As autumn takes hold and many of us begin waking up in the dark, the daily cup of joe becomes especially important. In honor of National Coffee Day, we caught up with Andreas and Renee Avdoulos from Caffeina Espresso Bar, a new cafe in Peterborough, Ontario.
Over the last three months, Caffeina has built a cafe that focuses mainly on providing coffee to go for busy professionals in the area. The cafe’s clean design sets the stage for a minimalist, classic menu.
Are you interested in opening an independent coffee shop in Canada? Here are some tips from Caffeina:
Make a plan.
- Take the time to write a detailed business plan, making sure all your projected sales numbers add up to a viable operation that can indeed make a profit.
- Research your location and your market. Talk to the owners of other businesses in the area to find out what they think about your idea.
- Identify small businesses in your area that are active on social media, and offer products or services that complement your business. Caffeina has been sponsoring local events and running cross-promotions with the local cycling clubs in Peterborough, for instance.
- Get a business manager. Without someone to manage the numbers you will crash and burn.
- Track the numbers carefully, including any incoming, outgoing, short and long-term ones. A cafe relies on many sales of small ticket items, so you’ll need to ensure that your business is efficient and you’re selling enough every day.
- Take a vacation before you open; it will be a long time until you will have that freedom again!
Keep things simple.
Andreas and Renee chose Square as a simple point-of-sales system for training their staff, and they use the analytics to observe trends and run promotions when needed. Three months in, Andreas says, “We’ve been able to use Square to see how our sales keep rising week after week, and we can import that information to Quickbooks without any issues at all.”
Andreas also appreciates the fact he can view the cafe’s sales in real time anywhere he has his phone. “When sales are slow,” he says, “I use Instagram to promote drinks or food.”
Put a unique twist on fall flavours.
How is Caffeina approaching the seasonal element of their menu? “While pumpkin spice is popular, we decided to stay away from that flavour profile,” Andreas says, smiling. Instead, Caffeina offers housemade honey vanilla bean syrup, which adds an autumnal twist to coffee and tea. “It’s sweet, without being overly syrupy, and the natural vanilla bean adds a warm depth to the coffee.”
Caffeina also spices things up for fall with a Mexican chocolate sauce made with smoked chilli powder, Swiss cocoa and sugar. “We’re currently using a really nice espresso blend from Hale Coffee in Toronto, who are also Square users,” says Andreas. “That blend tastes wonderful when mixed with the warm, soothing flavours of chocolate and spice.”
Visit Caffeina online to find out more about the cafe’s micro-roasted brews or pop in for a warm, spicy cup of coffee at 144 Hunter Street West in downtown Peterborough.
Related: Learn more about how Canadians like their coffee here.