Coffee can be an extremely lucrative business for hotels when executed in the right way. With over 2 billion cups of coffee drunk ‘out of home’ every year in the UK there is a huge market for premium coffee. Read on to discover our top tips to creating a ‘wow factor’ coffee experience.
Introducing premium coffee as part of your hotel bar or restaurant offer can be a great way to keep guests on-site, grow your daytime trade, and also attract new professional clients who are looking for somewhere to meet colleagues and clients away from the office in a relaxed environment.
When it comes to coffee you need to start by getting the basics right, this includes making sure you choose a premium quality coffee, picking the right coffee machine for your business, and offering excellent customer service. Working with a coffee solutions provider that can offer support in all of those areas is a good place to start as they will be able to assist and guide you.
There are many pitfalls when it comes to creating the perfect coffee offer in hotels, but there are also some simple things you can do to make sure your hotel coffee experience stands out from the crowd. We have put together our top tips for creating a ‘wow factor’ coffee experience that’ll keep your guests coming back for more….
1. Create an environment your guests want to spend time in
Drinking coffee is as much about the occasion as it is about the drink itself, so create an environment that your guests will enjoy spending time in. Think about the different type of guests you want to attract – hotel guests looking for a place to relax, professionals hosting business meetings, groups of friends meeting for lunch – and tailor the environment to suit them. Consider offering different types of seating areas to cater for different customers needs, for example, business guests are likely to appreciate easy access to plug points and free wifi, whereas, a group of friends might prefer comfy sofas to relax and chat.
2. Choose the right coffee partner
It is extremely important to choose the right coffee partner who can provide you with the support and knowledge you need to grow your coffee business. That includes offering comprehensive service support, providing barista training and offering marketing and branding materials to promote your offer. Do your research and choose the partner that can deliver on all your needs. Find out about their coffee beans – where do they come from? What quality grade are they? Do they roast the beans themselves? Do they have a direct relationship with the coffee farmers? Never opt for the cheapest coffee bean option as they are likely to be poor quality.
3. Choose the right coffee machine
Installing a reliable fully automatic bean-to-cup machine is a good option for many hotels as it can help staff to deliver consistency of drinks whilst offering an authentic coffee shop menu with fresh beans and fresh milk. Choosing the right bean-to-cup coffee machine is very important so make sure you know what to look out for and what questions to ask your supplier. First you need to evaluate how many drinks you are likely to serve per day, whether you want to offer barista service of self-service, how easy the machine is to clean at the end of the shift, and what are the ongoing lifecycle costs? If speed is an issue then you may want to consider a machine that can offer filter coffee as well as bean-to-cup coffee. Do your research and make sure the coffee machine meets all of your criteria and ask the supplier for a demonstration of the machine so that you can see and try the coffee quality for yourself.
4. Don’t be afraid to be different
There are a number of ways to differentiate your offer but the important thing is is to create a unique coffee experience that is going to set your venue apart. Think about why customers should come to you instead of the traditional high street coffee shop. Don’t be afraid to be different – a unique coffee solution such as the TopBrewer creates a ‘wow’ factor for your guests whilst providing an authentic coffee shop menu that won’t disappoint.
5. Prioritise staff training
It is no good buying a fancy coffee machine and posh coffee and hoping for the best. Consumers are extremely knowledgeable about coffee these days and expect to receive a premium coffee experience wherever they go – they know the difference between a flat white and a latte and expect to receive what they pay for. Yes, installing a fully automatic bean-to-cup machine takes away a lot of room for error, but it is vital that you spend time training front of house staff about coffee so they can meet customer’s expectations – every time. If a customer has a bad coffee experience then they won’t be back in a hurry so put training on your agenda. Most reputable coffee companies will offer barista training as part of their package so make sure you take advantage of this to brush up on your coffee skills. At Scanomat we have a team of highly skilled coffee trainers who offer initial staff training, support on launch day and regular courtesy visits to ensure our client’s standards remain high.
6. Barista service, self service or to go?
You need to consider whether self-service or barista service is best depending on the environment. In some areas of the hotel, e.g. conference facilities or breakfast areas, self service can be a more practical option allowing guests to help themselves. However, in the hotel bar or restaurant, where guests are likely to pay for their coffee, a barista-service may be more appropriate. Make sure the coffee machine you choose offers flexibility for different types of service as it is best to offer guests consistency throughout your establishment. Tip: Don’t forget to offer take away coffee, this can be a fantastic extra revenue driver for guests who are time poor and want to get up and go!
7. Tell tell tell!
It is no good creating the perfect coffee experience if no one knows about it, get out there and tell the world about the amazing coffee you are serving. A simple swing sign or banner at the hotel entrance could be enough to entice passers by in for a quick coffee break. Consider introducing promotions and rewards to encourage repeat local custom; introducing a simple loyalty card can keep customers coming back if they know they are going to get there 8th coffee free. Word of mouth is one of the best types of marketing so if you get all of the above steps right then the recommendations (and the coffee) will soon start flowing….