What Are Micro Markets?
Micro markets are miniature food retail spaces with self-checkout technology. Along with being a large foodservice trend for this year, these new miniature markets are focused on being convenient, healthy, and simple for any customer choosing the micro market experience. Continue reading to learn more about micro markets, the differences between micro markets and vending machines, and where you might find them.
What Is A Micro Market?
Micro market vending consists of open shelves and refrigerated food kiosks that offer healthy pre-made food, fruit, drinks, and coffee, while also using an automated payment system at checkout for maximum convenience. Micro markets are also similar to vending machines, but the two types of food dispensers have various differences.
Think of micro markets as your mini supermarket. Micro markets provide customers with alternative food options to purchase for breakfast or lunch. With an easy-to-access location, micro markets are where you can grab a snack or meal and go on with your day.
Micro Markets vs Vending Machines
Micro markets may seem very similar to vending machines, but they do have their differences. Here’s a breakdown of the main differences between micro markets and vending machines.
- Use of a touchscreen automated service and tap-to-pay payment options
- Modern grab and go food stand
- Open-style purchasing
- Restocked daily
- Healthier snack and meal options
- Accepts coupons and loyalty cards
- Various types of payment options
- Restocked on a strict fulfillment schedule
- Dispensing can be fickle
- Enclosed-style purchasing
- Limited variety of food offerings
- Refrigerated machines for drinks
Where to Find Micro Markets
Because micro markets are extremely easy to set up, they can be established almost anywhere that provides a power outlet and reliable internet connection. The micro market also needs to have access to refrigeration to keep grab-and-go food cold and at a food-safe temperature for consumption. With the increasing popularity of micro markets, you might notice them in the following places:
- Corporate office buildings
- Academic buildings
- Senior care facilities
- Government offices
- Health clubs
Micro markets are becoming more popular and do present a great business opportunity for many entrepreneurs and existing business owners to provide food options to customers. Level up any facility's food options with micro markets! Your employees or visitors will love the easily accessible and healthy food options micro markets provide.
Back to School Shopping List for Cafeterias
For many school and university students across America, August marks their last month of vacation, which means the first day of classes is quickly approaching. Not only are students and teachers preparing and shopping for school supplies, but foodservice professionals are, too. Whether you operate an elementary, middle, or high school cafeteria or you’re the manager of a university dining hall, you’ll want to take a look at our back to school list. Read on to make sure you're prepared for the start of school with cafeteria supplies and equipment that will make your daily meal service more efficient and safe. Paper, Plastic, and Foam Disposables When you’re serving hundreds of students per day within a four hour time span, it’s important to have products that enable fast and easy cleanup. We offer a selection of disposables ranging from napkins and straws to sandwich paper and trays. Students can simply throw these products out at the end of their lunch period, which means there will be fewer dirty dishes for the cafeteria staff to wash. Below, we’ve provided a list of the most popular school cafeteria disposables, so you can stock up for the beginning of the school year. Dispenser Napkins Shop Now Sandwich Paper Wrap Shop Now School Milk Straws Shop Now Foam School Trays Shop Now Trays, Dinnerware, and Silverware The best tabletop supplies for school cafeterias are ones that offer unmatched durability, functionality, and convenience. That’s why we carry individually wrapped flatware, plates, utensils, and cafeteria trays made from materials that are resistant to cracking, shattering, and breaking. You’ll also appreciate that most of these tabletop products are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. Shop the best tabletop supplies for school cafeterias to ensure meal service runs smoothly in your establishment. Cafeteria Trays Shop Now Flatware Shop Now Plastic Tumblers Shop Now Melamine Plates Shop Now Food Containers, Dispensers, and Salad Bars Set up an organized and presentable self-serve station with our various servingware supplies. Fill condiment dispensers with popular dips like ketchup, mustard, and mayo. You can use crocks to hold fresh veggies, salad dressings, and croutons, and set them out in your salad bar. Food pans also hold your veggies, entrees, and sides while they're being heated in your steam table during service. In order to keep your condiments, toppings, ingredients, and other foods fresh and protected from contaminants, check out the popular servingware items for school cafeterias below. Steam Table Food Pans Shop Now Condiment Dispensers Shop Now Salad Bar Crocks Shop Now Portable Salad Bars Shop Now Condiments, Seasonings, and Canned Foods Preparing lunch in high-volume establishments is already difficult and time-consuming enough, so stock up on our selection of ready-to-use consumables. We offer bulk condiments that allow students to customize their sandwiches, wraps, and salads. You can also set out canned fruit in your salad bar as a healthy side alternative. Additionally, salt, pepper, and cooking oil are essential ingredients to have on hand, and they’ll add flavor to your meals. Below, we've listed some of our consumables that are ready to be added to your favorite recipes, so you can start preparing delicious meals in your cafeteria. Bulk Condiments Shop Now Salt and Pepper Shop Now Canned Fruit Shop Now Cooking Oil and Sprays Shop Now Cafeteria Equipment In order to prepare lunches, keep food hot, and maintain speedy service, it’s important to outfit your kitchen with the proper equipment. Our selection of cafeteria equipment includes school milk coolers to keep drinks chilled. You’ll also find combi ovens that allow you to perform multiple cooking tasks in the same machine and warewashing units that can clean and sanitize your dishes. Additionally, be sure your establishment has an ice maker machine to keep ice readily available for drinks or salad bars. Check out the list below to find the equipment that's best suited for your cafeteria or dining hall. School Milk Coolers Shop Now Combination Ovens Shop Now Commercial Dishwashers Shop Now Undercounter Ice Machines Shop Now By stocking up on these essential back to school cafeteria supplies, you'll be able to prepare delicious meals for the students in your school or university. Whether you're looking to completely update your kitchen or you just need to replenish your inventory for the upcoming semester, we have the products you need. Also, don't forget to shop at WebstaurantStore throughout the year for all of your cafeteria supply needs!
Choosing Self-Contained or Remote Refrigeration
Every kitchen, whether it's a small cafe or a large cafeteria, needs somewhere to store cold foods. Refrigerators come in many different sizes and styles, which is useful because it allows you to purchase the option that best suits your restaurant's layout and individual needs. When shopping for a refrigerator for your restaurant, you may come across the terms "self-contained refrigeration" and "remote refrigeration," and you'll notice that there is a large price difference between the two. In this blog we'll break down the differences between self-contained and remote refrigeration and each of their unique pros and cons to help you make the best decision for your establishment. Shop All Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers What Are Self-Contained Refrigeration Units? Self-contained refrigerators are appliances that house all of their components, such as the condenser and evaporator, inside the unit itself. These types of refrigerators are the most popular option used, and they comprise nearly 90% of refrigerators used in commercial kitchens. Pros of Self-Contained Refrigeration Here are some benefits to choosing a self-contained refrigeration unit: Self-contained refrigerators are very easy to set up, and many allow you to just plug them in and start using them. Everything you need to set up your refrigerator comes in one convenient purchase. Because everything is housed in one unit, it's easy for repairmen to service your refrigerator if there is an issue. Self-contained units can be moved easily. Cons of Self-Contained Refrigeration While there many benefits to these refrigerators, here are a few downsides to choosing a self-contained unit for your restaurant: Self-contained units create a lot of heat, raising the temperature in your kitchen very quickly. As a result of the hot air in your kitchen, your air conditioning will have to work overtime to compensate, resulting in a higher utility bill. The evaporator and condenser on these units can be loud, which is not ideal if you have an open concept or small kitchen, as it can disrupt guests. What Are Remote Refrigeration Units? Remote refrigerators are insulated cold food storage areas that are outfitted with an evaporator inside, but the compressor and condenser are located in a remote area away from the refrigerator itself. Typically, foodservice establishments will place their condensers and compressors on the roof, depending on the climate, or in a cool basement. Because the components that give off the most heat, the compressor and condenser, are moved to a separate location, remote refrigeration units are ideal for restaurants that have heat concerns, such as establishments with poor ventilation or low ceilings. Additionally, if you have a large grocery store, deli, or commissary kitchen that operates multiple coolers, remote options are an excellent choice because they keep your interior cool and comfortable for your guests and also remove the noise from the condensers. Pros of Remote Refrigeration Here are some benefits to using remote condensing units in your establishment: Because there are fewer components in the main body of the refrigerator, remote refrigerators have more storage space. Remote refrigerators eliminate any noise issues, which is ideal for display units or refrigerators in grocery stores. These products can reduce your electric bill because your fridge will be producing less heat that your air conditioning needs to deal with. If you operate in a cool climate, installing your condensers and compressors on the roof or outside can help your unit run more efficiently. Cons of Remote Refrigeration Even though there are many benefits to choosing remote condensing refrigerators in your establishment, there are some downsides as well: Remote refrigerators are more expensive to install because you need a professional to run lines from your kitchen to wherever you want to install the compressor and condenser. Additionally, because the components of your refrigerator are separated, they're more difficult and time-consuming to repair. Remote refrigeration units have the potential to increase your utility bills because they require more power to move the coolant from the body of the fridge to the remote compressor and condenser. Self-contained and remote refrigerators are both excellent choices for different types of foodservice settings when you're looking for a new refrigerator. But, while there are some instances where choosing a remote refrigerator is an ideal option, in most restaurants a self-contained refrigerator is the perfect option due to its easy setup and versatility. When it comes to refrigerators, though, it's best to consider your options and think about which type of refrigerator is best for your establishment's unique situation and needs.
Top Coffee and Tea Trends of 2024
In 2024, coffee culture will become more enigmatic than ever before. To attract customers, coffee professionals are using unique brewing methods, catering to the ready-to-drink market, and creating extravagant presentations. When tea rose to prominence in 2023, most coffee shops started offering tea lattes, kombucha, and loose-leaf teas. Modern coffee shop food menus are often extensive, events are common, and wine lists aren’t out of place. Perhaps it's time to put the term "coffee shop" to rest in favor of "all-day cafe". From trends affecting the entire foodservice industry to menu trends, discover what you can expect to see emerge in the nonalcoholic beverage industry this year. <figure> </figure> Premiumization While it may seem counterintuitive given rising costs for both customers and operators, premiumization is key to coffee shops' success in 2024. Considering hard economic times, customers want their coffee shop drink to offer a pretty distraction that feels like a treat and looks great in photos. Many customers learned how to make specialty coffee drinks, (ex. Dalgona Coffee) at home during the pandemic, so, if they’re going to spend money at a coffee shop, they want to be served something they cannot create themselves (at least not without great difficulty). <figure> </figure> Coffee Food Trucks and Carts Coffee food trucks and carts have a lower startup cost than opening a coffee shop storefront. During this economically challenging year, mobile vending will allow new entrepreneurs to enter the coffee market, and storefront owners who are having difficulty breaking even can shift to this model to remain profitable. Another benefit of starting a food truck is it allows you to go to your target audience. Park your food truck near college campuses, hospitals, and sports stadiums. You can also set up booths at farmers' markets and other local events. <figure> </figure> Hybrid Business Models Coffee shops that only sell coffee are almost non-existent, and even creative coffee and food pairings aren’t enough to stand out anymore. Many coffee businesses are offering other services like bookstores, Pilates, and sober bars to attract more customers. What's even more cost-effective is to approach an existing business and ask to add a coffee program to their operation. By adding on to a business with a location and core customer base already in place, you can cut your operational costs and reduce the need to advertise. <figure> </figure> Tea Bombs Tea bombs are a blend of tea and botanicals encased within a dissolvable, isomalt sugar shell. When hot water is poured over the sugar globe, it dissolves and adds sweetness to the beverage while enabling the tea ingredients to steep. With their captivating visual appeal and unique flavor profiles, tea bombs have taken TikTok by storm and become a huge hit among tea enthusiasts. Coffee shops and tea bars will be creating a luxurious experience for their customers by adding tea bombs to their menus in 2024. <figure> </figure> Themed Pop-Up Events Operators are embellishing the aesthetic of their coffee shop and coming up with creative menu items for themed pop-ups and events. Themed pop-ups, like transforming your business into Central Perk from the sitcom Friends, can draw huge crowds, especially if it's advertised on TikTok and other social media platforms. To be successful, play into pop culture with cult followings. Examples are offering a Hobbit Day menu on September 22nd, a Star Wars theme on May 4th, or playing into fall vibes by creating a Gilmore Girls-inspired Stars Hollow Fall Festival pop-up. These events are also great opportunities to sell themed, branded merchandise. <figure> </figure> Floral Tisanes Floral flavors like jasmine, rose, lavender, hibiscus, and eucalyptus are expected to experience steady growth in the year 2024 according to Jaime Lynn Lawrence, an R&D application scientist at Flavor Insights. This projection is based on the ever-increasing demand for health and wellness products among consumers. Since the rise of tea is dually motivated by its artfulness and health benefits, floral tisanes align perfectly with both motivating factors. Lavender is known for its calming properties, while hibiscus is rich in antioxidants. Floral teas also create a luxurious feeling, especially when garnished with edible flowers. <figure> </figure> Cold Foam According to Texas Coffee School, cold coffee drinks outnumber hot coffee drinks year-round, and they’re a favorite amongst Gen Z. Cold foam has gained celebrity status alongside the trend towards cold coffee. Cold foam turns cold brew into a gourmet beverage that rivals lattes and cappuccinos. Coffee shops will continue to come up with creative cold foam flavors to enhance their iced coffees and cold brews. Cold foam can act as a pillowy shelf to hold sprinkled-on sweet treats like cookie crumbles, spices, and chopped candies, creating Instagram-worthy drinks. <figure> </figure> DIY Tea Blends As tea continues to gain traction with Gen Z, a creative trend is to offer patrons the opportunity to build their own tea blend. Customers can choose from different types of tea and tisane ingredients to create a DIY tea blend that suits their personal flavor preferences. Operators can either brew their customers' DIY tea or sell it for them to take home. Patrons increasingly want to customize their beverages, and they also are looking for unique experiences when they go out. DIY tea blends are an excellent way to capture both trends and fulfill consumer preferences. <figure> </figure> Drive-Thrus Drive-thru coffee has become an increasingly popular option for busy Americans on the go. Statistics reveal that a staggering 50 percent of Americans now prefer to get their coffee from drive-thru operations. This trend is driven by the convenience and speed that an efficient drive-thru offers. With this significant demand, many coffee shops are adding drive-thrus or even adopting a drive-thru-only business model. <figure> </figure> Blue Moon Thai Tea Blue moon Thai tea is a trendy and refreshing beverage that will gain mainstream popularity in 2024. This unique drink is a blend of butterfly pea tea, black tea, and sweetened condensed milk, giving it a creamy and slightly sweet flavor. Blue moon Thai tea is often served over ice and topped with boba pearls. Its vibrant blue hue and delicious flavor have blue moon Thai tea trending in coffee shops as well as traditional boba businesses. <!-- </div> --> What Is Driving 2024's Coffee and Tea Industry Trends? Digital exposure to trends, a post-pandemic mindset shift, and the economic climate are the key drivers behind the coffee and tea industry trends in 2024. The public is highly engaged with social media; the average daily time spent on social media apps is 3.5 hours in America, which equates to 1,300 hours a year according to a Uswitch study. Subsequently, consumers are exposed to a plethora of information and trends, shaping their preferences and choices. Another driving force is the lasting fallout from the pandemic which created a mindset shift towards prioritizing health, wellness, and sustainability. This shift has led to an increased demand for specialty and functional beverages, such as herbal teas and organic, single-origin coffee. Lastly, the economic climate plays a crucial role, as businesses adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences while navigating the challenges posed by supply chain disruptions and rising costs. 1. Digital Exposure: In our digital age, we are exposed to countless trends, cultural traditions, and information throughout the day. Customers expect the same breadth of options and creativity in their reality as they see online. 2. Post-Pandemic Mindset Shift: In a post-pandemic world, the consumer desires either convenience or experiential foodservice experiences they can’t get at home. 3. Economic Climate: Many of these innovations are driven by the resourcefulness of operators working to stay afloat. With rising costs, coffee professionals must be strategic in how they operate and increase the perceived value of their services. Long gone are the days when coffee shops just offered classic coffee drinks. While traditional cappuccinos and lattes were once luxuries, they've become commonplace. From changes in operational practices to menu trends, reference back to our list of the top coffee and tea industry trends of 2024 to increase your profit margins. <aside class="pquote"> <blockquote> The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Please refer to our Content Policy for more details. </blockquote> </aside>