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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ean-to-cup brewers are satisfy- ing many offce coffee service (OCS) needs. For consumers, bean-to-cup brewers fulfll a desire for hot beverages to be fresh, gourmet and single-serve. For operators, they offer a product that is generally lower in price than single-cup cartridges, providing better proft margins. Many of today's bean-to-cup machines have sleek designs with easy-to-use touchscreens and make more than a cup of coffee. In fact, some come with refrigerated dairy components and are equipped with technology to relay data in real time. The challenge, some operators fnd, is discovering the right brewer and how to create a proftable opportunity. Customization Consumers' desire for a customized cup of coffee has helped the single- cup industry, including bean-to-cup brewers, mature. Bean-to-cup brewers — which freshly grind whole beans that sit in a hopper atop the system — generally make a single cup of cof- fee, which can be further adapted to the user's liking. The brewers allow customers and operators to experiment with different beans, too. Even with a premium, specialty bean, operators have been fnding the proft margins to be better on bean-to-cup machines. That means offering customers a qual- ity hot beverage at a cheaper price. And while the brewers are not cheap, the customized, specialty hot beverages they create are similar to those employees can buy from a cof- fee shop — only enjoyed for free, in most cases. "As a matter of fact, I don't have one where the customer pays for a cup," said Jim Carbone, C.O.O. at The Classic Group and Truebrew Coffee & Tea Outftters. "And it's good for us because we can have tiers of pricing and it's proftable. But with good coffee comes high volume use, Carbone says. "Bean-to- cup brewers can be diffcult to main- tain." Carbone has one client with 25 machines across their campus and so he dedicates one employee to those machines to keep them maintained. It's about experimenting to determine the most proftable brewing method while offering a taste that consum- ers want, Carbone says. And though bean-to-cup can be a challenge to maintain, the benefts are worth it. Chuck Walton, co-owner of Ace Vending agrees. "We're trying to fnd what's the right mix; what's the right type of equipment that makes sense in each location," said Walton. "There is a population of operators who are willing to do that kind of testing, to stick their neck out in some regards, to bring something in for the longer- term opportunity." And that includes offering bean- to-cup brewers that may take a little maintenance, in order to appeal to consumer trends. High-tech Although many bean-to-cup brewers feature a modern touchscreen look on the outside, some also provide another high-tech feature for operators: telem- etry. This telemetry option allows for information to be sent back to the operator in real-time, including usage, maintenance issues, etc. In the end, it's all about consumer experience. "I think that's what customers and cli- ents want to see," said Scott Berman, vice president of refreshment services at Canteen. "Countertop bean-to-cup machines with high defnition touch- screens, national branding, milk cooler options and even vacuum extraction. Both the inside and out- side of these units are being upgraded to give a better user experience and more customizable hot beverages." B The Rise Of The Bean-To-Cup Brewer By Adrienne Zimmer, Managing Editor Bean-to-cup brewers can offer gourmet hot beverages for consumers and good proft margins for operators. Bean-to-cup brewers provide consumers with a customizable, gourmet OCS experience. August 2015 Automatic Merchandiser 9 O C S U P D A T E

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