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Author Topic: Does the machine make the store?  (Read 8208 times)

Lwowiak

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Does the machine make the store?
« on: 27/07/2012, 11:38 AM »
As the title suggests, does the machine make the establishment? Is it necessary for owners to spend thousands of dollars extra on flashy machinery such as Synesso and Slayer to ensure success? Do these machines give you a guarantee of coffee groupies who will empty their wallets into your till? Is it hype and marketing? Your thoughts are most welcome.

Personally, I believe it is nothing more than hype; however, there are locations in Australia, and other coffee drinking nations, where a flashy machine adds to the atmosphere of the establishment. To those places that are attracting aloof clients and want a point of difference, every aspect of the establishment counts. A Slayer or KVW, or even an old restored classic, can add a certain charm. For an everyday run of the mill coffee establishment (no offence intended), whose customers want


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Lwowiak

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #1 on: 27/07/2012, 11:39 AM »
As a point of difference.
If I was to own a coffee establishment, and needed a Slayer to ensure success, then I would take a different course of action. First of all, I would advertise like crazy to appeal to all the Slayer groupies. On opening night, I would have a door prize where the winner could come and play with the machine, thus ensuring coffee nirvana for one. You would need to get 1000 people to
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Fresh Coffee

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #2 on: 27/07/2012, 12:10 PM »
a) Answer to question = no.  There are a far greater number of establishments that prove this (ie no) , than the reverse.

b) I very much enjoyed the post immediately above. That's my kind of humour, and I can see it all played out in real life and know of atleast one establishment that fits the decription give or take.....

c) There are a small  number of very insecure cafe owners that do read all the BS (technical truths that may not be able to be duplicated in the real world of a busy cafe) in forums before specifying such machines in their cafe as if just having one of these, will guarantee success (definiftion of success? increased number of clients, increased revenue, increased coffee kilo turnover, whatever).

d) Some coffee companies see the value in this and jump on the clients insecurity to offer them this type of equipment and win the client from other suppliers that wont jump on the image stakes band wagon. And so in the world of business, this all becomes part of the available pool of marketing tools to win business.

e) So cafe clients think these things are the answer to guaranteed quality in the cup, clients coming in because of the equipment and their struggle for market share with competing cafes, and coffee companies see them as a tool to win cafe business in the struggle with competing coffee companies.

f) Who wins? The purveyors and manufacturers of the equipment and their agents and the coffee companies that get in on the act.

g) it aint about guaranteed quality in the cup that's for sure, and

h) it aint all that different to the level of interest in lever machines, so anyone that wants to cover both bases in a busy establishment can have an S or LM machine AND a lever machine!

Enjoy the ride  ;)

A.
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Bean Flying

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #3 on: 27/07/2012, 12:32 PM »
You mean kind of like this  :laugh: LM Linea and Arduino 2 grp lever. No pretentious coffee just consistently good stuff from some lovely people  :thumb:

[attachimg=1]

derrilex

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #4 on: 27/07/2012, 12:38 PM »
If only it were true a good cup could be had at a lot of places. Unfortunately,  the complete opposite is more often closer to the mark. Having a Ferrari doesn't make you Fernando Alonso and drinking Red Bull doesn't make you Mark Webber. Man, machine, understanding and passion =  good coffee. You cant polish a turd.

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #5 on: 27/07/2012, 12:51 PM »
I'm with A. on this one.

I supply cafes that have their own high-end Synesso and LM machines and all sorts of other gear in between, including the low-cost value-driven kit I have in the past supplied to cafes as FOL.

One of my larger clients was also in the first group of Asia-Pacific/Middle Eastern regions to use the new LM Strada early this year.

Why did my clients buy the high-end gear ? purely because they operate at the very top end of quality and coffee is just one of the 4000-odd SKU's they stock, but image is most important. Does the coffee taste that much better - nope. I did play with pressure profiling across a range of different roast styles and origins and thought - just another thing to go horribly wrong.

It's ironic that the people debating which machine is king are the only ones who can visually identify the brand and physical appearance of such machines and guess what - they represent less than 0.01% of the coffee drinkers - and are less likely to be the ones who will keep that business alive with their patronage.

Sure, the espresso-machine-bling fashionista will pop in for a coffee to try it out, but then move on very quickly to the next new place as their attention span will have well and truly expired once they finish the coffee, or they will have been tempted by yet another mindless tweet that offers the promise of the "best shots in town".

When we have changed equipment at a cafe, I've sat behind the machine for sometimes half a day and waited while the regular customers walk up and order coffee - 80% make no comment. 20% say "oh - new machine" and in many, many years I've never heard one single customer say "wow nice brand XXXX coffee machine".

My favorite machine for flavor and consistency is neither a Synesso or a LM and surprise, surprise it is not a PID or lever machine either.



 

Bean Flying

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #6 on: 27/07/2012, 01:41 PM »
On a more serious note (coz coffee has to have notes) I have had some rubbish coffee on some high end machines and some of the best coffees on mid level (HX or Dual Boilers) made by People who CARE. Hipster Beards, Weird Hair and Tattoos standing behind machine of the year X doesn't get you a great coffee. What I am impressed more by is if you get a good to great coffee and the Barista has a line of orders and is under the pump then that is someone who cares.

There is a great blog for a laugh (I will try and find it) 8 out of 10 positive reviews all use Synesso machines and 5 Senses coffee ::) I suspect there is more than just a little brand loving going on :pan

As to a look in a store well a lever of course ;)

Kelsey

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #7 on: 27/07/2012, 01:44 PM »
Any hints as to what it is, for the curious among us?
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Fresh Coffee

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #8 on: 27/07/2012, 02:37 PM »
I'll also throw in, that some of owr most successful (coffee turnover in kilos) cafes are those that have got the FOOD right. ie they run a tight operation where true to my own definition of cafes being an "eatery with a coffee machine" rather than a "coffee house", really the main reason why people go there is to buy lunch, and at the end of the line is the coffee machine and the cash register.....all in a line and progression to where the money changes hands........

With respect, people in these sites need to stop poncing around about "the coffee" and "the equipment" as if they are stand alone products, and start to see it as it is in the business sense, which is what all the cafe coffee machine discussions should be geared to.....business, and not prissy mumbo jumbo about pressure profiling, saturated groups, thermostability and other stand alone technical attribute BS and the like. A coffee machine is a means to an end, which is money in the till, and is only part of a much greater/larger picture.

Some of (scratch that) MOST OF the biggest turnover cafes I know of use HX machines, and run serious business models regardless of whether they like their baristas to wear mohawks, have tatts, or hang razior blades off their piercings while they play world barista attitude games behind the coffee machine. Some of them use the cheapest possible beans they can buy and will take take take as much as they can from their suppliers and for the privelege, pay their accounts as late as they can get away with. Coffee and associated equipment is business, period. Would you rather have a write up in the sunday good food guide about how wonderful your super duper signature roasted estate hand picked direct trade high grown coffee is, or would you rather be the very busy cafe down the road "quietly" turning over a fortune with no regard to whether someone writes you up for a good sunday read or not.

End of rant. This morning I was in a potentially fatal car crash where an idiot chucked a you-ie in front of me on the highway at 100kph, caused about 16g damage to my ute and causing me to have to leave it at the panel beaters for around the next 6 to 8 weeks while they get round to fixing major damage, a major inconvenience, lucky no one was hurt, but I am not suffering BS about coffee machines very well this arvo.



   
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UNM

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #9 on: 27/07/2012, 03:24 PM »
regardless of all the above, when I was in central Sydney recently it seemed a by-law has been passed requiring all new cafes to have a KVW or Synesso.

I rarely saw anything else (KVW was most common). I suspect the looks ARE important - if only to prospective cafe owners.


Not that it mattered much to me as I mainly drank syphon or pour over.
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Wonder

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #10 on: 27/07/2012, 03:30 PM »
Fresh your right, coffee to most is a business.. A means to make $$$$$. Most people/customers don't care what machine or where the bean is from.. As long as they get there fix..

Glad everything is okay... I hope you realize how fortunate you are and that this reminds you to try to never waste a second of your day ( you probably don't anyways )..because you don't know when it could be all gone  ;)
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Ronin

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #11 on: 27/07/2012, 04:01 PM »
So glad you are ok A. The inconvenience of not having a car is out weighted by your health I believe.
Take care of yourself as injuries can be slow in the onset too.

Just another point re machines, when I was looking at setting up an espresso bar (minimal food style) I bought a La Marzocco FB80 custom colour 3grp. Why I hear you ask? Cause I wanted one  ;). I enjoy using them and could afford it with cash. I incorporated it in the marketing plan too.

Ended up with wifey having health issues so canned the idea, and it sat for some time until I sold it, without loosing money.

So I agree that it's not necessary to have a high end machine, but it won't hurt either.
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march83

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #12 on: 27/07/2012, 04:46 PM »
Cause I wanted one  ;). I enjoy using them and could afford it with cash. I incorporated it in the marketing plan too.

this. if i were a cafe operator i'd be doing it for the love - just an excuse to surround myself with great coffee and nice toys. i'm sure there's many operators who feel this way and so they get themselves the best of the best.

personally, i judge a cafe by its hardware - got a san marco or wega or whatever and i'm going to keep walking because it means the owners probably don't care. got a LM or whatever means that someone in the operation cares and so the probability of getting a decent cup is somewhat increased.

Lacehim

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #13 on: 27/07/2012, 05:11 PM »
personally, i judge a cafe by its hardware - got a san marco or wega or whatever and i'm going to keep walking because it means the owners probably don't care. got a LM or whatever means that someone in the operation cares and so the probability of getting a decent cup is somewhat increased.

 :laugh:  Hardware doesn't mean a thing if the person behind it doesn't know a thing or has just completed a 10 second Barista course.  Personally I look at what people are drinking in the cafe, and are they enjoying it.  How clean the machine is, and if I'm waiting in a queue I usually take notice of how the coffee looks when it's pouring.

Best coffee is at my place anyway, but if I buy while I'm out I'm quite fussy, but you have to try different places to find the hidden gems!

Thundergod

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #14 on: 27/07/2012, 05:33 PM »
I have had some rubbish coffee on some high end machines and some of the best coffees on mid level (HX or Dual Boilers) made by People who CARE.
Ditto.

P.S. Glad you're OK A.

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derrilex

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« Reply #15 on: 27/07/2012, 07:24 PM »
Nothing like a good T - Boning to get the blood pumping A. Glad you're ok.

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #16 on: 27/07/2012, 07:43 PM »
Glad to get you're ok A, that must've been a bit of a heart stopper!

I 100% agree with you, BTW. I've said more than once that the quality of the coffee is pretty much irrelevant to the business of a cafe. Provided it's consistent (and pod coffee can be that) most punters won't care.

My local is a place that rents you a place to relax with friends by the water for the price of a cup of coffee. Food isn't there thing.

He happens to make very good coffee, but I don't fool myself that I'm one of only a few that it's important too.

That said, you can't entirely discount the effect of the coffee quality. Another local food-cafe-with-coffee-machine recently switched to Mambo coffee from Veneziano - and then back again a month or so later after numerous (IMHO well founded) complaints.

But beyond a certain point, the coffee doesn't matter - so neither do the machines.

Most businesses don't know what business they're really in - just like xerox being an ink company not a printer company.
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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #17 on: 27/07/2012, 08:34 PM »
Agree 100% FC.

Food makes a shop. Coffee comes in as a later thought for the majority of general public.  If the food is good, well priced and serves good coffee, one has a very good cliental basis! This means  $$$$$$. 

Machine and environmental feel can certainly add an element but if food and coffee are shite, smoke screens soon lift & the word is out on the street..........


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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #18 on: 27/07/2012, 09:57 PM »
Thankyou to all who have expressed their good wishes. My wife and I are indeed lucky to be here instead of in some hospital.

Be careful out there, especially those of you on motorcycles. If I had been on my bike this morning it would have been curtains.
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« Reply #19 on: 27/07/2012, 10:55 PM »
What a thread! I'm reading it via hotspot on camp. 

Worst coffee this year was from the little cafe down the road from work with the brand new Synesso/Robur combo.  Three disbelieving sips before binning it.  Worse yet, gave them a second chance soon after, well, a couple of weeks.  It was worse!  Brand+gun barista+write up in the local newspaper=no guarantee.

Geeze A, what a scare!  Thank heavens you are both okay.  You might need something a little stronger than coffee to help you sleep tonight!
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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #20 on: 28/07/2012, 01:29 AM »
I actually put a couple of drops of guano Mexican bat poo coffee which have been cold extracted using antarctic ice in the air conditioning ducts then charge customers a dollar surcharge just to sniff it...
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march83

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Does the machine make the store?
« Reply #21 on: 28/07/2012, 07:07 AM »
:laugh:  Hardware doesn't mean a thing if the person behind it doesn't know a thing or has just completed a 10 second Barista course.  Personally I look at what people are drinking in the cafe, and are they enjoying it.  How clean the machine is, and if I'm waiting in a queue I usually take notice of how the coffee looks when it's pouring.

Best coffee is at my place anyway, but if I buy while I'm out I'm quite fussy, but you have to try different places to find the hidden gems!

yeah, i know what you're saying, but what i mean is that if the machine is a top end machine then there's a pretty good chance that at least 1 person in the organisation actually cares about coffee and there's a slim chance that that person is the one making your cup.

absolutely no guarantees, but a slight improvement in probability...

UNM

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« Reply #22 on: 28/07/2012, 09:24 AM »
Thankyou to all who have expressed their good wishes. My wife and I are indeed lucky to be here instead of in some hospital.

Be careful out there, especially those of you on motorcycles. If I had been on my bike this morning it would have been curtains.

I am glad you are both OK.

 In fact I hope nobody involved in the accident was seriously hurt. The person  causing it might have been a complete numpty, but even so they too will have friends and relatives that could be affected through no fault of their own.

As to motorcycling accidents, yes doesn't bear thinking about. 

Back on topic, I reckon the machine is an important aspect of the overall fitout. Really, as you said it is the overall business plan that counts. For some businesses the machinery is more important than others.

I have no intention of opening a cafe  in the near future as I want to preserve the few savings I have, so should probably try to resist pontificating.

I AM more likely to give a cafe my business if I spy a syphon or pour over bar so in that sense, the machinery DOES sway me, perhaps that is just because it has not (yet) been devalued by being pimped out to all prospective cafe owners as a way to draw in punters.


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