Want to brush up on coffee shop basics? Are you just starting out in the industry and need expert advice? Well, look no further than Crimson Cup Coffee Company. These guys won’t just consult and teach you how to be successful; they will demonstrate everything you need to know in their own coffee shop and roasting facility. Let’s hear from Crimson Cup’s marketing director Melissa Rogner
V. Hi Melissa! Please give us a general overview of what Crimson Cup Coffee Company does.
R. Hi Max! Our main focus is to supply the necessary tools for independent business owners to open up their own coffee houses. We provide hands-on training and consulting with business plan development, finding locations, and setting up the right layout and equipment. In addition to that, we have our own coffee house. We have opened it in 2007 in Clintonville, OH to fully understand and wrap our heads around the coffee shop business, so that we knew how to teach and train independent business owners who want to be successful in the coffee industry.
V. What is unique about your own shop?
R. What is really unique about Crimson Cup Coffee House is that we consider it as a “test kitchen,” where we regularly try new things with our customers to better understand the science of our industry. We test trends, techniques, and equipment to be successful before we roll them out onto our community. This way, we constantly get an insight from our customers about what they like. For example, we try different brewing methods. About a year ago, we created a brew bar in order to be able to offer pour-over coffee, and we have begun to share it with the community.
V. What are some ways that you teach others?
R. We teach what we call our “Seven Steps to Success” program. These “Seven Steps” are all pieces and parts that help the business owner to be effective -such as how to choose the right location, equipment, ingredients, and team among others. It might sound pretty basic, but when we start training people that have an existing job not related to coffee, or when we retrain current business owners, we find that many of these things seem to have been forgotten. For example, maybe the portion sizes got out of control and no one notices, or the fact that the menu has a drip coffee listed first instead of an espresso-based drink. In a nutshell, we teach to our “7 steps to success” in terms of opening and maintaining a profitable coffee shop business.
V. How many coffee shops do you currently support?
R. Right now we support about 260 independent business owners who run their own coffee shops; however, we are not a franchise. We don’t have any franchise fees or royalty. We provide true support free of charge.
V. Where and how does the consultation process take place?
R. We do it two different ways: We bring people here to our main roasting facility to train and teach them, or we go on-site to where they are located. We have a training manager here that travels if needed to offer permanent support and education to make sure that every one of our businesses stay on track. We also invite business owners to come in and visit our roasting facility. There they can see where our passion lies and how we have the structure for support. Then we take them to the Crimson Cup Coffee House, and show them the layout and the design that we have chosen. They communicate with the staff and the customers, so it is absolutely a huge part for us.
V. Your company has been doing consulting for more than 20 years. What do you think has changed in the market over the years?
R. Nowadays, people are doing more research to understand what it is like to be a business owner. So, our goal is to help these people to be confident and gain their confidence through the support that they get from us. The market is more volatile now, and I think people are more serious about their coffee. We definitely see that the customers are demanding a higher quality and a more ethically traded coffee. This is where our coffee focus is going. We are working on developing our relationship with our farmers. We don’t just want their great coffee, we want to make sure their kids are going to school and have the uniforms they need. And we pass that responsibility to our coffee house novices as well.
Talking about change, we have noticed that blends are kind of fading out. It also seems that coffee shops don’t serve as many frozen drinks, or anything with syrups. Straight origin coffee is a hot topic now. The good thing in our business model is that we have always done both. We have done great flavored coffee, we have done great origin coffee, and we see the value in both. You can’t appeal to everybody with just one product.
V. Dare to share a secret to success?
R. Efficiency, which is our underlying consulting theme. It is doing things in the most profitable way and in the most time sensitive way. Another important top deals with new business owners purchasing new equipment versus used equipment – the consensus from who we speak with is that most try to cut corners and buy used equipment solely based on cost. We teach that it is better to start out with new espresso equipment to manage the product quality from the start and to avoid unplanned maintenance expenses on a used machine.