Cafe Design Consulting


Cafe Design & Operations Consulting

Flight Coffee Company offers a full range of design and consulting services related to setting up a café.  Our experience comes partially from our work with other wholesale customers on their cafés, but mostly from the fact the we built our own café in Dover, NH almost literally from studs in. 

We started with a space that had formerly been a café and had a lot of potential but needed a lot of work.  The main floor space had a hideous green counter and no plumbing or electricity for equipment.  The floor was linoleum and had mismatched colors and the beautiful brick wall was covered in purple painted wallboard:

We literally tore things down to the studs and floor joists to create one of the best third wave cafés in New Hampshire.  One example of our commitment to the environment was the use of reclaimed wood for our flooring and bar.  We think it turned out pretty awesome.

The main café floor was only part of the problem.  The existing “kitchen” was too small and had no ventilation making it useless under the current building code.  The plumbing was a mess, the water quality terrible, bathrooms had to be rebuilt… The list went on and on.  Suffice to say, there was a lot of things we wished we had known earlier in the process.

The construction of our café taught us a lot about designing and building a space that combined coffee, food, and alcoholic beverages.  As a result, we can offer a prospective café the following services:

  • Building, Health, and Life Safety Code Compliance. We’ve worked with building departments in several NH towns and know the sorts of things they will be looking for.  We can help develop designs that will meet their requirements and avoid expensive last minute “gotchas”
  • Café Design. We can help design the floorplan of your café to maximize the available space depending on your specific requirements.
  • Bar Design. A lot of thought needs to go into an effective coffee bar design.  How much equipment do you need and where should it go?  Where do we put things like cash registers and grab and go items?  A bad bar design can create significant bottlenecks in your café which leads to annoyed customers and lower sales.
  • Point of Sale Systems. There are a number of systems out there for cafes and the all have their pros and cons.  We have personal experience working with four of the major ones; Cake, Shopkeep, Shopify POS, and Square.  We can help you understand the pros and cons of each so that you select the one that works best for you.
  • Liquor. Do you plan to offer liquor (or maybe just beer and wine)?  If so, there are a number of things you need to be aware of to be compliant with NH state liquor laws.  We’ve been down that road before and can help you navigate the various hoops you will need to jump through to obtain and keep your liquor license.  The Liquor commission requires that you develop policies and procedures for your operation.  We can provide you with all of the content necessary to create a liquor operations manual that fits your specific needs.
  • Café Operations. Have you ever run a café before?  If not, you may be surprised by all the things you need to know, particularly around staffing and scheduling.  Flight Coffee has sample operations and employee manuals that we can provide.  We can also help you determine estimated staffing needs and develop your schedule
  • Food Operations. Food service is an entirely different animal from coffee service.  Furthermore, café food operations need to have the speed of a short order restaurant but serve something nicer than the typical burger and fries fare.  We can work with you to develop a menu that is interesting and that engages your customers but is also easy to prepare quickly.  If you want to expand by offering your own baked goods, we can help you with our recipes and processes to make your own tea breads, cookies, bagels, etc.
  • Equipment Selection. There is a lot of coffee brewing and grinding equipment out there.  What do you really need and what are the pros and cons of the different options?  Our team collectively has decades of experience working with all kinds of equipment, so we can help you choose and source the products that will work best for you.  We also have partner relationships with equipment vendors such as La Marzocco, FETCO, and Nuova Simonelli.
  • Equipment Calibration. Unfortunately, no one makes equipment that works perfectly out of the box.  Everything needs to be dialed in to one degree or another in order to meet your requirements.  Our experienced staff will get your equipment perfectly dialed in and are always available to assist with minor corrections as needed.
  • Training. This is the root of a successful café operation. With training options at our coffee lab in Bedford or on site at your location, we’ll make sure that your barista staff not only know how to pull a great shot of espresso, but also can talk coffee with the your most knowledgeable patrons.

Prospective customers can take advantage of any or all of the services we offer above.  We are happy to provide training and basic design and equipment selection consulting to any wholesale customer at no extra cost.  More extensive consulting can either be billed on an hourly basis or can be included for free if a customer signs a multi-year supply contract with Flight Coffee Co.  Ready to get started?  So are we!  Give us a call, shoot us an email, or just stop by the roasting plan for a chat.

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