Why Waffled Entrees and Coffee?
How a playful, all-day menu creates a unique, memorable experience
It started with a flash of inspiration. Founder and CEO of Just Love Coffee Cafe, Rob Webb, knew early on that in order to create a viable, profitable business model, even the finest hand roasted specialty coffee wasn’t going to be enough to create the kind of environment that would facilitate a memorable customer experience. Just Love Coffee Cafe needed a full menu of food.
But what kind of food? Being that Just Love Coffee Cafe takes the art of making coffee extremely seriously, Rob wanted a menu that would lighten the mood and remove the pretension that specialty coffee is often wrongly or rightly associated with. Not only did the food have to be fun, but it also had to be easy to prepare and easy to cook without the use of a full kitchen. It had to be simple. Then it hit him. Waffle irons.
“Once I had the thought that you can cook more than waffles in a waffle iron, I immediately set off to the supermarket and loaded up on all kinds of food,” Rob says. “It took a lot of playing around and making messes, but in the end, I came up with a really simple menu that wowed our team. By limiting our menu to a few ingredients, we realized that we could have a full-day menu of breakfast and lunch food. We could serve omelettes, breakfast burritos, wraps, sandwiches, you name it, and all of our food would have a really original look that would encourage our guests to take photos and share on Instagram and Facebook. It really set our brand apart from the get-go.”
The practical appeal of our food menu
A waffle iron-based menu creates unique and playful food offerings that differentiate Just Love Coffee Cafe from any other coffee shop in the nation and also inspires our customers to share photos of their food with their social media networks. From an owner-operator standpoint, though, food just doesn’t get any easier.
For starters, cooking on a waffle iron means that there is no need for a full kitchen and a full kitchen staff, which keeps both the overhead low and reduces the need for a large footprint. It also greatly increases the ability to maintain high quality control standards in terms of both taste and the speed at which food can be served to your customers. Of course, it also increases the potential level of profitability a new franchise owner can expect.
“There aren’t a whole lot of coffee shops that offer an all-day food menu, and certainly none that I can think of that cooks their food in a waffle iron,” says DJ Smith, Marketing & Creative Director of Just Love Coffee Cafe. “It’s been wildly successful for us. Right now, our sales are evenly split, 50/50 on coffee and food, and our average ticket prices have increased significantly to $10 to $12 per customer. Most importantly, our food creates a memorable experience for customers with any taste or dietary preference, from meat lover to vegetarian, at any time of day. It really makes us quite unique, light hearted and approachable.”
Catering is a big potential revenue stream
The ability to offer a unique menu that caters to all tastes and dietary preferences at any time of day creates a tremendous opportunity for franchise owners to take advantage of catering as an additional revenue stream.
Kevin Bauerle, Director of Franchise Development, says “Catering is becoming a big source of revenue for us. Our food is such a special experience that it works just as well for business luncheons as it does for birthday parties, baby showers and holiday get-togethers. By serving food that is easy to prepare and fast to serve, catering a big event becomes a breeze for Just Love Coffee Cafe franchise owners.”