“Consumers are all expert foodies and it’s our job to respond” says Junaid Makda (pictured below), Managing Director at growing coffee shop chain, Bru Coffee and Gelato.
With consumers becoming a lot more knowledgeable about the products that they eat and drink, the industry is faced with the challenge of responding to their increasingly sophisticated palettes, and also anticipating the flavours that customers will crave in the weeks, months and years ahead.
Bru Coffee and Gelato, whose head office is based in Leicester, regularly experiment with their menu to provide new and interesting products that create a real buzz and talking point amongst their customers and beyond.
Junaid explains that, by having a manufacturing facility in house, Bru are well placed to meet customer demands quickly and effectively:
“Being able to create our own unique products keeps us agile. We can react quickly to create new items based on what our customers are telling us that they want, getting from product testing to launch in days, sometimes hours, instead of weeks and months.
“We are able to regularly experiment in our ‘R&D kitchen’ and introduce new and exclusive products, such as our Arabicalicious Waffle which features our Bru 100 per cent arabica coffee drizzle, made for coffee lovers by coffee lovers.”
With many industries currently facing supply chain issues, Bru’s demand and supply approach has not only helped them to deliver the flavours that customers say that they want, but it has also meant that they are less dependent on external factors. Junaid adds: “Having our own manufacturing facility has been extremely valuable during recent months as it has meant we have not been as affected by recent supply chain issues as some of our competitors have been. We are not as dependent on external companies, so we have greater control and insight as well as control of production schedules, supply and demand.”
The person who is responsible for creating and developing many of Bru’s unique sorbet and gelato flavours, Peter Crowe (pictured below), explains the process that goes into creating a new product for the menu: “The team at Bru are very customer driven and are constantly innovating their menu, products and flavours to align with customer demand and market trends.
“They come up with a range of possible flavours, both wild and wonderful and then I consider the feasibility of how, and if this could be created considering the manufacturing process, storage and distribution, and demand.
“We then develop a unique recipe and formula and begin making sample pours ready for testing and sampling. Following a vigorous review and feedback process, we refine and finalise the recipe and begin production.”
Peter says that he gets a huge sense of satisfaction from knowing that people enjoy the products that they make: “Creating new menu items is great fun and I really enjoy the creative process and the challenges that it presents. But the best feeling is knowing that you have created something that people really love – and this is evident when you see it being ordered again and again. One of the products that I am most proud of is the Virgin Mojito Sorbet – it’s a unique, popular and really delicious sorbet on its own or blended into an iced refresher.
“Every day is different and it’s exciting to see what trends develop and what customers crave next. I think one of our key focuses over the coming months and years will be to develop more and more gluten free and vegan products, as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the health and environmental benefits of what they eat. The products that we’ve already developed in this area have been really popular so we are constantly exploring how we can make more gluten free and vegan friendly products that taste amazing.”