Automatic Merchandiser

AUG 2015

Automatic Merchandiser serves the business management, marketing, technology and product information needs of its readers including vending operators, coffee service operators, product brokers, and product and equipment distributors in print.

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has created passionate and well informed consumers, leading buy- ers to purchase differently. According to Rosenberg, the coffee buyer wants more variety and better quality and they are willing to pay more for it. "You can't just have a black and a decaf, you have to have favored creamers, iced coffee, Cappucci- nos, etc.," said Rosenberg. As the economy improves, he sees more employers wanting to bring back this beneft as a competitive recruit- ment or retention strategy for their employee base because the next employer has it. "We're playing up on that," explains Rosenberg. "We've diversifed our portfolio." Accent recently added new lines and sev- eral new specialty coffee brewing systems, which have also forced the operation to evolve with equipment education and technical capabilities to service all the unique platforms. In central Texas, Rosenberg fnds single cup is very strong. Buyers often have a preconceived system in mind, but Rosenberg presents multiple solu- tions, including one they may never have seen. "We push towards a whole bean or bean-to-cup solution because it's the freshest," said Rosenberg. "There's nothing like the smell of a whole bean as it is brewed. That gives a wonderful experience for the consumer, the employee." However, where there is a strong demand for variety, a single-cup solu- tion is optimal because the systems can bring in 12 to 24 SKUs to meet every consumer palate. "And the quality has caught up, or it's at least quality enough that they are willing to sacrifce that freshly brewed pot," explained Rosenberg. As part of OCS, Accent also does pantry service — food and other items are delivered with the coffee and billed back to the location. Grow- ing out of this idea, Rosenberg has one client that pays for concierge service, where employees can shop online, place an order and Accent will deliver the item, whether it's a specifc type of almond or a certain type of jelly for a PB&J sandwich. "It's a challenge we're enjoying," laughed Rosenberg. Technology pushes proftability Accent is able to grow both the micro market and OCS businesses, while maintaining vending, by devoting time and resources to technology. Remote machine monitoring (RMM) is the most valuable investment the company has made. "Our ability to reduce routes, be more effcient and service the customer on demand is our greatest cost beneft to our orga- nization. There is nothing else I can do to strip costs and increase service capabilities than enable remote moni- toring," explained Rosenberg. It took four years for Accent to reach 100 percent RMM because they didn't move forward without the right processes, discipline and buy in from the employees. The North Texas division of Accent was the last to be converted, being com- pleted in the summer of 2015. "One thing that helped us succeed where others have failed is we didn't force it," said Rosenberg. "We moved out in the marketplace with a strong change management plan, we learned and adapted, before moving to the next route/market. " Another beneft of RMM is know- ing about an issue before the client does. "We can typically react and respond before it becomes an esca- lated issue that elicits an emotional response to leave us. It's the best thing we've ever done." While Rosenberg believes strongly in RMM, cashless is another advanc- ing technology, albeit slowly. Accent meets the coffee needs of today's consumer with a variety of quality options. Accent prides itself on its food, all produced inhouse based on trends. August 2015 Automatic Merchandiser 35 O P E R A T I O N P R O F I L E

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