The café is as big a part of British culture as football and pubs. From the classic "greasy spoon" serving a full English breakfast and mug of tea on Formica-topped tables to the Continental-style eaterie offering espresso-based drinks and paninis on bistro tables, the diversity in terms of food offering and decor is vast. But, in essence, they all offer the same thing: a place to unwind and linger over a drink or snack.
The most common spelling of the word is the French, café, which was adopted by English-speaking countries in the late 19th century, but in Britain the café is often colloquially referred to as a "caff".
Simple meals and informality are the order of the day, fitting in with today's trend towards grazing throughout the day rather than sticking rigidly to three meals at set times. Another trend that has impacted on the café market is healthy eating, with growing numbers of consumers looking for "good for you" offerings such as smoothies.
Buying the right kitchen equipment for a café begins with a realistic assessment of the customer base, what they'll want to buy and how much they'll want to spend. Café business is often light meals, snacks and beverages, and there will be many more spends under £5 per head than over it. Driving up the spend is often about adding value to the offer, and the right equipment can help to achieve that.
Buy It! has teamed up with Shop-Equip to offer readers the chance to win caf‚ kit worth a combined total of more than £1,600, featuring products from the company's varied range of catering equipment.
How to enter
One lucky reader who can answer the question below correctly will win this amazing prize. All entries must be submitted on a postcard by 15 June. Entrants should include their name, job title, company name and address, and contact telephone number. Send entries to Buy It!/Shop-Equip Competition, Caterer and Hotelkeeper, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS.
When was the French term "café" adopted by English-speaking countries?
a) Early 19th century
b) Mid-19th century
c) Late 19th century
Shop-Equip's café essentials kit includes a Tefcold upright single-door storage cooler, a Parry automatic-fill water boiler, a Samsung microwave and a Berjaya griddle.
For use either as back-up storage or for keeping products required for service easily to hand, the cooler fits into a small footprint but offers the flexibility of seven shelves coupled with a capacity of 13cu ft.
The newly designed water boiler is an automatic-fill machine and will provide boiling water all day with the facility to draw off seven litres of water at a time and enough boiling water for 255 cups every hour.
Suitable for a low-demand application on single-serving products, the microwave features five power levels, a 26-litre capacity and programmable touch controls.
The versatile griddle is small enough to fit on a counter top but, with a cooking surface of 600mm x 300mm, is more than capable of coping with the demands of a busy operation, be it sausage and bacon for breakfast, burgers for lunch or steak for dinner.
For further information on Shop-Equip call 01623 741500 orvisit the company website >>
Terms and conditions
- This competition is not open to employees or agents of Reed Business Information or Shop-Equip.
- We reserve the right to change the prize without notice and no cash alternative will be offered.
- The winner will be selected at random from correct entries, and the publisher's decision is final.
- Reed Business Information will use the contact information you provide to communicate with you on behalf of the Caterer Group. We may also use the information you have provided to send direct marketing material from ourselves relating to other products and services that may be of interest to you. Your information may also be disclosed to other companies who wish to send you information about their products and services, including our sponsor, ShopEquip. This could involve data transfer to countries outside the European Economic Area. For further information and choices please visit our data protection page or write to us at RBI, Freepost RCC2619, Haywards Heath, RH16 3BR, UK.
- The winner's name will appear in Caterer and Hotelkeeper and on Caterersearch.com.