Heating up service at 200° Coffee

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The Merrychef eikon e2s at 200° Coffee in Birmingham.

Since 2016, the centre of Birmingham has been home to the third site of the fast growing and popular independent coffee shop brand 200° Coffee. Vintage and quirky, with a unique relaxed feel, trendy décor and low lighting, 200° Coffee stands out amongst the plethora of high street shops situated around it.

The coffee shop is a popular destination for both new and existing customers alike, from the start of breakfast service at 6.30am right through until 8pm in the evening. With the dedication to serving an on-trend, fresh and standout menu, Emma Woodcock, area manager at 200° Coffee, explained how its food offering reflects this: “We try to keep our breakfast and lunchtime menus simple, very much standing by the ‘quality instead of quantity’ ethos. Usually we offer sausage and bacon baguettes, or filled croissants and pain au chocolats in the morning. Then for lunch we do a selection of ciabatta sandwiches and baguettes, sausage rolls, salads and frittatas before end of service at 3pm.

“Initially, we used a traditional panini grill in our first shop, but as we grew and began to get increasingly busy there was always a line-up of sandwiches waiting to go in the grill for 4-5 minutes. Even after investing in a second grill, 5 minutes was too long for customers to wait. We knew we had to find a solution if we wanted to keep up with the hot food demand.”

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At first 200° Coffee tried a leading brand of high speed oven, but it still wasn’t proving easy to use for staff – the door had to be slammed in order to be properly shut and if not lined up correctly, the cooking trays toppled off and were awkward when holding food. It was at this point that Woodcock and the team decided to find a better, more permanent solution: “After a lot of research and reading reviews of different high speed cooking ovens we chose the Merrychef eikon e2s and I have to say, it is worlds apart from any other cooking equipment that we’ve tried. All of our breakfast options are pre-programmed and take just 35 seconds. Since it’s been installed in each of our sites, it has made a huge difference in terms of service. The speed is the main factor as we don’t have sandwiches lined up waiting to be toasted and we can provide a hot food offering in under a minute. As a result, our food sales have really increased.

“Not only is the Merrychef fast, but the way it bakes the products itself is superior. A panini grill won’t even heat the product in the middle, whereas now our food is consistently cooked at a high standard and always hot in no time at all. We used to get a lot of squashed sandwiches and croissants so everything from the taste to the overall appearance of the food we’re serving has greatly improved.”

The Merrychef eikon e2s certainly doesn’t look out of place, sat atop the counter amongst the array of sandwiches and cakes, which was also an important factor when choosing which model, as Woodcock concluded: “We chose the Black Trend model of the e2s because it fits nicely into our aesthetic. To find an oven which we can put right at the front of every store without taking up much space, and have it reflect the whole aesthetic of 200° Coffee is really great. We also didn’t have to install any special extraction, which was a massive plus for such a piece of kit. We can just plug it in under the counter and go!”

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Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls

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