Lunch Service ends September 28

September 18, 2014

turkey-and-brieEcho has been in business for over four years now, and throughout that time, we have offered lunch from 11am-3pm. Unfortunately, the economics of offering lunch have never been favorable, and regretfully, Sunday, September 28th, 2014 will be the last day that we offer lunch.

This means, that on Monday, September 29th, we will no longer offer the sandwiches and salads on our lunch menu. We will still have coffee, tea, and pastries. We will still be making our vegetable quiche. We will still offer yogurt w/ house made granola. But we will no longer have sandwiches or salads.

I know for a few people, this will be disappointing. It’s certainly disappointing for me as well. I hope those that are disappointed understand it’s not a decision I am making lightly. Rather, it’s a decision based on 4 years of data in both costs and sales for this portion of the menu. To give the simplest numbers, a typical lunch service for Echo has approximately 10 lunch item sales. Those 10 sales have never paid for the additional labor costs, food costs, and food waste, associated with that portion of the menu, and thus I think most people can now “do the math” and see this is really not an effective part of the business.

Echo certainly has days and sometimes even weeks where the lunch menu makes sense as a part of the business (we break even around 20 sales). But the vast majority of days and weeks it doesn’t make business sense, and thus I am compelled to end this grand experiment.

Looking forward, I think lunch (or food service in general) could have worked at Echo Coffee, had both the kitchen and the dining room been larger. In looking at reasons why lunch doesn’t work, part of the reason is that people do not feel confident they can come to Echo for lunch and find a place to sit. By 10am, most days, Echo’s dining room is fairly crowded. As well, the smaller kitchen means that our lunch service is limited in the types of sandwiches we can produce as well as how quickly we can satisfy rushes since its a 1 person space.

Should there ever be a second location for Echo Coffee, I’ll consider these factors carefully in my space planning.  For this location, due to parking load calculations by the city of Scottsdale, the dining room is already the largest we are allowed to have.  It’s also why I never considered expanding the shop “back in the day”, before the bike shop was built.


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