Beverage service—especially coffee—is both an opportunity and a challenge for college and university foodservice operators. With its high margins, coffee is highly profitable. The challenges come from having to satisfy the expectations of diverse consumers and addressing various drinking occasions. But by keeping these three tips in mind, colleges and universities can manage beverage service efficiently and profitably.
People love their java: 59% of consumers have ordered regular hot coffee in the last month and 67% have ordered cold or iced coffee in the last month, according to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage Consumer Trend Report. And on average, consumers purchase 3.8 beverages per week from foodservice establishments. What’s more, demand for coffee is rising: 37% of consumers say they are ordering coffee more now than they were two years ago.
Consider the audience
Today’s college and university demographic is diverse. Although many students are in their late teens and early 20s, an increasing number of older adults are going back to school. Operators also cater to faculty and administrative staff as well as visiting friends and families. Coffee service has to satisfy that diversity. Additionally, campus foodservice encompasses cafeterias, study halls, faculty lounges and specialty coffee kiosks.
Tip 1: Offer coffee on demand
On campus, people drink coffee all day and all night long—for energy and wakefulness, to be sociable and as a snack or treat. How can operators meet that demand?
The answer is a single-cup solution, such as the Select Brew® Coffee System from Smucker Away from Home. These coffee machines use a state-of-the-art, computerized mechanism to ensure delicious consistency, cup after cup, all at the touch of a button. Plus, Select Brew machines produce high quality coffee that’s just as good as roast-and-ground coffee—no weak brews or too-strong cups, just consistently delicious coffee.
According to Technomic’s May 2017 Food Away From Home Beverage Marketplace report, two to three times more young consumers report a preference for push-button versus pot-brewed coffee. That makes it even easier for operators because they won’t have to have staff on hand to brew pots of coffee all day. Plus, maintenance is very minimal!
Tip 2: Daypart variety
When figuring out their beverage mix, foodservice operators should consider the time of day. At breakfast most people want a caffeine jolt to start the morning. According to Technomic’s May2017 Food Away From Home Beverage Marketplace report, hot black coffee is a top choice in the morning for 44% of respondents. In a cafeteria setting, urns or satellite brewers can satisfy that demand. However, for more flexibility, consider a coffee-on-demand system that delivers more variety than a traditional drip brewer without additional labor. On-demand coffee makers dispense freshly made coffee, with no leftovers to discard and less waste than other single-cup brewers.
Tip 3: Coffee as a snack
Of course, coffee is not just a functional beverage. It can also provide an energy boost for a study session. When they crave a snack, some people might reach for a specialty coffee instead of a bag of chips, a donut or another food snack. Demand for specialty coffee reaches a peak in the mid-morning to afternoon period, according to Technomic’s May 2017 Food Away From Home Beverage Marketplace Report. In fact, 62% of respondents said that in mid-morning or in the afternoon, they enjoy specialty coffee. That’s where the on-demand coffee machine comes into play. With a push of the button, these machines can dispense espresso as well as lattes and cappuccinos made with real milk.
Although specialty coffees are hot, cold coffee is even hotter. Trending in popularity, options such as cold brew coffee, iced coffee and frozen blended coffee can also be offered on campus to satisfy consumers’ desire for a caffeinated drink that’s not hot.
Foodservice operators who learn these lessons well will make the grade and will sell more coffee throughout the day. And not only will they sell more coffee, they can even earn more overall—with on-demand machines, there’s no need for baristas, so that overhead cost is eliminated.
For college and university foodservice, on-demand coffee is a no-brainer. Select Brew machines produce high quality coffee at the touch of a button, they make coffee accessible anytime, anywhere and, perhaps best of all, they can help to increase earnings! Learn more today by clicking here.
This post is sponsored by Smucker Away From Home