Posts Tagged ‘cold-brew coffee’

Perceived Downturn in Customer Service

July 14, 2010

A recent survey of 6,800 Americans reveals a troubling trend. A majority of respondents believe that the customer service they receive while dining out is becoming progressively worse.

Consumer Confidence Shaky
Bloomberg Businessweek reported that consumer confidence is somewhat fragile as few expect their incomes to increase within the next year and many consumers are concerned about future employment. As a result, consumer spending has been restrained. In fact, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, sales at stores like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC opened within the last year by YUM have remained unchanged.

Increased Expectations Lead to Disappointment
A survey conducted by Empahtica, Incorporated revealed that 55.2% of consumers within the US believe that customer service within the restaurant industry is on the decline.

According to Empahtic’s Executive Vice President of Client Services, Gary Edwards speculates that this may be due to increased expectations on the part of consumers who are cash strapped and therefore dining out less frequently. quotes Edwards as saying, “With less discretionary spending, people aren’t going out as frequently, and when they do, they have heightened expectations. Even if service levels aren’t truly declining, restaurants maybe evaluated more harshly. There is simply more of a negative sentiment among consumers.”

Service More Important than Food
Meeting those heightened service expectations is a must for restaurateurs as a full 20% of consumers who responded to the Empahica survey stated that good customer service is more important to them than good food. According to the Empathica survey, when consumers visit a favorite restaurant and receive poor service 25% said they do not return to that establishment again. Even worse, they tell others not to dine there as well.

Edwards cautions against simply throwing labor dollars at the issue and instead advises solid training coupled with reinforcing quality service expectations. Edwards explains that working with staff to emphasize those service opportunities which make a difference in the consumers overall experience is essential.

Cooling Customers during Hot Summers with Creative Coffee Mixology

May 24, 2010

As spring heats up and summer approaches the minds of mixologists and restaurateurs turn toward the best, most creative options for keeping their clientele cool throughout the hot, summer months. An inventive few are leveraging our nation’s coffee obsession by combining the caffeinated beverage with cool and refreshing liquids.

Cold-Brew Coffee
According to a tasting conducted by the crew at Chicago’s Metropolis Coffee Company a cold-brew coffee method known as the Toddy, was voted the hands down favorite of the various brewing methods sampled. This brew method was named after its inventor Todd Simpson, a chemical engineer who, in 1964, pioneered the cold-brew coffee method in order to reduce the bitter, acidic qualities associated with hot coffee.

The Toddy method calls for cold-brewing the beans over a period of twelve to twenty-four hours in order to achieve a smooth, mellow concentrate that can be refrigerated for several weeks. It’s this cold-brew coffee method which allows baristas to serve their customers a fresh tasting cup o’Joe every time simply by adding water or milk to the rich, concentrated liquid.

Coffee: It’s not Just for Baristas Anymore
It’s not just baristas who are serving cold-brewed coffee, mixologists too are coming up with their own creative concoctions. For example, at Chicago’s the Wit Hotel mixologist Jonny Abens uses Van Gogh espresso vodka to spike iced espresso for his café pomme di hollande drink. In San Francisco, California Scott Beattie came up with the espresso martini by adding vodka to the dark, caffeinated liquid.

Arabica Beans or Bust
Regardless of whether it’s hot espresso or some cold version of the beverage, using high quality Arabica beans is a must. Failing to do so will result in an inferior coffee drinking experience. According Giorgio Milos, an Italian Master Barista with illycaffe, even the novice connoisseur will appreciate the flavors available only in high quality Arabic coffee beans.