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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

The Situation for UCA’s Coffee

University for the Creative Arts source their catering and coffee providers through Pelican Procurement Services, so outsourced the decision making process on which coffee supplier to work with. Luckily, this made the process of switching coffee providers rather seamless. Steve, after being frustrated by the previous coffee supplier, contacted Pelican and instructed them to immediately seek a new provider for their coffee offering. Steve’s contact at Pelican, Bal Mahal, conducted an analysis of the options based on Steve’s requirements and pain points, and suggested Bridge Coffee Roasters.

The Problems

The first step towards discovering if we could even help Steve and his team was to have initial meetings and listen to the problems they were experiencing. A lack of support from the supplier, inconsistency in deliveries, low staff engagement and training, and long wait times for servicing and engineer support where among the operational issues.

On the coffee side: low quality equipment, low-cost and dark roasted beans and a lack of training for the staff. These issues combined to create low-quality cups of coffee that fell flat of the expectactions from both staff and students. Steve mentioned that himself, a majority of the staff, and the student cohort, would prefer to walk 10 minutes down to the high street for a great cup of coffee than buy a cup of coffee at the canteens and refectories.

What was Needed?

It was clear from conversations with Steve and the team that what they needed was simple: reliable setups for all six outlets, and a coffee partner they could rely on. Steve wasn’t trying to serve the highest quality specialty coffees but instead, good coffees at a great price for their staff and students. It was also important that we were able to relieve Steve from the stress, anxiety and tension that Steve was feeling not having delivered on a quality coffee offering due to the lack of support from the previous supplier.

Did UCA Have any Hesitations?

Of course Steve and his team were nervous about making a change – they were taking a risk by changing to a coffee supplier they had never worked with. Alongside the nervousness, there was one main area of concern and hesitation for the team about switching their coffee to being supplied by us; they weren’t sure if the students were going to like the new coffee.

To help ease their anxiety, and to also make sure that they had chosen a coffee that their students were going to enjoy, we and sent them a supply of Roots Blossom so that they could taste test their new coffee with their students before making any commitment to changing. Needless to say the students, and staff, were very glad for the change in flavour.

Site Surveys

As with the onboarding for all of our new customers, the first step in designing a new coffee solution was to conduct site surveys. These were conducted across three days to help us scope out the requirements for equipment, power connections, water filtration needs, cup volumes and footfall. The survey’s included all three UCA campuses in Farnham, Epsom and Canterbury, with two coffee locations for each campus.

Their New Equipment – Sanremo ZOE, Anfim Pratica

UCA and Steve were looking for reliable traditional espresso machines and quality coffee grinders that would help their baristas serve great coffee, whilst being easy and intuitive to use and learn. Due to the request for easy-to-use machinery that could withstand medium to high volumes, with some what of a budget to keep to, we recommended the Sanremo ZOE espresso machines paired with Anfim Pratica grinders. Both fully capable of producing great coffee at a great price, and without the bells and whistles that might be better suited to specialty coffee shops.

The Installation Process

Thanks to the initial site surveys, the installation process was quick and seamless for our engineers. Six grinders and six espresso machines were installed just 5 weeks after the contracts had been signed, with no major hiccups along the way. All equipment was checked by our engineers to ensure PSSR compliance for the next 12 months. Baristas were taken through an initial training session to learn the equipment and workflows for the new kit, and how to get the best flavour out of their new coffee.

“Dear Steve & Grant. I would like to take this opportunity to thank your instal team for and amazing job last week. they installed the machines without any issues and did a very smooth job. They also without question removed the old machines as well. Please pass on my thanks to the team and I look forward to working together going forward.”

Their New Coffee – Roots Blossom

After receiving samples, joining us for an on-site coffee tasting to select from one of our 20+ range of coffees, and conducting a taste test with the students, Steve and the team decided on Blossom – a blend from our Roots Collection of certified coffees. Blossom is a Fairtrade medium roast coffee made up of two coffees from Peru and Brazil. It’s one of our most popular coffees, especially within the education sector, due to it’s great value, balanced flavour profile, and Fairtrade certification.

What Ongoing Support was Put in Place?

On the first day of installation, our barista trainer Nikolay conducted team barista training and equipment onboarding sessions with staff across all 6 locations. UCA signed up to a gold service package with our field service engineers which includes free support, servicing and repairs and guaranteed callout times in the case of machine faults. Their equipment is enlisted on our PSSR system which aids us in scheduling annual pressure system checks to make sure their equipment is complying with industry standards of safety.

We designed and replaced their point of sale marketing collateral to improve the customer experience, and UCA have also chosen to run our seasonal drinks calendar through which they get access to a rotating menu of new drinks year-round, with accompanying point of sale materials and recipe cards.

UCA has the ongoing support of our account manager Silas, who will proactively visit the sites on a regular basis to provide ongoing training and support for all staff across the three campuses.

What Were the Results?

The results are clear in the video. One year later, Steve is proud of the decision he made to upgrade the coffee offering at University for the Creative Arts. He spoke of the reduction in stress that he previously felt when his previous coffee supplier was not providing the support they needed. Steve began by discussing the fact that the catering arm was constantly being compared to the high street, and that students and staff used to go off campus for their coffees.

The defining moment for Steve was seeing the university’s COO venture to the refectory ever day for a cappuccino, when previously he never chose to drink the coffee being served.

Looking to upgrade your coffee offering? Get in touch with the team at Bridge Coffee Roasters, and let us know how we can help.