News

  • Our Blog Has Moved!

    For all our latest blog content, please visit the current location of the Coffee Hound blog!
  • Time is Money

    A new addition has been made to the Coffee Hound— the Revel iPad POS (Point of Sale) and for some, it is a surprise, but for others it was a long time coming. Too often, in the middle of the night, my brain has rambling thoughts— plans, ideas, memories, etc. The other night, at 3:00 am, I began to think about how the Coffee Hound has had an evolution of sorts with our register system and how each time, the change has brought on the exact same anxieties. The fear of something new and different is a powerful enemy that I fight hard to keep myself from being stifled with.  
    When we first opened in 2002, I had to manually program our first register. I had no idea what I was doing or even a basic concept of how any system would work for the cafe. Things like taking the customer’s order with all the details of their specific drink and then relaying this information to the barista to hand off to the customer, was not really thought through until after we opened our doors.  We opened up and were so much busier than we had anticipated (in the business plan), that it forced us immediately into thinking about speed, efficiency, accuracy, and quality when developing a system. We started using post-it notes to communicate the drink orders to the barista. The cashier would write down the order and pass it to the barista; the barista lined the post-it notes up on the espresso machine and as the drink was completed, put the note on the cup and then handed it to the customer. We had special short abbreviations for all of the drinks— Vanilla Latte was VLT, Mocha Bianca was MochaB and so on.  This programable register stayed with us for the next four years before making a leap to the next system.
     
    In 2006, we moved into the relm of POS. There was so much to fear and the biggest of all was the cost.  There was a reason only mega chains at that time had sophisticated mechanical devices.  Each store’s system cost $17,000 for a single terminal and we had to use creative financing to make this happen (high interest loans). I spent the next two years paying the devil back. This doesn’t account for all of the other hidden costs I did not expect. Some of these hidden costs were things like $60 for fifteen minutes of non-business hour calls, mandatory credit card compliance software updates, constant replacement of hardware breaking down and so on.  After all the cons, what were the pros?  We got faster!  Reports gave accurate information and were valuable to analyze data and make better business decisions.  Like with any computer system, after seven years, it was time to replace with updated technology.  
    Now, in 2014, it’s the era of iPad systems. I actually have spent the last three years waiting for an iPad system that would replace what we had been using.  In 2011, an iPad could act as a simple cash register, but not a full on POS that would collect data, create reports, process gift cards, etc.  By 2012, I noticed big changes in register systems, mostly due to icloud technology.  By 2013, I found the system we recently have switched to, and committed to making the switch over.  The new system was affordable, without resorting to crazy financing. It’s sleek, allows me to work from home while watching TV and playing video games, and makes advances in customer service— but that’s a whole other blog…..
  • Brew Bar in Bloomington

     Our Bloomington location is excited to announce our new Clever Drip Brew Bar! Coffee Hound is loving the clever dripper, a full immersion brewer, like a french press and pour over combined. This extra clean brew method is becoming the go-to for all Hound baristas and we love sharing our love of coffee with our customers!

    If you would like a demonstration, just order a cup! Right now we are clever brewing our Natural Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Konga and our Kenya Nyeri Gatomboya. These beans are fantastic on their own, but the clever makes them really shine! 

    You can also try the Natural Ethiopia as a single origin espresso! Just stop into the shop and ask your favorite barista to pull you a double or add it to your favorite latte! 


  • March Madness

    March Madness

    by April Fritzen


    Back in March of 2002 is when the concept for Coffee Hound came to life. 

    Background information: Life before Coffee Hound for Steve and April Fritzen. 
    Steve and I both worked in the construction industry.  Steve was a paint contractor and working with his brother for about ten years.  I was a construction manager for a non-profit organization training young people in life skills and job training.  After Steve's brother left the painting business, Steve no longer wanted to continue alone and began thinking about a new career direction.  Thoughts of going back to college, being a full time musician, and opening a breakfast/lunch restaurant were all on the table at the time.  After much thought he began to focus on finding something that we could do together, so he then steered more toward the restaurant idea.


    Owners Steve and April Fritzen cupping at the Normal shop


    The beloved Hound Mobile

     I think it's pretty common knowledge that the restaurant business is pretty risky and most seem to fail.  Steve began doing research on how to have a successful business, where to begin and what to do.  Somewhere along the way, he ran across a website talking about how to start up an espresso based cafe.  http://www.espressobusiness.com/index.html  Steve read through this website one day in March of 2002 and then called me at work to say, " We are going to open a coffee shop!"  Coffee Hound opened in August of 2002.  Although it was a short time frame from conception to fruition, there was a great deal of work in-between and ever since.  


    The front of the Hound in 2002


    Construction of Bloomington Shop, 2002

    Ten years later: 
    Somewhere along the line I read most small business's fail with in the first five years.  When I think of Coffee Hound, I do think of "success," but I also continually feel the strain to do what ever it takes to stay in business.  In a nut shell, damn it is hard!  What keeps us going?  As mentioned earlier Steve and I wanted to work together and that has been a real driving force to get us through many obstacles.  We are passionate about what we are doing and it is never mundane. Specialty coffee is a relatively young industry and is constantly evolving.  We enjoy changing with it and try to stay on the cutting edge of what is going on.  Sometimes change is difficult for both our customers and our employees, but over time we have learned to not let fear of the unknown stop us from forging ahead.  


    Coffee Pup 

    In August we kicked off our ten year anniversary with a big party, but we want to milk this out a bit further.  Since the month of March is our Coffee Hound conceptual month we are going to take March Madness to a whole new level.  We are rolling back the prices on all of our latte drinks to the year 2002.  Move over $2.00 Tuesday, every day in March will be even better than that.  You may be thinking how can it be possible to do this.  Well, we need your help to make it work.  Volume is the key here.  Bring a friend, come more often and spread the word!  

    March Madness Menu:

    Hot or Iced         

                            

    12 oz (Regular) 16 oz (Medium) 20 oz (Large)
    Caffe Latte $1.95 $2.50 $3.00
    Vanilla Latte $2.50 $3.00 $3.50
    Caramel Latte $2.50 $3.00 $3.50
    Mocha $2.50 $3.00       $3.50