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(Please Note: Often times links point to "current" articles. The link was correct at the time, but new information may have replaced it. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)

Restaurant Report E-mail Newsletter

Your On-line Source for Food & Hospitality Information

Issue #8 October 20, 1997

(This publication may be freely redistributed in its entirety)

In This Issue

* Feature Article
* Ask The Business Builder
* Links of Interest to Hospitality Professionals
* What's New at the Restaurant Report
* Contests @ the Restaurant Scene
* Additional E-mail Resources

* Promotional Opportunity!

Feature Article

by John Bowerman-Davies

Fortunately my dear, darling and adorable wife has some clients that lend us one of their houses down in the Keys, which means that we are able to take a vacation. On our first evening we went to a little "biker" hangout called HOG HEAVEN (MM 85, Islamorada). Not many bikers that night, but our friendly waitress delivered good food at reasonable prices. I noticed that they had a LAVAZZA POINT VAPORE machine, so we asked for an espresso and a cappuccino to finish the meal. The espresso was excellent, but the waitress explained that she had no idea how to make a cappuccino. No problem - my wife had another drink instead. With this machine, it's almost impossible to screw up an espresso, therefore I knew that the product would be good.

The next day we experienced "liquid sunshine" (a/k/a rain), so we motored up Route 1 to a little mall that advertised itself as having a bakery and gourmet coffee (question: do you know the difference between gourmet and regular coffee? - the answer: about $4.00 per pound!) The espresso machine was an automatic, with a knock-off automatic milk foamer on the side ( I say knock-off because the original milk foamer is made by FAEMA). The owner of the shop proudly told me that he had spent more than $8000 on the machine. But it produced terrible espresso because it was incorrectly calibrated. When I started to explain what was wrong (which is when my wife began her exit), the owner insisted that it was working just fine. I immediately remembered that I was on vacation, so I left as well.

We did find this great shop called "Island Body & Sol" (800-475-2765) that sold aromatherapy stuff, plus the owner, a wonderful lady by the name of Amy, practiced reflexology. Now let me tell you that lying back in a comfortable chair with a wonderful woman playing with your toes and feet is a great way to spend an hour (and $20) - and who cares about the espresso!

The next day dawned with more "liquid sunshine", so we drove down to Key West, and yes readers, once again my thoughts turned to an espresso. While we walked down DUVAL, I eliminated places that I could see would not produce a good espresso. By the way, the following signs are indications that your next espresso will be less than favorable:

1. Espresso spelt with an X on the menu.
2. Brew-handles not in groups, but lying around.
3. Loose coffee in an open container by the machine.
4. Steam wands that look as though they have been dipped in cement.

Finally I came upon a French bakery (that shall remain nameless) that had a machine that certainly looked reasonable, plus my wife had a desperate need to use the bathroom, and had just issued an ultimatum. And so whilst my dear wife used the "facilities", I ordered an espresso. I was met with an attitude, but since I was the only customer, I repeated my request. The way in which it was prepared, and the way the equipment was used guaranteed a bad espresso, and I threw it away immediately (but at least my wife was comfortable again!)

Why is it that so many people have espresso/cappuccino equipment, but don't know how to use it? The main reason is that the equipment seller failed to train the customer properly - possibly because even the equipment seller really didn't know how to make a good espresso. And of course, another reason is that restaurants often experience something known as staff turnover.

Remember that great espresso starts with four Italian "M"s:

La Miscela - the blend of coffee
La Macinadosatore - the grinder/closer
La Macchina - the equipment
La Mano - the hand that makes the beverage

And out of all of the above, the "HAND" is the most important since the hand is connected to the arm, and the arm is connected to the body (isn't there a song like this), and the body is connected to the head. In other words, the person makes the decision to buy the coffee. The person calibrates the grinder/closer, and the person operates the equipment. You can have the world's best coffee together with the absolutely finest equipment, but if you have an idiot operating it, you will end up with nothing. Conversely, an expert can take mediocre coffee, with lousy equipment, and probably produce a very drinkable beverage.

The dilemma of bad espresso is not limited to the Keys. It's unfortunately prevalent all over the world! And ironically, many, many restaurants continue to serve unsatisfactory espresso, and don't even know it!

John Bowerman-Davies can be reached at:

Ask The Business Builder
(c) 1997 by Ron Hudson

How do I get my customers to spend more money with me?

Give something of value first, then ask for more business. Generally, people are reciprocal in nature, so anytime you give them something of value prior to asking for anything in return, they are more likely to give you more of their money.

Ron Hudson is a marketing strategist and advisor. Grab your FREE copy of "Which One Of These Costly Marketing Mistakes You Are Making?" by sending an email to with RR as the subject.

Links of Interest

Espresso, The Perfect Way to End a Meal

An Interview with Chef Ron Siegel of Charles Nob Hill

Culinary Online
"Culinary Online is an exciting new print publication dedicated to opening up the Internet to culinary professionals and food lovers." (We usually don't pitch products in the newsletter and we're not doing that here...think of it as more of an announcement...we want to make sure you're aware of the available resources out there...even though you have to pay for this one.)

Global Wine News - from Wine Enthusiast
"The only source of daily global wine information"

Digital Chef
They've completely redone this site (although we haven't been there in a while) and it looks sure to check it out.

What's New at the Restaurant Report

In Search Of The Perfect Fish

Seafood Cooking Tips

Accountant's Corner - Record Keeping Review

Of Bottles & Kegs - A Beer Size Comparison

Building Up Mussels

Interview with David Rosengarten

Contests @ the Restaurant Scene

Omaha Steaks -
Win a $50+ steak package delivered right to your door!
4 Prizes this month!

Promotional Opportunity!

Your company can appear in the next issue! Article submissions, press releases, URL suggestions, comments, questions and suggestions are all welcome. Send your us at

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Copyright 1997 Restaurant Report

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