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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

In today’s short episode, we sat down with James Legg, Business Development Manager here at Bridge to discuss the most common issues that faces hospitality when it comes to their coffee service. It is James’ day job to talk to business leaders in the food and beverage sector to listen to and understand the problems that they’re facing in their day to day. He’s constantly asking whether coffee is a profitable and stress free arm of their business, or if it is instead providing them with no end of hassle and pain. In the video above, James discusses the three most common issues that he hears from these business leaders, those being Quality, Consistency, and Reliability.

Why great quality coffee is so hard to achieve at scale in hospitality

Independent coffee shops have ultimate control over their coffee quality – from selecting the beans, dialling in the recipes, ensuring consistency day-to-day, and taking great care of their machines. As the size of the business grows with multiple sites across the country and a greater number of staff, the business leaders can lose that ultimate control over the quality of their coffee. We typically find, with businesses struggling to serve high quality coffee across multiple sites, there are typically three main issues getting in the way.

1. Low Quality

Coffee quality is a broad topic, with many key factors that could be the underlying cause of the problem. Serving delicious coffee across hospitality groups can be massively disrupted by the quality of your coffee not being up to par. What does that look like? Low quality coffee can be caused by poorly roasted coffee beans, low-quality raw beans that are cheap and difficult to trace back to the farm, the beans aren’t fresh and sent to your sites in good time, or your staff aren’t supported enough by the coffee company and don’t know how to get the best out of the beans.

2. Poor Consistency

Consistently serving great coffee is the number one issue that is hard to nail across hospitality. We have seen that with growing numbers of sites, achieving great coffee on a consistent basis just becomes more and more difficult. What can cause inconsistent coffees? Lack of regular staff training and high levels of turnover. Machines that aren’t suitable to the service environment meaning they’re difficult to operate and get great quality coffee out of or they may even be breaking down on a regular basis halting service.

3. No Reliability

Issues in reliability typically stem from your coffee supplier, and they’re level of support in providing great customer service, on-time deliveries, fast response times to breakdowns, and being proactive in booking in barista training and preventative maintenance visits. Getting a low level of support from your coffee supplier means that even if you are using the highest quality machines and grinding incredible coffee beans, that lack of support will make your coffee quality unreliable when things start to go wrong.

How Large Businesses can Serve Great Coffee at Scale

Our Approach

Solving issues in coffee quality, consistency and reliability is our bread and butter. Our approach to supporting business in delivering a great experience revolves around a tailored approach to coffee beans, machinery, barista training and engineer support, together with a suite of customer support efforts to ensure we solve these common problems at scale.

High quality coffee starts with great beans and training

Serving great coffee across a multiple site operation has to be built on a great foundation: delicious coffee beans and well-trained staff. Whether it’s a light roast single origin or more of a traditionally-roasted blend, delicious coffee needs to be cared for at the farm and all along the supply chain to the roastery. It need to be fresh and sent to your door within maximum a few weeks of being roasted, and cared for by your baristas to get the best flavour possible. View our range of coffees here -> Wholesale Coffee.

A well-trained barista is able to dial in the recipes on your coffee machine and tweak the grind size in a way that ensures it is tasting delicious all day long. Buying high quality coffee beans, and training your baristas to a high standard, are two fundamental practices in serving great coffee at scale. Learn more about barista training costs and benefits here -> SCA Training.

Consistency is built on great equipment and support from engineers

Serving high quality coffee is no mean feat with a huge number of variables, skills and workflow steps going into a great cup. However, the real challenge is doing it on a consistent basis.

Hospitality often struggles to serve great coffee consistently because their coffee equipment is not aligned with their staff and service offering. For example, a business with high staff turnover is going to struggle serving consistently great coffee on their budget espresso machine that is hard to learn and even harder to master.

Serving great coffee consistently is built on having the right equipment for your needs which includes the type of service environment, the volume of customers and your drinks capacity, and the workflow and design aesthetic choices. Using great equipment perfectly suited to your needs, which is then looked after properly by a team of engineers who can make sure it is kept operational and any faults are responded to quickly, is incredibly important in ensuring consistency at scale.

Reliability is achieved with a pro-active coffee supplier

Large hospitality chains often come to us with complaints about their current coffee provider, stating that they haven’t heard from their account manager in months, they aren’t getting the barista training they were promised, and the engineers take days, perhaps even weeks, to respond to machine breakdowns and faults. This can massively affect consistency at scale with your staff and sites not getting the support they need.

Along with our responsive team of customer service reps, account manager, barista trainers and engineers who make sure your sites are all being cared for, one of our main priorities is offering a proactive approach to supporting our customers.

Barista trainers and mystery shopping programmes ensure your sites are being scored and evaluated so training can be best allocated. Pro-active engineer visits provide regular servicing of your equipment and annual testing to ensure longevity of parts, reducing wear and tear and making sure your machines are compliant with safety regulations. And finally, having a dedicated account manager who visits regularly to make sure your teams are properly being looked after and any further opportunity to provide support and reduce headaches are discovered.

Looking to start serving great coffee?

We understand that serving great coffee at scale can be a challenge for large hospitality businesses. If you'd like to have a discussion about how we could support, don't hesitate to contact our team.

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