had at least 50 kilo bags of beans. I'd say they had stocked up for a while. Buy in bulk and save.

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    The new philosophy of it is better to ask for forgiveness then permission is true with many Businesses of today, that may work with some people but not me. I support local, but honesty, integrity and services gets my money.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    The cafe involved has an interesting history. It started out as one of a handful of like-branded outlets for a remote roasting operation.
    The quality of the coffee in the cafe was outstanding and the knowledge and passion of the staff excellent.
    The bean was very good although never stored properly in the cafe, and always a bit oily regardless of roast date.
    Always a bit of a lottery getting a particular bean or one 'just roasted'. No real excuse for this IMHO.
    a few years ago the roastery divested themselves of their Cafes but continued to supply the bean.
    The local outfit was purchased by passionate new owners who re-branded and kept the standard up.
    A further change of ownership has just occurred and I notice a drop in all the critical scales.
    I was being kind by suggesting it was a supplier issue. Ultimately as I inferred previously, the management must take responsibility for all the standards.
    If your supply chain doesn't work then you need to fix that, and avoid a loss of customer confidence.
    It is a shame when you have something that is as good as anything nationally, and then the quality drops.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    We have a cafe in the main street of our town, established about 10 years ago, the original owners made excellent espresso, served very good food and the people serving went out of their way to be pleasant, the cafe was always packed, a few years back they sold out, the new owners changed the name, had no concept of good coffee and the food degraded in a similar manner, the place went from a thriving business to a ghost cafe within months.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Yelta, a frequent problem is that people "buy a business" without any qualification in that field except the ability to get a bank loan and the desire to make a buck.
    I see this all the time locally where business owners from diverse fields confuse their love of a cup of coffee with actually knowing anything about the Cafe/coffee trade.
    Often they take over an outlet, the experienced older staff disappear to be replaced by inexperienced teenagers and the quality of the coffee drops overnight. Next thing the business is struggling and they are blaming the economy, competition, costs etc.
    You can't help them because they won't listen to advice. They ran a successful Pet Shop therefore they can run anything successfully.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Yelta, a frequent problem is that people "buy a business" without any qualification in that field except the ability to get a bank loan and the desire to make a buck.
    I see this all the time locally where business owners from diverse fields confuse their love of a cup of coffee with actually knowing anything about the Cafe/coffee trade.
    Often they take over an outlet, the experienced older staff disappear to be replaced by inexperienced teenagers and the quality of the coffee drops overnight. Next thing the business is struggling and they are blaming the economy, competition, costs etc.
    You can't help them because they won't listen to advice. They ran a successful Pet Shop therefore they can run anything successfully.
    Very true Rocky, seems to more prevalent in regional area's.

    We have 13 places in the main street of Moonta claim to serve espresso, none of em can pull a shot worth a damn.

    Tried the newest a couple of days back (been open a month) the owner admitted to me mine was the second request he had for a double shot in the month he had been open, Moonta is a very staid town, British heritage, most here still drink tea, in fact the person I just mentioned told me most of his business is making tea.

    As you say they are not interested in advice, in fact the exact opposite, I also suspect many of them are locked into machine/coffee bean type contracts, pretty much anathema to good coffee.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Yeah, I wondered about the 'supply contract' and whether some places have signed contracts that oblige them to take a certain quantity of bean each month. It is the only explanation (other than stupidity) for lots of unsold stale bean on the shelves. Like any perishable commodity, you need to be constantly rotating stock.
    At one stage the work Social Club allowed Lavazza Blue to put a Capsule machine in the lunchroom. There was no rental on the machine but we had to take a certain number of capsules a month. Couldn't sell that many and eventually told them to take it out.
    shortblackman likes this.

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    It is usually the cheap bean suppliers that lock in those contracts that include machines.
    Mose coming through now at stupid price points. It’s not sustainable from a Roaster point of view unless you buy cheap beans

  20. #20
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Yeah Ronin, I must admit I have been wondering about the quality of the bean in more recent times. It used to be pretty good - not Coffee Snobs good - but better than average.
    Now it just doesn't seem to be as good as it was - even the coffee over the counter.
    I've just bought some fresh Costa Rican, which used to be my favourite bean from them. We'll see how it goes. If it doesn't pass muster it can go through the Dripolator for non-discriminating guests.
    I wouldn't have thought this Cafe would be involved in those bean/machine contracts - but who knows.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    I wouldn't have thought this Cafe would be involved in those bean/machine contracts - but who knows.
    The quest for the dollar can motivate people to make surprisingly poor decisions Rocky.

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    Or to keep the cafes head above water. So much competition & if coffee isn’t a priority for then, cheaper deals can be done.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Agreed - the point at which a business changes hands is usually a critical moment for the business.
    Depends on the strategy that the new owners want to follow.
    Do they want to maintain a focus on quality or do they want to squeeze a bit more profit out.
    Will squeezing a bit more profit out drop the quality, chase the quality customers away, and subsequently reduce the profit?
    It's a decision they can make.
    One thing I can tell you is that there are lots of average cafes around and very few really top notch ones. I would not be choosing to compete at the bottom of the market.
    (the ones I see go bust quickly are all at the bottom end)

  24. #24
    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    In the industry there seems to be an inverse relationship between cafes asking for more "freebies" (machines, umbrellas, cups etc) and their business success. The more they ask for you know the less time they are going to stay in business.


    Thank fully for everyone, the days of "on loan" machines are reducing, with most roasters really pulling back on who and what machines they give to customers (if any)

    As someone in the industry its a crazy business model for the supplier

    Cheers

    Antony
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    chokkidog likes this.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    I roast for a few cafes locally. Itís a constant battle/discussion with them to convince them that raising their prices doesnít = higher profit. Increasing quality and selling more coffees does! Your totally correct With the freebies Anthony. The cafes who have chosen the roaster who provides sugar, umbrellas, machines etc at a higher kg cost than me arenít doing as well as the ones who work harder to provide quality coffee. I have to admit...... They do look fancy when they first open though!
    chokkidog likes this.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casa Espresso View Post
    In the industry there seems to be an inverse relationship between cafes asking for more "freebies" (machines, umbrellas, cups etc) and their business success. The more they ask for you know the less time they are going to stay in business.


    Thank fully for everyone, the days of "on loan" machines are reducing, with most roasters really pulling back on who and what machines they give to customers (if any)

    As someone in the industry its a crazy business model for the supplier

    Cheers

    Antony
    www.casaespresso.com.au
    Arn't the biggest majority of machines rented or leased? Very few cafes and restaurants own their machines.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I had coffee in a sizeable (and obviously popular) local cafe yesterday. Not been in for years.
    When the coffee came, I asked the waiter whether they normally do one or two shots in a Long Black in a small - 160ml - cup (I normally ask when I order as believe it or not, some do only one shot)
    He said he would check with the Barista, which he did and said "two". I then asked what Brand of bean they used. He again said he'd ask, and came back with a nondescript No-name brown bag that did have "Jacobs Douwe Egberts" in tiny print on the bottom. I thanked him for all his trouble and when he collected the cups he asked how the coffee was.
    I said I thought it was well made but that the bean was 'ordinary'. He suggested "A bit bitter" and I agreed, and added "Lacking body". He said "Thank you, I thought you would give me an honest opinion".
    This was a big popular cafe and I doubt there are too many 'Coffee Snobs' among their clientele. An example of a cafe clearly aiming at the 'average punter' with no desire to stick it's head up above the crowd.
    Now that's OK of course, every business gets to choose its niche. I looked around as I sat there and almost every other customer had a mug with a milk-based coffee in it.
    I did wonder however, how much more per-cup they would need to charge to be able to use a better bean. (coffees were $3.90 ea)

  28. #28
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Well, this morning a mate and I went for a coffee in an upmarket cafe that uses a brand of bean that I like.
    The coffee was good, not as good as it has been, but good enough.
    I was interested to find that my Long Black came in a glass. Never had that before. I thought it was an interesting choice on the part of the Barista as I had just shown her the cup I wanted.
    Chatting to her later she mentioned that she "didn't drink coffee". Not the first time I have run across this. Several young women on my TAFE Barista course said the same.
    I am beginning to realise that the "Barista" role in local cafes is dominated by young women doing University study who once would have been waitresses but in the booming coffee age, are now "Baristas".

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