Archives for category: Food & Drink

It has been a few months now that foodies and/or food bloggers who enjoy being the first to try a new eaterie have emerged. Maybe a new type of food-hipsters believing that they have a certain privilege to access venues before the general public/official opening.

It is a kind of a deal between the business and the so-called writer/photographer/food lover. Reviewing a business, the ambiance – décor – layout and coolness of the staff. But what about the actual service and professionalism?

Are new restaurants becoming too flashy: “style over substance” as some like to say?

The image/aspect of a restaurant is important – without a doubt – but, surely the food quality and the service are what makes the business successful. In other words, no one would be interested in purchasing a great looking car if the engine doesn’t run smoothly. Same rule applies for food places!

Unfortunately and too often, a couple/bunch of friends/family will go out for breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner to a specific establishment, because there is something visually attractive, putting the actual food quality second. People are ready to eat out and pay for the look of the place first, even if the dishes and table service are average.

Coming back to the “foodie” trend. Are we not all a foodie – whatever the level – because eating is after all a natural matter.

So, is it someone who likes to stuff himself/herself with anything which can be eaten forgetting the flavours and tastes (a gourmand) or a person who loves fine and delicate ingredients (a gourmet).

When a foodie goes to a café counter asking to write a review but expects not to pay for food/drink, is this not a kind of way to get free scoff? Not saying that writing a review is easy…etc – but there is always (yes, always) this kind of tone in their voice making the owner/manager/staff feel that they are actually doing the shop a favour.

Everyone, nowadays is a photographer (just look at Instagram and/or Pinterest). The net is saturated with images and the timeline goes faster and faster. Getting an online platform up and running is (almost) free – a few Pounds to get a domain name – and you are ready to go.

In parallel, we have social media outlets which are as important as your house keys. Without them people are totally lost! A 21st century thing!

So, is the foodie trend a kind of little gang of wannabe journalists who take revenge by self-publishing their thoughts and attending all types of dinner-party involving an “award winning” ceremony?

Bloggers are blossoming like never before. Visiting hotels, restaurants, coffee shops to tell people how it is, can be a good idea, of course. Meanwhile… being a reviewer is like everything when it comes to convey a message. It would be great if those reviews could emphasis on the actual products. Whether the client/guest is Mr Smith or Lord Mountbatten, the service will/should always remain the same. So, the foodie community should keep calm and not assume they will get an über treatment just because a few words will appear on the world wide web.

This means that if a food and beverage place knows its job, it doesn’t matter who is eating/drinking. The standard should always be the same…as everyone is a paying customer!

Staff tips for good customer service

Staff tips for good customer service

There are many ways to brew filter coffee – it all depends on your preferences.

The coffee will be different according to the device used to make that filter.

Today is a video by Kinfolk… indeed like the famous magazine of the same name – it is all about the AeroPress.

In the past three years or so, espresso bars have spread at a fast pace.

It is now a common meeting place for:

  • businessmen,
  • students,
  • OAPs,
  • young mothers with their offsprings.

The barista will have to produce the occasional babyccino with that dusty layer of chocolate sprinkles. The kind of drink which sounds very trendy but is nothing else than luke warm milk!


Anyway, the customer is always right… apparently.

Coffee shops have to cater for everyone; they are the new public houses. After all, a coffee is cheaper than a pint of beer and you can drive after such beverage. Everyone is a winner.

Have you noticed how many coffee shops are blossoming in most commercial centres, High Streets and even narrow alleyways? They are literally everywhere.

Meanwhile, there is enough space for everyone to share a slice of the daily trade. They are all busy and smiling.

It is down to the consumers to decide which one is their favourite. This means that a Costa drinker won’t go to Café Rouge or Nero and vice versa.

Even two good friends might take different directions when it is time for their caffeine fix, and then meet up proudly after having been served with their drinks which will bring something special to their busy and stressful day.

But are our towns and cities saturated with cafés?

It is true they are so many but what is also important is to make the right choice before stepping into one of them. Having a nice shiny espresso machine and décor is one thing. But what about the coffee quality/origin and the type of roast profile?

This is what should attract the client in the first place and not the cool seats or free magazines.

Are some people missing the point of what makes a cup of coffee so special and unique?

Sitting in a crowded space with a hot drink and a generous slice of cake will unconsciously make that person part of a community.

There is also the question from a business point of view: should buyers be informed about what is in the hopper or should the barista just pull espresso shots back to back without asking questions in order to guide people towards a specific taste/flavour such a waiter/waitress would do with the wine list in a restaurant?

It is first of all important for the business owner to define what he/she is after. Running a shop with all the equipment is not cheap – especially at the start. There are as well several factors to consider; is it preferable to get a rented place or  go the extra mile towards freehold investment? All this without mentioning business rates.

Indeed, there is a cost to setup such business and making coffee requires not only certain skills and knowledge but also a capital – mainly when being a small independent. There is no room for mistake.

Speaking recently to a regular coffee lover, he was amazed and shocked to hear the price for a grinder such as EK43 and La Marzocco PB. Then to this add fine coffee beans, milk, cups and all the monthly bills/expenses such as staff wages, electricity or water.

Nevertheless, when all is correctly run there is an increase in staff and some places such as Kaffeine, Workshop, Notes or Caravan in London manage to open multiple units. This is without a doubt a testimony of success in a Capital city, where everything is expensive. BrewLab in Edinburgh is following this path too.

These are great entrepreneurs. But are they taking a risk when expanding in a Society where a lot of families seem to face a financial struggle?!

According to the popularity of the existing venues, there is a kind of pattern showing more demand and interest on different levels. Growth is what is needed for the economy of a Country and without those decision makers there would be no evolution.

Knowing the average amount spent per head is around five Pounds (coffee and cake) it doesn’t seem to be affecting the consumers’ budget, it is then natural to go forward by using the same recipe.

Could we reach a saturation level for such outlets?

Do we have too many clothes shops, restaurants, supermakets? Absolutely not! Consequently, coffee shops are safe too, aren’t they?

For the time being, people want their coffee anywhere and everywhere. It is also not unusual to attend coffee talks and classes to learn more about that “new” industry which is definitely breeding successfully.

A real paradox for the United Kingdom which was at a time known as a tea drinking nation!

Coffee is not my cup of tea - teapot