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Keeping track of every supply that goes into producing those decadent blended coffee drinks can feel like a full-time job. Even the best baristas can’t work without the right coffee shop supplies.
Coffee shops occupy a hybrid space in the food service industry, requiring specific tools to operate successfully. Keep your shop running smoothly with this guide to coffee shop supplies.
What is the difference between coffee shop supplies and coffee shop equipment?
Coffee shop supplies are small, temporary, or fragile items that need regular replacing. Many supplies are ordered each week, while others can last for a month or year.
Coffee shop equipment refers to durable things like your espresso machine, blenders, drip coffee makers, ovens, and commercial refrigeration. In short, the main difference between equipment and supplies is how often things need to be replaced.
Things to consider before buying coffee shop supplies
When deciding which brands of supplies to buy for your coffee shop, you want to strike a balance between the quality and cost of essentials. This thoughtful approach will save you (and your staff) time and money down the line.
Supplies are an investment in your coffee shop. So, choose the right ones for your needs and budget. Shop around for the best possible price on high-quality supplies. And, make smart decisions about where you can cut costs to increase revenue. For example, don’t cut costs on glass and ceramic pour-over sets, as that would affect the quality of your coffee.
Thinking of opening a coffee shop? Here’s a checklist and the average cost to start a cafe.
What are the supplies needed in a coffee shop?
The first step in making quality coffee is sourcing coffee beans. Build a relationship with a local roastery or a national supplier to ensure your shop has dependable access to beans consistent in quality.
Next, you’ll need to decide on syrups, dairy products, and milk alternatives. These materials all depend on your menu. Be meticulous in your choices - it’s your job to support your baristas in producing beautiful lattes and cappuccinos.
If your coffee shop also serves sandwiches or smoothies, don’t forget to factor in the costs of the ingredients and supplies for those menu items. Also, leave room in your budget for seasonal ingredients like pumpkin spice and peppermint.
Coffee brewing supplies
Brewers and coffee grinders can last for years with regular maintenance. Most coffee shops contract a local maintenance guy specializing in coffee shop equipment to guarantee their equipment stays in good shape. For instance, some small, fragile parts of the motors of coffee grinders need to be replaced every six months or so.
Paper coffee filters are a more limited market than one might imagine – ordering coffee filters in bulk is a good strategy so that you’re never without them. Glass pitchers, carafes, and shot glasses are bound to break in a fast-paced shop. Therefore, it’s wise to budget to replace fragile coffee brewing supplies regularly.
Coffee shops often have small kitchen spaces and need to get creative about the kitchen supplies they work with. Think about the size of your ovens, microwaves, and other kitchen appliances to help you purchase the right-sized cookware. Also, consider the materials. Stainless steel supplies - like baking dishes and sheets - are durable. However, even these supplies can get worn out over time. So, keep some room in your budget for additional cookware if needed.
And, don’t forget to keep track of the smaller, disposable supplies - like saran wrap and parchment paper - that are vital to your coffee shop’s operations and food safety standards.
Storing large quantities of coffee beans, flour, and other dry goods requires strategic storage solutions. Large containers need regular cleaning, especially if they store coffee. Or else, the oils can build up and go rancid.
Food storage for your coffee shop’s kitchen works just the same. Don’t forget that food storage must be clearly labeled and dated to meet food safety standards.
Packaging and serving supplies
Paper coffee cups and plastic iced coffee cups for take-out drinks are necessities for coffee shops. You can try to offset their costs by encouraging customers to order drinks in ceramic or reusable cups. But, even ceramic coffee cups are prone to breaking and need replacing.
Straws, napkins, stirrers, and take-out boxes are all typical supplies for coffee shops. Since these supplies are necessary for service and sales, make backup plans to have them on hand at all times.
Cleaning supplies are a food safety requirement – stock your coffee shop with all the cleaning supplies you need to ensure the space meets all federal, state, and local food safety standards.
You always want your coffee shop in shape to pass food safety inspections. One way to ensure this is by keeping supplies stocked and training staff on their proper use. Things like sanitizing solutions, red sani-buckets, and bar rags should be on hand to guarantee food safety.
Menu boards in coffee shops are usually better than paper menus, which are likely to get torn and spilled on. But, if you do print paper menus, keep track of how many your coffee shop has at all times and budget for seasonal reprintings.
How to organize coffee shop supplies
Keeping your inventory and budget in line is crucial for your coffee shop's success. These coffee shop organization practices will help streamline the process.
One tip is to keep a digital log of everything that enters and leaves the shop. To do this, make good use of your restaurant management software, which will simplify the logging process.
Another practice is shelving, which helps to maximize the small spaces coffee shops set aside for storage. Make a clearly labeled “home” for all the essential supplies so that you and your staff know where to find things. This approach will help streamline your managers’ inventory counts, keeping your numbers as accurate as possible.
Where to buy coffee shop supplies
The best places to get all your coffee shop supplies are often the local restaurant supply stores and delivery services in your area. These businesses typically offer wholesale prices on everything needed to operate. Plus, locally owned and operated companies tend to be more personable and reliable. They’ll take the extra steps to ensure your shop is stocked and ready for operations.
There are lots of websites with low prices on coffee shop supplies. Sometimes you can create great relationships with those companies. But, ordering supplies online can come with higher shipping costs than you’ll find from local warehouses.
Coffee shop supply essentials
Coffee shop supplies are necessary for sales and food safety, making them a priority for your shop's operations and budget. Use this guide to build long-term plans to find and maintain essential coffee shop supplies.
And, last but not least, don’t forget to set reminders to check the inventory and condition of supplies!
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