2011

Building Your Coffee Service Business: Tools to Help You Succeed from NAMA

While most businesses today are working to compensate for a sluggish economy, coffee service providers are enjoying a strong market with a bright future. Thanks to a demand created mostly by gourmet coffee houses like Starbucks, coffee service operators who understand the benefits coffee services delivers to businesses as well as how to brew a gourmet-quality cup of coffee at the workplace are poised to tap into this quickly growing market and enjoy the associated profits. And as Director of Coffee Service for the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) I wanted to share with you some of the resources that are available through our organization to help you grow your business and succeed.

First, many, many businesses today do not understand the value coffee service delivers to the company in terms of increased productivity and improved morale. It’s easy to see why: employees who enjoy quality coffee at work don’t need to leave the office to get a good cup of coffee, which make them both happy and more productive.

In addition, many employers today do not understand how inexpensive coffee service is as a benefit when compared to other traditional employee benefit packages. For example, an employer who offers employees a typical benefit package that includes health insurance, life insurance, long term disability insurance, worker’s comp, paid vacation and holidays generally will spend $875 a month in benefits. However, the average cost to employers for adding coffee service as a benefit is only $6.12 per month!

For coffee service operators, this translates into a tremendous opportunity to create new revenue streams by educating prospects about the benefits of coffee service. And there’s no question that operators who understand not only how to tap into these opportunities, but also how to deliver an upscale gourmet coffee house experience, are poised for a new level of growth and prosperity.

At NAMA, we are seeing many members expanding their current coffee service program in order to participate in this growth market, as well as others just launching a coffee service program. Coffee service has been a priority at NAMA for the past five years, which is why we have been working to help members understand both how to improve their business operations, and also to deliver insights about how to brew the very best coffee possible.

For example, our Quality Coffee Certification Program (QCCP) helps operators in coffee service understand all aspects of gourmet coffee to help them increase profits for the company. The QCCP is entering its 11th year of providing the finest educational experience devoted entirely to the office coffee industry, and we are pleased to announce that since its inception, over 1,000 individuals have completed the two-day workshops. This highly regarded and popular program is delivered in two separate courses of study to be taught in back-to-back days, beginning on the first day with “Coffee Fundamentals,” and followed on the second day with “Brewing Fundamentals.”

In the Coffee Fundamentals component of the program, attendees learn about everything from blended coffees and coffee processing, to sorting, grading, blending and roasting and how the location of the bean affects its flavor. The session also includes a series of guided tasting exercises where attendees can experience the differences themselves.

For the second part of the program, Brewing Fundamentals, participants learn the basic theory and principles involved in preparing filtered coffee. They taste how the slightest change in the brewing formula can alter the taste profile. In addition, participants review the results from an in-depth study of single-portion products and equipment, and after sharing the processes established for our industry, participate in a hands-on evaluation of single-portion coffee systems.

Another not-to-be-missed event for those serious about succeeding in coffee service is our blockbuster Coffee Tea & Water event, the must-attend single largest coffee, tea and water service show for operators nationwide. The show is an excellent chance to see what’s new, meet with colleagues and learn how to do things better, all while enjoying the fun and glitz of Las Vegas.

At the heart of our Coffee Tea & Water events are the education sessions dedicated to helping operators improve each aspect of their operations. For example, some past events included sessions on sales, business building, better understanding the employee of the future, and other sessions dedicated to delivering insights designed specifically to help meet operator education needs. Coffee Tea & Water also boasts tabletop displays featuring suppliers of coffee, tea, and related services showcasing the latest in equipment, products and services. Finally, the event includes plenty of time for networking and enjoying all that Las Vegas has to offer.

For more information about the resources available from NAMA to help you and your business prosper, visit www.namacoffeeservice.org. All of us in Coffee Service at NAMA are passionate about our work and dedicated to providing everything our members need to better understand the market, increase profitability and prosper. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop tools and strategies that help welcome in a new era of success for you and your business.

ARoger Stewart, NCE5, CCS Director of Coffee and Water Service. Joined NAMA in 2003. Previously was VP of operations for USRefresh, a division of US Office Products. He lived in Seattle, WA, working at Starbucks Corporate office as Director of Special Markets and later was President of AAA Coffee Service with branches in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and two locations in Southern California.

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