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  • 2 group commercial machine

    Hi people,

    I have a friend who is opening a patisserie / cafe soon and is looking to put a 2 group machine in. I'm trying to convince him to go a La Marzocco Linea, however I think the price point is a little above his budget currently. I'm not particularly educated in the way of commerical machines, can anyone offer advice on a good mid level and value for money machine that may be an alternative? I dont forsee the cafe to be too high volume to begin, but could build to 20-30kg a week without too much drama.

    Any help would be great

    Chris

  • #2
    He should keep in mind that even the La Marzocco brand (and Nuova Simonelli, Synesso, Slayer, et al brands) of machine, whether we like it or not, can bring in business on preconceived expectations alone, where a Wega on the bench could imply poor coffee or drive away business. I must confess to making some decisions that way, (along with evidence of cleanliness, care of the barista, the sound of milk steaming etc. but it's part of the puzzle). Of course - we know this isn't true of every cafe - and yet the impression of "I'm willing to spend on a machine" speaks to both some customers and future barista employees alike about investing in their product. Then the role of fulfilling that 'promise' is up to the cafe itself - many of whom destroy the illusion immediately! Fancy machine trashy coffee, while the Wega next door is cranking out delicious lattes. Of course if the coffee machine isn't given a prominent location or drinks aren't seen as a central product of the business, then that's a wasteful suggestion for impressions alone. But I'd suggest it makes more of a difference than we'd be willing to admit...
    Ultimately, he'd be best to speak to his roastery about their suggestions, the local technicians they trust (or if they can fulfil that themselves then...), and so the machines most readily maintainable and recommended within the relationships he's cultivated (or will ultimately need to cultivate). There's more to having a piece of equipment in the shop than its cost up front.

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    • #3
      Expobar have a good range of two group machines, and the Rocket and ECM two groups have enough style in them to pique interest too.

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      • #4
        A friend of mine recently opened a restaurant and picked up all kitchen equipment (ovens, fridges, dough machines, benches etc) and....a 3 group (can't remember brand) all from auctions.

        Whilst he's known for excellent food his machine puts out a very reasonable brew, he just needs a proper job barista.

        Point is there may be a used gem out there that may even be a reco.

        Opening a cafe is not cheap and the key is to keep all costs on hardware outlay as low as possible and then as the business gains momentum start the upgrade process.

        Just need to keep emotion at bay particularly at start up (if that's an issue).

        If money is not an issue the of course go in hard on the newest and best!

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        • #5
          I agree Al, if I walk into a cafe and see a nice La Marzocco machine and good grinder, I know im off to a good start and the chance of a good brew is high. If it was me, getting something like a LM is a must if opening a cafe, as good coffee is a cornerstone of your business.

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          • #6
            If he can get a second hand one through a repairer with a warranty, he's laughing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by readeral View Post
              He should keep in mind that even the La Marzocco brand (and Nuova Simonelli, Synesso, Slayer, et al brands) of machine, whether we like it or not, can bring in business on preconceived expectations alone
              Honestly Readeral, just what percentage of everyday punters give a toss about what machine is on the bench, let alone know the differences between them? If it's shiny or looks new, all's cool. Most people still drink instant at home and just aren't into what we are. There is generally a mental checklist of criteria when Jane and John Doe walk into a cafe for the first time, guaranteed that the make of coffee machine, let alone grinder, is not even on the radar. It is a mistake for a new entry into the cafe/coffee business, who has no history, to assume that the public is savvy about hardware and that they (cafe owner) need to give into internet fashion pressure which might be >80% loud but only result in <20% of business.

              Originally posted by snedden9485 View Post
              I agree Al, if I walk into a cafe and see a nice La Marzocco machine and good grinder, I know im off to a good start and the chance of a good brew is high. If it was me, getting something like a LM is a must if opening a cafe, as good coffee is a cornerstone of your business.
              I did just that last week in Melbourne CBD.....LM GB5; check, Mazzer; check.

              Sit down and order tea 'cos the coffee on offer was Lavazza!!!! What got me and my daughter in the door was a combination of available time, proximity to the car park and this café had the best ambience/feel of the three to choose from.

              Cakes were superb, cooked on premises.

              Would I go back? You bet, just not for coffee!!

              The cornerstone of any business that deals with people is PUBLIC RELATIONS.

              PR involves more than just someone's conversation skills and includes the whole package re how they make people feel.

              Good coffee is integral but there is a whole lot more to it than that alone.

              There are plenty of mid range/price machines to choose from without having to go to the basement. Readeral has listed some solid choices.

              You should also direct your friend to a café equipment finance company such as Silverchef. They can give you a cash flow based leg up and are worth checking out.

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              • #8
                Yes...True enough...

                Most of those who get sucked in to bragging rights use their machines in default mode or choose one and stick to it. Many of us forget that most of the punters just want a lartay .

                Multiboiler machines and temp changes to suit origins? Day 1 job.

                Buy a Strada EP and tune pressure profile to the nuances of the origins you are running? Yeah, sure thing.

                Bottom line is cafes are supposed to be profit making enterprises and beyond a certain standard, it's social networking and hype. If a cafe has the time and resources to allow their barista 10kg to experiment with to work out what the best temperature profile/pressure profile might be for that day, or in fact anything much more than the basics for a very good coffee, they will have plenty of time as they're on a freeway to insolvency.

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                • #9
                  I didn't expect what I said to be popular - but given we live in a world that has such high esteem for brand recognition, it wouldn't go amiss to include that in your calculations of what holds worth and what doesn't. Not saying it's a no-brainer. I'm saying it's part of the cost-benefit analysis of starting a business that does coffee, working out what clientele you're trying to attract, and if you're serious about specialty coffee, what number of checkboxes you want to tick.

                  Maybe I just have a small town mentality - but you can bet it makes a difference in small markets like Hobart. Little cafe opening up in Sandy Bay across from an established joint, using a single group linea, getting all the punters from across the road because 1. they're new, 2. they have the kind of equipment people are used to seeing up in town. In the heart of Sydney, it'd be a waste of money if you're already questioning if you can even break into the scene, given everyone walking the streets would be happy to buy the cheapest cappuccino available.

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                  • #10
                    Every cafe owner I speak to tells me the barista can make or break them. (Not the only thing of course, but they say it's really important)

                    So can you attract a good barista to your cafe with a wega? If you're the only cafe in town then it probably doesn't matter, but if you're competing for staff with the cafe up the road, and they're paying the same, for the same hours, but they've got a Linea or Strada then maybe it's important?

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                    • #11
                      Trouble is this scenario is being looked at from a snob (small s) point of view.

                      Yes a good barista who is conscientious about their job is important but not all of the good or

                      upcoming baristas can or will get a job 'up the road where the Linea/Strada/Slayer/Spirit is'.

                      Nor would I be rushing to hire someone so insecure that they needed a $20k+

                      machine for motivation and justification.

                      The very first café I supplied wholesale had a thermonuclear device in the

                      guise of a 1960's Brugnetti.... but they had a great barista who was more concerned

                      about having a job than the machine he would be using. He rode that machine like he was taming a beast from

                      hell but the coffee he produced was sweet and delicious.

                      My biggest and best client uses an original Faema e-61 ...over 40 years old and

                      some of his customers have touted it as the best coffee in Melbourne.

                      The best local barista I have coaxes his shots out of a ridiculous

                      Elektra Belle Epoque, a most cantankerous machine.

                      This thread is't an argument about machines but an opportunity to give some solid

                      advice to a new start-up project that has very little coffee experience.
                      Last edited by chokkidog; 31 May 2016, 06:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        +1 readeral, we are finding more people are discovering that you can buy drinkable coffee. This seems to be a new experience in the West! Not everyone looks at the brand names but they do tend to look at a neat, loved, clean set up and interested, keen and professional staff. Usually the high brand names are noticed and tend to go with the rest of the quality presentation. We do look for high class branded gear as a start. I notice the same folk come back again and again to our best coffee place.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by readeral View Post
                          Expobar have a good range of two group machines, and the Rocket and ECM two groups have enough style in them to pique interest too.
                          I'd nod towards a Rocket Boxer: looks great on the counter. Expobar multiboilers (excepting the G10) are good value and deliver the goods. Easy to source parts; easy to maintain.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dumiya View Post
                            +1 readeral, we are finding more people are discovering that you can buy drinkable coffee. This seems to be a new experience in the West! Not everyone looks at the brand names but they do tend to look at a neat, loved, clean set up and interested, keen and professional staff. Usually the high brand names are noticed and tend to go with the rest of the quality presentation. We do look for high class branded gear as a start. I notice the same folk come back again and again to our best coffee place.
                            Yep, dumiya. When you look at these types of threads on CS historically, the question of which

                            machine etc is not being asked by someone who already has a successful and/or knowledgeable coffee/café culture.

                            But that's enough from me.....

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                            • #15
                              As a satisfied ECM home user, I've checked out the ECM barista 2 group and looks interesting. How do HX machines tend to perform in the cafe? I guess a few small cooling flushes here and there. I couldn't see him adjusting brew temp for origins etc, would be primarily a blend set up targeting milk based drinks.

                              That at or the rocket boxer could be a winner I guess? Much cheaper around 6k.

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