60 Second Review: Caffe Bene
A quick update for Caffe Bene – which opened up recently downtown on Hudson Street.
For starters, the place is intelligently laid out, with nice earth-tone decor and comfortable seating.
The coffee definitely was a step up from diner java – and my friend who tasted the gelato said it was quite good. The other “treats” on the menu were quite expensive for a fast-food type coffee-shop / chain – but I suppose they’re worth it, as customers were buying them (how long that lasts before the novelty wears off remains to be seen.) The sandwiches appeared to be in the reasonably-priced range (although much more than Subway).
Judging by the weekday traffic in the middle of the afternoon – I’d venture to guess that Caffe Bene will survive. The staff was a bit lethargic with an apparent “bare minimum effort” mentality (albeit cordial enough). Not sure if that was because they are “still learning,” or that we have an entire generation of clueless idiots about to hit the service-industry workforce.
How this impacts local coffee places that also opened (like Bean Vault) is unknown. But Caffe Bene is in a very strategic spot, and considering that Dunkin’ Donuts around the corner has terrible QC issues (and horrible coffee) certainly won’t hurt.
Description: South Korean coffeehouse modeled after European Coffeehouses, located here in America.
Address: 79 Hudson Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Caffe Bene | 79 Hudson St. | Hoboken, NJ
Caffe Bene is a coffee chain that originated from South Korea (in 2008), and has been “exploding” on the US market since 2012 (currently over 1300 stores worldwide).
“Caffe Bene is the leading franchise in the South Korean coffee market. We’ve modeled ourselves on the traditional European coffeehouse. Caffe Bene is a destination for rest and relaxation amid the more hectic scenes of city living. Through our coffee and delectable food items, we offer satisfaction in its simplest form.”
Hmm. A South Korean “model” of a “European” coffeehouse. So it doesn’t really matter where they’re from or what they’re “modeling,” right? Isn’t that the same as saying “we’re copying someone else?” Or “our idea wasn’t good enough, so we took an existing one?” Or “our crappy pizza was no good, let’s copy the brick oven place two doors down?” (the last one was an actual Hoboken example…)
Anyway, I guess all the “original” ideas have been used up, and everything from now going forward will be a replication. (At least they attributed their source!)
They’ll serve waffles, gelato, coffee and other “sweet treats,” along with brunch and baked goods. As you can see above, their “uniforms” are almost a flashback to the 70’s! (Although the two guys in the middle have that “rather be elsewhere” look on their faces…”)
Regardless what I mentioned above, the company does seem like a pretty fun place to work, and the owner appears to be the “straight-forward type” businessman. Perhaps that’s why they’re successful at the rapid expansion. Either way – good luck to Caffe Bene, and may the place remain occupied for at least five years!