Coffee-focused software solutions provider Cropster has launched Cropster Cafe, the company’s first major product release geared squarely towards coffee retail operations.
For the rollout, announced last week at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, Cropster has partnered with espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco, incorporating its internet-connected Linea PB, KB90 and GB5 models.
“Cropster has been known for many years for our roasting solution [Cropster Roast]; but luckily, we have great customers that always kept telling us that they would like to have a similarly integrated service for their retail cafe business,” Cropster Global Sales Manager of New Products Andy Benedikter told DCN inside the Boston Convention Center.
(Find DCN’s full coverage of the 2022 SCA Expo here.)
While tracking espresso brewing through existing or retrofitted gateways on LM machines, Cropster Cafe is designed to give cafe operators a wealth of data that can be used for quality-control and efficiency purposes.
The platform allows users to easily share recipes for individual coffees across multiple locations and machines, while also tracking the performances of individual brews to identify patterns and inconsistencies.
“A cafe owner, bar manager or trainer can use our built-in reports and check how consistent the brews have been across the locations, across the machinery and across the staff,” said Benedikter. “Nothing changes for the barista.”
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Benedikter said the reports can augment anecdotal reports that operators may receive from baristas who are creating and executing coffee recipes. Yet an overarching goal is to minimize the time staff members need to spend dialing in recipes or diagnosing inconsistencies, especially when multiple locations and machines are using the same coffees.
“This might give the owner or manager some pointers,'” said Benedikter. “They might say ‘Hey, here we have an outlier on brew time; or here are the busy times of [the] day; or this machine is operating slightly different than the others; or this is a reason this barista might need some extra training.'”
In addition to the coffee quality-control elements, the Cropster Cafe platform has a built-in task management system, designed to efficiently schedule and track the performance of routine tasks such as equipment cleaning or maintenance.
Benedikter told DCN that the cafe platform can also be integrated with Cropster’s popular Roast software to track information regarding individual green coffees or blends, from green coffee inventory and roasting all the way through to the finished brew.
The company is currently rolling out Cropster Cafe with an initial focus on connected La Marzocco machines in the United States, Europe and Australia, with other markets to follow. Benedikter said the company is also in the research phase for solutions that would allow any espresso machine to be retrofitted for Cropster Cafe integration.
For the U.S. launch, the product is offered at $29 per month per location, with no user limits.
“We train people; we make them comfortable,” Benedikter said of the rollout. “It’s a hands-free environment for the barista… For the owners or bar managers, we train them in the [management tools of Cropster Cafe] and how to use them to get the best results.”
[Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its original publication to clarify multiple technical aspects of the Cropster Cafe product.]
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Nick Brown is the editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine.