Consumers are king

J December 2021

Bru Coffee & Gelato talk sophisticated taste buds, wacky requests and being best placed to respond to customer demand

Consumers are becoming more educated in coffee and other food related items, research has shown, with less people answering ‘not sure’ when asked how they would like their roast. Whilst some other outlets may dread customers’ increasingly ‘picky palettes’ and ‘diva demands’, Bru Coffee & Gelato, whose head office is based in Leicester, believe that it is their role, and the role of others in the sector, to respond to customers’ evolving taste buds and to celebrate customers’ increased knowledge and confidence when ordering their brew.

Junaid Makda, Managing Director at Bru Coffee & Gelato says that they love responding to bespoke customer requests: “It’s always great to meet people who are as passionate about their coffee as we are. One of the reasons that our customers return time and time again is because of our signature 100% speciality arabica blend coffee, which more enthusiastic and educated coffee drinkers recognise and appreciate immediately. This confidence and knowledge of the product, directly leads to more bespoke requests being made and this is something that we celebrate and take as a real compliment. There are so many interesting ways that you can adapt or tweak your coffee, it would be a real shame not to take advantage of them!

“We’re always looking for ways in which we can adapt in line with consumer demands and habits – if we have the ingredients in, we will always try to accommodate them. Over the years, many bespoke customer requests have later been added to the main menu, such as the Freddo Espresso and Hot Chocolate, Greek Frappe, Dirty Chai, the Hot Spanish Rose Latte and the Terry’s chocolate explosion waffle.”

“Some of the stranger requests, which haven’t made it to the menu, include a latte with five extra shots of coffee and grilled cheese with no cheese! Customers with an extra sweet tooth have even requested a single espresso shot with six spoons of sugar plus a Spanish latte (which is already a much sweeter drink) with three extra shots of syrup, an extra shot of condensed milk and sugar – probably the sweetest teeth we’ve come across!”

The Allegra Project Cafe Report earlier this year highlighted that Latte is purchased by the most consumers in the market, followed by Cappuccino and Flat White with hot chocolate being purchased fourth in line, ahead of Americano. Coconut, Almond and Oat dairy alternatives are consumed more than the traditional Soya dairy alternatives, as consumers opt for flavour benefits from their milk as well as health or dietary benefits. Similarly, consumers are more likely to customise their drink with a syrup than they are sugar or cream.

At Bru, oatly barista is the most popular milk alternative and hazelnut the most popular syrup, although consumer tastes also vary depending on the time of year with gingerbread taking over the most popular syrup spot throughout the autumn and winter months.

Junaid adds: “We work hard to really understand what our customers want and we take great pride in our menu and the way in which we respond to changing customer demands throughout the year.

“Knowing that gingerbread is a popular flavour with our customers during the winter months, we recently launched our festive menu, which included a gingerbread latte as well as other flavours that customers associate and crave at Christmas such as the Terry’s Hot Chocolate and the Black Forest Hot Chocolate and Wafflepop.

“We’re also always open to new suggestions from customers and trying out new products that come to the market. For example, we recently tried out potato milk as a sustainable alternative to other milks already available.

“Experimentation is great fun and it’s a great way to stay agile and to keep ahead of the competition. It doesn’t always work out as hoped, but sometimes you can create something really special and unique.

“Bru is also fortunate to have a manufacturing facility in-house meaning that we can extend that spirit of experimentation right through to our signature gelato, quickly creating new and unique items based on external market factors, getting from product testing to launch in days, sometimes hours, instead of weeks and months.”

For more information about Bru, visit www.brucoffee.co.uk