Brewing Up Quality Products & Relationships

Posted by Darrel Burns on

Originally seen at - The Gerhart Coffee Company

Two things we often hear when talking with restauranteurs about their coffee: “I just want to keep things simple, and don’t want to spend any more money on our coffee.” We’d like to address both items, for your consideration.


fresh roast local brew coffee wholesaleLet’s talk first about SIMPLE. Simple usually means one of 3 things: 1) my customers want SIMPLE coffee without a lot of fancy names; 2) I want the coffee SIMPLY to come on the truck with my meat and vegetables; or 3) my staff wants a SIMPLE process when they’re making as much coffee as we do.

There’s a misnomer around Local or Craft Coffee Roasters that we are positioned only to serve people who spend a lot of time and energy analyzing and preparing their coffee. While most of us love to educate and help move our customers toward finer flavors and more thoughtful sourcing, at the end of the day our main goal is to create exceptionally fresh and flavorful coffee that anyone can appreciate. While your customer may not want to read a paragraph about the farmer who grew the coffee, or try to distinguish the “blood-orange brightness” in his or her cup; your customer can tell a cup of flavorful coffee from un-flavorful coffee. Local Craft Roasters are all about creating flavorful coffee.

And for you and your team, having access to a local roaster, someone with accountability in the local market, with local and attentive service solutions; creates the opportunity for the most SIMPLE service solutions possible.


Our job as Specialty Coffee Roasters is to source, roast and analyze our coffees so that our customers, and the people they serve, can simply enjoy a great cup of coffee.

And secondly MONEY. This one is addressed with some quick math:

Average Price of 8oz Cup with Refills $1.75, Average 3 Refills

‘National Brand’ Coffee, using 2oz Tear Pack, $0.21/8oz cup

‘Local Roaster’ Coffee, using 3oz Tear Pack, $0.39/8oz cup

Average Gross Profit/cup ‘National Brand’ $1.54

Average Gross Profit/cup Gerhart Signature Blend $1.36

Difference per Bottomless Cup is $0.18

Notice, in the example, I’m recommending that a 64oz Commercial-Sized Brew of Coffee should be made with at least 3.00oz of coffee; and comparing that to a significantly weaker, and quite common, 2.00oz Brew of ‘National Brand’ Coffee.

If we can take the leap to suggest that a pot of freshly and locally roasted, directly delivered coffee is at least two times more flavorful than the ‘National Brand’ alternative; then how much is it really costing your restaurant to serve that less flavorful cup of coffee?


The motivation for this little blurb is not only reaction to the conversations I have with local restauranteurs about the coffee they serve their guests; but also a call for all business people – whether buying or selling – to consider more carefully what our relationships and buying habits are truly costing our businesses.

Local merchants, manufacturers and service providers talk often about the positive and on-going ripple effect of ‘buying local’; and the even less defined benefit of more interwoven communities of businesspeople. And rightly so.

However, we all sweat the numbers at the end of the year as we consider our businesses’ margins and operating expenses. We have a responsibility to manage our businesses as thoughtfully as possible. Let’s start taking a new look at how we as local business owners and managers talk about, and how we do, business by the numbers.

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