Red Rock Foods ArizonaRed Rock Foods helps coffee shops (and even bars and restaurants) make their products better. I visited their showroom a few weeks ago and got the grand tour. On the surface you might think they are just selling and distributing products like cups, syrups, and product mixes. But they are so much more. Think of them as consultants that can make your drinks taste better and at the same time maybe save you money in ways you wouldn’t expect. Better tasting drinks bring customers back again and again.

Red Rock Foods

ArtistaLeft to Right: Bill McCouley (General Manager), Fred Bartholomew (Western Regional Sales Manager for Artista Gourmet), and Steve Kessler demonstrate products in their showroom, which simulates a customers experience. They have all of the equipment (from a 2 group Synesso to Blendtec blenders and more) to make and try different drinks on site.

I was inspired by Red Rock Foods because unlike a lot of companies I meet, they actually sell on value. It’s rare to find people who do that. Most places tell you their product is better and that’s their sales pitch. When I visited Red Rock Foods they were able to demonstrate to me why certain products were better than others. I learned a lot and am sharing some of what I learned here today.

Red Rock Foods

In this photo, you can see the consistency difference between Ghirardelli Chocolate and Artista Gourmet Chocolate. The Ghirardelli works great for a number of instances however Red Rock Foods can demonstrate where it doesn’t work (taste and dollar difference). The interesting thing about this example is that Ghirardelli Chocolate is generally thought of a “the best,” but when it sinks to the bottom of the cup, can you really say it is the best for this instance?

Red Rock Foods

Here’s a closeup of Ghirardelli Chocolate, as you can see. I’ve tilted the cup but the chocolate is barely moving. This type of chocolate ends up at the bottom of the customers cup.

Red Rock Foods

Similarily, Artista Gourmet White Chocolate and Mont Blanc White Chocolate have different colors and tastes. These two had similar thickness.

Red Rock Foods

Different taste and color caramels.

Red Rock Foods

The demonstration that amazed me the most. Comparisons of three Raspberry flavors from Da Vinci, Torani, and Artista. As you can see, the Torani immediately curdled (middle) but the other two are fine. This is huge.

Red Rock Foods

General Manager Bill McCauley demonstrates some of the Red Rock Foods product line at their showroom in Tempe.

Red Rock Foods

Check out that inventory. They stock Artista and Da Vinci as well as Monin.

Red Rock Foods

By adding a spoonful of a thickening “glue” Red Rock Foods makes an ordinary mocha amazing. The mocha on the left doesn’t contain this “glue” and all of the flavor sinks to the bottom of the cup. This happens really fast, and leaves a mocha that has a strong ice taste. The one on the right had a noticeably better flavor, and I’m serious.

Red Rock Foods

Red Rock Foods has a number of interesting products that make fruit based drinks amazing. This one was strawberry flavored and tasted like fresh strawberry despite coming from a powder. You’d never guess.

Visiting Red Rock Foods was fun. Their showroom is set up in such a way that you get a feel for what it is like being a customer at your own coffee shop. They will prepare a drink for you and have you sample it. Then make another one with a slight change and have you compare. It’s rather eye opening.

If you’re running a coffee shop a visit to Red Rock Foods is a must.

Red Rock Foods is located at:
2011 E. Fifth St.
Suite #1
Tempe, AZ 85282
Phone: 480.557.ROCK
www.redrockfoods.com

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12 comments

  1. Austin

    Interesting impression of the mochas. I am going to have to look into that. I am constantly in search of making the best iced mocha in the world. (yeah I know its a lofty goal). I have been experimenting with different methods for a few years now. You should see my stock of different chocolates, cocoas, powders for thickening, powders for flavouring and such.

    We have currently have a great response to our mochas but if they can be better than i would be interested.

  2. Did you get to try anything with real coffee in it or was it all powders, sugar and syrup?

  3. That’s pretty damn cool! WAY beyond what most product suppliers will do.

    The knowing that this company exists makes me happy.

  4. They have some good stuff and know what they are doing. I should add that as a company they are a Platinum Sponsor for the upcoming Barista Jam. Bill has also been very hard at work putting together the Signature Drink and Latte Art competitions.

  5. The Ghirardelli needs to be heated just a bit. On top of the espresso machine is a great place. As far as taste is concerned, Ghirardelli will always be the superior brand and you will have to pay for it. Just put a couple of extra seconds into preparing the drink and the customers will taste the difference.

  6. Steve Kessler

    No doubt Ghirardelli is a good brand. However, it’s not made for coffee drinks. It’s made for things like ice cream. You still will have settling in the bottom of the cup. Other companies have developed chocolate sauce based on a coffee drink application. The sauces we carry have a great chocolate taste. We’ve done the comparisons on our end and chose the sauces we felt performed the best. I have switched several customers from Ghirardelli to the newer sauces. Their switching was based on taste and performance in the drink. If your ever in the area Eddie, I’d love to show you some of the demo’s we do for Coffee House owners.

  7. What are the names of the coffeehouses that you switched? I’d love to and try a mocha with the new sauce compared to when they used the Ghirradelli.

  8. Steve Kessler

    Martin,
    I know this sounds weird but I don’t feel comfortable giving my costumers names out without their consent. Feel free though to stop in by us and I’d love to make you some drinks to try for yourself. There’s always going to be those who are fans of one product over another. However, if you are interested in seeing how some of our products taste stop on in. We’re always happy to meet new people and demo any of the products we carry.

  9. Thats not to comforting, its like we switched but don’t want anyone to know.

    How about this, can anyone tell me any coffeeshops in the area that use Mount Blanc or
    Arista chocolates in their mochas? I’d like to know becaus e I don’t enjoy big globs of choclate at the bottom of my mocha.

  10. martin, it’s common practice for a business to not release the names of their clients at the drop of a hat.

    I wouldn’t read into it too far.

  11. I think Jason’s right, releasing the names of clients can be a bad idea (it depends on the industry). It’s akin to giving your competitors a sales sheet. A better approach is let a prospect know when you’re meeting with them, and maybe even use existing clients as a reference.