Written by Front Street Associate Director, Andrea Cockerham
Tea and Coffee are the most prominent beverages that are made in-house daily in the restaurant business. Both are important cash crops and both deliver a stimulant that drives our thirsty economy; caffeine. These two beverages have the power to drive a consumer to your business just to purchase one of them even if it is a just a mere $1 - $5 concoction. This is why their reputation and presence is dire for your business to be popular, especially if you’re not a national brand.
I came to this conclusion when I was having a late lunch with my boyfriend and father on a Friday afternoon. We had just finished unpacking at our new apartment in a new city, and we were craving a meal but also needed a pick-me-up. We strolled down East Las Olas and decided to eat at Mango's (someone had recommended I try their snow crab bisque). We all ordered unsweet iced tea and were elated when we began to drink it. We all commented on how it was the best-iced tea we have ever had, we couldn't get enough of it and we even got to-go cups filled to the brim with it when we were leaving.
So why would iced tea say a lot about your business? To start, it implies that you have purchased quality tea (this applies to coffee as well) meaning you aren't cutting costs on something that your customers are drinking multiples times daily and/or weekly. Second, it means that you are probably using good filtered water to actually brew the beverage, which is another mark of quality as unfiltered water’s impurities are easy to taste in unsweet tea and black coffee. Third, for a customer who is indeed a real tea/coffee drinker, it is easy to taste when the beverage was made the day before; the tea/coffee is no longer disbursed throughout the water in the beverage appropriately, as it has settled while it sat over a day. This means you have a standard for what your customers deserve and you will maintain the integrity of the beverage by making it fresh daily. And lastly, the best tea and coffee also attracts consumers who admire quality and who love to meet places that provide quality caffeine beverages – you are single-handedly picking who you want your consumer to be and you're ensuring that they will be returning customers that will also be raving about you.
A beverage like tea and coffee is also something that doesn't have too many moving parts.
Tea/coffee + Quality Water + brew (style of choice) = beverage
Where as a dish that your restaurant may be popular for has a lot more potential to get messed up in the process of recipe/inception to customer delivery.
Final thoughts regarding this conclusion is that unsweet tea and black coffee say a lot about your business because their flavor shouldn't have to masked by sugar or milk. You should always provide customers with the ability to take their beverage to-go, so when other patrons ask where they got their beverage they can provide you with free marketing.
The restaurant that my dad, my boyfriend and I went to was Mango's on East Las Olas Blvd and for the record, their snow crab bisque and unsweet iced tea is phenomenal, I will go back for both – frequently.