New Year’s Equipment Check

Sliders6The quality of your drinks depends on a myriad of factors including the coffee you serve, the skill of your barista and even the cleanliness and proper maintenance of your equipment. With the other two areas covered, the beginning of a New Year is a great time to do a check up your equipment and set your store up for success in 2015.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, prevention is key. We always encourage our customers to schedule their certified technician to come in and inspect their equipment regularly. To ensure smooth operations, we suggest having a few things checked, including:

  • All seals and gaskets, to make sure they are not leaking and are in good condition.
  • All water filters and softeners to make sure they are not expired.
  • All brewers for signs of calcium build up.
  • Spray heads. These need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned.
  • Grinders for cleanliness and burrs for sharpness.
  • Blenders need to be checked to ensure the drive sockets and blade assemblies are in good condition.

*All of the above suggestions should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Contact your certified technician to ensure your machine maintenance is done properly and safely.  

As you consider your 2015 budget, it may be a good time to consider equipment upgrades. Contact Stockton Graham & Co. for guidance on the right options for your store, from convenient lease options to handling the certified installation, we can help ease the process. Give us a call at 800 835 5943 to discuss equipment options!

Twenty Years Tells Us: “Routine Maintenance is Worth It.”

SGC-success toolsBen Franklin offered advice that was as sage 250 years ago as it is today; he once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Over the past two decades in the business of coffee, we have come to learn through experience that proper and routine maintenance of our equipment costs us far less in the long-run than waiting to deal with the inevitable catastrophes that come along. A roaster motor, for example, isn’t terribly expensive to replace, but the cost of down-time, overnight shipping for parts, emergency labor, etc. can easily multiply the cost of an integral part many times over.

Similarly, our customers must embrace the idea of routine maintenance in their own businesses. We have seen some extreme cases over the years, for example, one of our customers did not have filters on her espresso machine and was duly surprised at the cost of replacing most of the internal components in her espresso machine after a water main break allowed clay to make its way inside her appliance. Instead of just $150 for a filter, she ended up paying $1500 for a complete overhaul of the espresso machine. In this case, the disaster was swift and completely unforeseeable. In a more recent incident, a customer with a brand new, high-end machine ignored a small leak that appeared. SGC-equipmentOver time, the leak became more severe, and instead of calling in a technician, the leaking water was simply wiped up until eventually an electrical short fried the group head components, and caused damage to additional components nearby. The resulting damage caused well over $1000 repair costs because a service technician wasn’t called out to check the leak and tighten a fitting.

In your business, you certainly have plenty to juggle from the day-to-day fires that must be put out, to looking ahead and making sure you have enough supplies to get you through the weekend. You are bombarded with questions and requests, all while trying to find a way to take your business to the next level. Do yourself a favor and contact your local service provider about setting up routine maintenance for your coffee and espresso equipment as well as your water filtration, refrigeration, HVAC and any other systems susceptible to breakdowns. Then the next time you see your service technician, you can feel relieved that problems are being avoided rather than remedied. You can also budget for these visits to help with your cash flow and use the additional funds for promoting your store.

SGC-about5 Tips on How to Manage Café Maintenance
1. Take inventory of all systems susceptible to breakdowns.
2. Ask your service providers if they offer scheduled service plans to take away the headache of remembering.
3. Create a log for maintenance to maintain maintenance records for all machines.
4. Learn the basic cleaning and maintenance that should be done to each machine.
5. Coach your staff on spotting symptoms of trouble.

Let Your Business Bloom With New Blender Equipment

Get your business blooming with real fruit smoothies and refreshing frappes!

Spring is here! That means it’s time to get ready for all that warm weather brings: flip flops, shorts and satisfyingly cool blended beverages. The warmer season means a huge opportunity for growth, selling just 10 frozen beverages a day can increase monthly sales by over $1000.  Stockton Graham & Co. is here to help you get “Blender-Ready” with a great blender package, spring recipes and big savings on Vitamix and Blendtec equipment.

Spring is the perfect time to update add frozen beverages to change up your menu, and ultimately increase customer loyalty. With warmer weather comes a huge opportunity to grow your business! Customers crave cool beverages, and after selling the free and rebated products we offer, the profits cover most if not all of the cost of the blenders.

To get your business blooming and booming, Stockton Graham & Co. vendor’s are offering a variety of rebates for smoothie and frappe products.

*Buy any Vitamix or Blendtec blender from Stockton Graham & Co. to receive 3 FREE CASES of Dr. Smoothie, Big Train, Monin, Torani or Mocafe smoothie and frappe products!* (EXPIRED)
*Products are preselected.
Call 800-835-5943 and talk to a Customer Care Associate for details.

Using our retail experience, Stockton Graham & Co. ® offers these blenders to provide the retailer the ability to handle one or many customer orders with speed, consistency and reliability for many seasons to come.

Our Customer Care Associates recommend the Vitamix T&G® 2 BLENDING STATION® as the best deal. For a quieter option, we suggest trying Vitamix’s THE QUIET ONE®, or Blendtec’s Stealth, which are 1/4 the noise of an espresso grinder.

Product Descriptions:

Vitamix – Stockton Graham & Co.® and Vitamix® present the Blender Series for specialty coffee retailers: DRINK MACHINE ADVANCE, T&G 2 BLENDING STATION and THE QUIET ONE. These commercial Vita-Mix® blenders have been designed to blend luscious, mouthwatering frappes and delectable smoothies consistently drink after drink and customer after customer.

Blendtec BlenderBlendtec – Stockton Graham & Co.® and Blendtec® present the Blender Series for specialty coffee retailers: STEALTH, Q-SERIES and EZ. Offering industry-leading power and performance, Blendtec® blenders have been a staple in many specialty beverage shops for years.

 

More Recipe Options

Blended Matcha Mint Beverages

Soda Fountain Inspired Shakes

Blended Frozen Drink Recipes

Other Blended Beverage Ingredients

Build Your Business: Mid-Year Checklist!

ChecklistAs hard as it is to believe, we’ve just about reached the halfway mark of 2013!  So far we’ve made it past the “New Year’s resolutions” in January, a few of the early-year holidays such as Valentine’s day, St. Patty’s day and Earth Day, spring has sprung and now summer is here. Though summer is a time for relaxing, 2014 will be here quicker than you think, so 3rd and 4th quarter preparation can never start too early. Here is a mid-year checklist, to get you and your staff ready for the next 6 months.

Hiring– With school out for summer, part-time opportunities in your shop may open up.  This can be a great way to grab some extra help while other staff members are out on vacation, but often times, younger employees are only available during the summer.  September is just around the corner, so when your temporary summer-employees return to school, make sure your shop is well staffed for the busy season to come.

Training– It is imperative that your entire staff is properly trained. The last thing you want is an unqualified barista in the middle of busy season, so take advantage of the summer and have your staff trained and ready to go before fall arrives.  Stockton Graham & Co. offers all the training you and your staff will need in our Coffee College courses. Taught by certified instructors, your staff will learn everything from pulling the perfect shot, to properly steaming milk, to preventative maintenance and more.  Call today to find out when our next coffee college is available!

Menu Cleanup– Now is the perfect time to revisit your menu and see what changes and/or additions need to be made.  If items such as iced teas, smoothies or frappes are not updated on your menu for the warmer months, they should be, or offered as a “Limited Time Offer”.  It’s also the perfect time to sample new products and add new items to your store.  From coffee to smoothies, Stockton Graham & Co. has dozens upon dozens of samples available for you! When things really pick up in the second half of the year, the time you have to sample and consider new products, will be harder to come by. Summer is also a good time to do a “Costs Benefits Analysis” to make sure you are making a profit on your drinks. Many times vendor prices rise a bit, and you can forget to update your menu pricing accordingly. Summer is a great time to make these menu adjustments.

Equipment Check– Just like your car, the equipment in your shop needs to be kept up and maintained. Coffee brewers, grinders, blenders and especially espresso machines all need to be operating correctly in order to produce quality product.  Here at Stockton Graham, we would be happy to recommend a technician for your area, or provide you with new equipment if it’s time for yours to be replaced. Right now we are offering several special offers on select Vitamix & Blendtec blenders, which includes free smoothie and/or frappe products. Use this blender promotion to re-vamp your blended drinks options this summer for bigger profits!

Marketing– By now, your shop probably has its own Facebook, Twitter or other forms of social media platforms. These are great tools to advertise and promote your business, but they are only as effective as you make them. It’s important to keep them up-to-date with current announcements, specials and new features. They’re easy to manage and can even be updated right from your phone. If you don’t consider yourself to be “social media-savvy”, have one of your trusted employees take the reins. Chances are, one of them is a “pro”.

Back to School– Come fall, everyone will return to their normal routine of school or work, both of which should result in more frequented visits to your shop. Student discounts and happy hour specials are great ways to get your customer base back into the swing of things. This is a perfect time to promote your menu with specials and other offerings, but in order for any promotion to be a success, preparation is required. Leave the procrastinating to the returning students, and start planning now! Check back with Stockton Graham & Co. blogs to get more ideas for back to school.

It may seem unnecessary to begin acting on these things now, but realistically, “pumpkin season” is just around the corner, and right behind that are the holidays. The 3rd and 4th quarters are traditionally the busiest, but also the most profitable, so ensuring that you and your staff are well prepared is essential. Call us today at 800.835.5943 to ask more about your mid-year checklist, and other ways to plan for a successful second half of the year!

Building Your Business with Frozen Blended Drinks!

frappeSmoothies and frappes are among the fastest growing segments in the specialty beverage industry.  According to our product vendors, frappe sales bloomed to $4.3 billion in 2012 alone. Smoothies are also on the rise… they are increasing at a sales rate of $2 billion per year and expected to reach the $9 billion plateau (worldwide) by 2015. There is money to be made with these blended specialty drinks, and Stockton Graham & Co. is here to help you!

Frozen coffees and frappes first hit the stage in the late 90’s when Starbucks introduced the “Frappuccino®”. From then on massive franchises and independent, locally owned shops alike have implanted these frozen treats into their beverage menus with tremendous success. The flavors available are endless, drinks can be blended with milk alternatives for those with dairy aversions, and health supplements can be easily added to every drink! Frappes also appeal to coffee lovers when the weather is warm, and hot drinks, like drip coffee or espresso, seem less appealing. With leading industry brand names such as Big Train, Caffe D’ Amore, Dr. Smoothie- Café Essentials and recently Torani Real Cream, adding frappes to your menu can nearly quadruple your margin per ounce.

Fruit smoothies are nothing new to this industry, but in the past few years, their sales have reached all-time highs. Fact is, only about half of the population in the U.S. claims to be “coffee drinkers”, so there is still a large market for alternative specialty beverages.  Smoothie sales are sky rocketing, not only due to the fact that smoothies are so delicious, but also because of the diversity of their market. The smoothie market appeals to children, adults, the health conscious, customers looking for a sweet treat, or those needing a meal replacement to get through their day. Nearly every fast food franchise has made smoothies a permanent fixture on their menu, showing how valuable they are to the specialty beverage menu. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we offer leading smoothie brands such as Dr. Smoothie, Torani, Jet, Monin and more, so be sure not to miss out this smoothie season!

Dr. Smoothie is offering a promotion right now to show you how well supplements fit into your smoothie business. If you buy 2 cases or more of Dr. Smoothie concentrate, you will receive a 3lb jar of Whey protein for free. Read more about this promotion and the benefits of supplements in our recent blog. DaVinci and Jet are also offering a promotion to show you how blended drinks can be easily flavored with syrups to add a special touch. Click here for more information. Our vendors know that blended drinks are a big seller, and they are looking to meet all your needs in this market.

If one or both of these drinks are missing from your shop’s menu, this is the perfect time to add them. For the rest of this month, Stockton Graham & Co. is INSTANTLY giving away several FREE cases of frappe powder or smoothie concentrate with ANY purchase of a Vitamix or Blendtec blender. The sales generated from the free product will cover the complete cost for multiple blender packages, so be sure to check this promotion out if a blender is (or will be) on your shopping list! For more information on our blender/free product promotion, visit our blending equipment page.

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to frozen beverage sales and the profits they can generate. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., we can help outfit your store with the right frappes, smoothies and blenders. We even offer a Specialty Beverage Basics Coffee College course to assist your shop in learning to prepare these blended beverages. Adding these drinks to you menu now can be fast, easy and most importantly, profitable, so be sure to call us at 800.835.5943 to get your frozen beverage program started today!

BEAN Artist: 6 Essentials of Brewing Coffee Booklet

At Stockton Graham & Co. we pride ourselves on being able to offer our customers everything they need to run a successful coffee business. We are supplying our customers with a great new brewing booklet to continue this tradition. Our “BEAN Artist: 6 Essentials of Brewing Coffee” booklet was created based on “The 6 Essentials of Brewing,” constructed by Ted Lingle in collaboration with the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Call our Customer Care Associates at 800 835 5943 with any questions or to purchase Stockton Graham Coffees, the base of a perfectly brewed cup!

* Printing Tips: When using Adobe Acrobat, make sure you print actual size and booklet if you wish to make it as close to an actual booklet as possible.

 

New Energy-Efficient Espresso Equipment Options

la amarzocco espresso machineThe new year is right around the corner, and that means it is time to evaluate your coffee shop’s needs. It’s important to ensure that your menu offers today’s trending products and that your point-of-sale material looks better than ever, but at the beginning of every year, you also should take a look at your equipment. Is your equipment running properly? Is it meeting your shop’s needs? At the busiest time of your day, is your equipment keeping pace? You count on your equipment to serve as many customers as you can, and if these goals aren’t being reached, or your equipment is just out of service, it may be time to look at more options.

From espresso machines to blenders, new equipment models are rolling out each year, and not only does the new equipment continue to include the latest bells and whistles when it comes to features, but it is also becoming more and more energy efficient. When looking into new espresso machines, energy efficient ones should be thought of as ways to save in the future. Your energy usage will drop with these “power savers”, and this will save you money over time. In this post, we are going to look specifically at the latest energy efficient espresso machine features from two of the leading espresso machine manufacturers.

Nuova Simonelli is dedicated to helping baristas serve their customers with their craft at the highest level through the application of science and technology. The “Aurelia”, made by Nuova Simonelli, is currently the official espresso machine of Coffee Fest, the USBC and the WBC. Some of this year’s new efficient features include:

• Energy Savings: The Aurelia’s body consumes less energy while at rest by trapping the heat inside the machine’s chassis. This improvement enables the machine to achieve a weekly power consumption reduction of roughly 50% from conventional machines.
• Water Saving: The thermal insulted body work allows the machines to use minimal energy to maintain steam pressure while at rest. This greatly reduces water evaporation and therefore, total daily water consumption.
• More Recyclable Material: When possible, Nuova Simonelli uses recyclable material on all components and uses recycled material when possible. From the development and design stages Nuova Simonelli strives to attain 85% recyclability and 95% recoverability.

La Marzocco is commonly considered to be among the top rank of espresso machines, and are found in coffee shops all around the world. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1927, where the machines are still hand crafted, today. For many years, it was the official espresso machine of the WBC. La Marzocco’s latest efficient features include:

• Temperature Control: La Marzocco’s new software allows you to control temperature settings. Now, individual brew groups can be turned off for greater energy savings during slower work periods!
• Boiler Insulation: Conserving energy in your coffee shop is key. La Marzocco’s newly-designed, fully-insulated boilers increase energy efficiency by nearly 20%!
• Overall Sustainability: La Marzocco machines are designed to create a minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable materials, components and packaging make their machines almost 100% recyclable!

Stockton Graham & Co. understands that purchasing new equipment, such as an espresso machine, is a big investment. We are proud to announce that we have found a way to help make this more attainable for you! Introducing Marlin Equipment Finance and Providence Capital Funding, two prestigious leasing companies that have teamed up with Stockton Graham & Co. to assist with all your equipment leasing needs!

Marlin Equipment Finance:
– Marlin offers many options both during and at the end of the lease. You can extend the term, return the equipment or purchase it for fair market value.
– The application and decision process is short with most decisions being reached within a business day.
– Upon final payment, the customer can continue to lease the equipment, return it or buy it at 10% of the original equipment cost.
– For those who can afford to pay a 10% security deposit at the beginning of the lease, with low monthly payments, the customer can use the deposit to purchase the equipment, extend the lease or return the equipment and request a refund of the deposit.
– For those who are fairly certain they wish to purchase the equipment at the end of the term, it is simply purchased for $1.00 once the lease term expires.

Providence Capital Funding:
– PCF will finance starting at $3,000 up to several million dollars if necessary. They will do 24 month leases up to 60 month leases depending on the equipment, and have monthly payments.
– Credit approval is completed within 24-48 hours with applications taken online through their secure server, by phone or by fax.
– There are no application fees.
– PCF can finance you though one of twenty banks they work with.

To get your application for a lease agreement with one of our two providers or additional information on new equipment and financing, call us toll free at 1.800.835.5943 today!