One establishment that knows the power coffee can have is Eggsquisite Cafe, a five-unit breakfast and lunch brand in the Dallas area. With Texas fully lifting COVID-related capacity restrictions earlier than other states, owner and operator Meff Asani noticed diners coming back into his restaurant were especially attracted to his coffee offerings—something they’d been missing.
“Coffee has always been a key component of the restaurant experience, but I think that’s especially true now,” Asani says. “Diners really expect to be able to enjoy high-quality coffee along with their high-quality food. If you don’t have that, they’re going to go somewhere else.”
Asani has been in the foodservice industry for over 40 years, and he says he’s watched the expectation for quality coffee rise a great deal in that time. There’s even a term and timeline for just how educated coffee drinkers have become—Impastato cites the Allegra World Coffee Portal and refers to it as the “fifth wave of coffee” wherein the business of coffee is evolving with hyper-professionalism in order to remain in step with the growing number of coffee lovers attuned to different brands, beans, roast profiles, brewing methods, and flavors. While boutique coffee shops have become ubiquitous and helped introduce the science and art of coffee, restaurants can now scale that same specialty experience with the right beverage partner who understands coffee and operational excellence.
“Coffee is a unique category that consumers connect with at an emotional level,” says John Fitzgerald, away from home division vice president at Segafredo Zanetti. “Operators who commit to delivering on-trend coffee offerings executed to very high standards have an opportunity to build powerful relationships with their clientele, who will choose that establishment for its coffee in the same way they’d search out a restaurant for a favorite dish.”
Rising along with the educated, coffee-drinking consumer has been a craving for different types of coffee beverages. Cold brew has been the shining star of the coffee world over the past few years, and that trend is now exploding. Third-party delivery giant Grubhub listed cold brew as the fifth most popular order—food or beverage—through their platform in 2020. Following close behind as seventh most popular was the iced latte. Cold brew is also a favorite amongst forward-thinking operators, who value the fact that the drink can be used to create any number of menu items across different dayparts.