Besides serving coffee in our cafés, we also serve brunch. Our kitchen system has been entirely reworked since the pandemic, and the new food-prep and service approach is not only more efficient and resilient to changes in the volatile hospitality industry, but also more environmentally sustainable.
If you’re a 19grams fan, you’ve probably been to more than one of our locations. You might have noticed that while each of our cafés has its own distinct personality, they all serve the same menu. This is a change to our structure that has been in place since the pandemic, and there are a few reasons why we decided to make this move.
At its core, it’s about efficiency. Having one menu across our four locations lets us prep the vast majority of the menu centrally at our HQ at Alexanderplatz. This means that we only have one delivery location for our produce, with our suppliers bringing their fresh wares to Alex as and when we need it.
Prep is then completed for all four cafés there too, which means menu components are prepared in big batches, according to the needs of each café. Not only does this make for a more consistent product, but it is also more efficient, as the bigger the batch, the less is wasted. It also allows us to better close our waste loops, as off-cuts and other waste products can be captured and reused for other menu components. There’s an awful lot of pickling and fermentation going on at Alex, and this zero-waste approach is much easier in a central, high-volume prep location than at four disparate cafés across Berlin.
This prepped food, along with any fresh produce that is used directly in the cafés, is then delivered twice-weekly to each location. Everything is transported in reusable containers, with a parade of crates, tupperware and buckets filling the 19grams van to the brim. Once the fresh produce has been dropped off, the empty containers from the previous delivery are taken back to Alex to be washed and reused.
While this centralised approach is highly efficient, it’s fair to say that it comes at the cost of variety. But we make up for this reduced diversity through another key aspect of our menu approach: seasonality.
In summer, we serve tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh beans, and cured meats from the spring. In winter, it’s all about root veg: potatoes, beetroot, parsnips, and pumpkin. This weather-dependent approach not only allows us to keep some colour and diversity on the menu, but makes for a kitchen that respects its place. We serve what is growing in and around Berlin at each time of the year, reducing the food miles behind your plate by not needlessly importing out-of-season ingredients.
Have you been to one of our cafés for brunch recently? We have an ever-changing selection of local, seasonal, low-waste food that pairs beautifully with our coffee and does its bit for the environment. Drop by some time soon!