It’s easy to treat your food menu as a low priority, but that’s a missed opportunity. Consider your coffees carefully, pick the right team, and start creating meals and snacks that will bring out the best in your beans. Your customers will appreciate it, and you’ll reap the rewards.
Food Equipment and Capability
Before you start it’s useful to think about what is realistically achievable with the space and equipment available to you. Does your space already have a kitchen? If not, do you have space and budget to add one? If the answer is no, that may narrow down the options for what food you can serve. There is a lot you can do with a little bit of space and an electric hotplate, and it’s up to you to be creative about how to use the resources you have.
Another consideration is training. Whatever you want to make and serve, your employees will have to learn the process as well. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but get too elaborate, and you might be setting yourself and your baristas up for disaster.
A changing food menu is important to keep your customers’ interest. Try to have a different mix throughout the day, for example at breakfast you could have a few sweet slices of breads or some sort of breakfast pastry. It’s a good idea to have something substantial and filling on your lunch menu, especially if you’re trying to attract office workers. Seasonal offerings are popular, too. Not only do customers like the variety but, when they realise the food will only be available for a short time, they want to try it before it’s too late. Why not try adding a dessert from the same country as each of your coffee blends.
Train Your Staff
The kitchen is as much a part of your café as your espresso machine, so you should work towards the same level of quality in it. If you’re planning to hire a baker or chef, you have to find one who shares your values. For example, consistency, reliability, and an appreciation of coffee. If helps if your kitchen staff can identify the flavours in coffee and understand the impact of different processing methods.
Consider Other Drinks
Try to offer a varied non-coffee drinks menu that matches your values. If you want to stay away from artificial flavours try Chinese teas, traditional Japanese matcha, and so on. Just like with your food menu, make your drinks menu seasonal. In the summer offer fruit smoothies or fruit teas to compliment your food menu.