For more and more UK workers, getting through the day without the stimulus of coffee is unthinkable. When Swift Office Cleaning Services asked office workers to name the one thing they couldn’t do without in the office, 27% said coffee; just 4% said their friends*.
So important has ‘high street quality’ coffee become to the UK’s office workers that Adrian Stagg, Managing Director of Miko Coffee UK, advises employers to provide a steady supply of premium joe to keep staff happy, motivated and productive. It might even be what’s required to keep them in the office, rather than around the corner in Costa or Starbucks.
“If the right machine and coffee partner is chosen, the exodus to the coffee shop during the day will be less pronounced; and the incentive to skip the coffee shop before arriving at the office where the coffee is just as good and much, much cheaper has to be good for staff morale and productivity,” he said.
Happily, the wide choice of coffee machines available means that a business should have no trouble finding a tabletop or floor-standing model to suit its needs, including filter coffee machines, traditional espresso machines, coffee pod/capsule machines and increasingly popular bean-to-cup machines that produce high quality coffee directly from the bean.
It is not just the quality of the coffee that’s improving. Coffee machines themselves are getting smarter, with Wifi, Bluetooth and interactivity becoming standard on new generation models. Many have touchscreens for easy drinks selection. In some cases, these can also be used to display advertising, dietary information or work-related notices.
Another development highlighted by Stagg is support for new methods of payment including pre-pay apps. “You can order your drink from your phone whilst sitting at your desk, collect it when you are ready and if there is a charge it will debit your pre-pay account,” he said.
Stagg adds that for operators, telemetry’s ability to transmit data directly to a service hub helps improve reliability and service levels. “The coffee company can know if the machine has developed a fault before the customer knows it. Theoretically, it can head off a fault before it occurs by analysing the constant flow of data to determine a developing problem and take preventative action,” he said.
One vending machine that makes use of many of these features to provide an exceptional user experience is the Luce X2 Touch TV developed by Rhea Vendors and supplied by Smart Vend Solutions. Launched in 2014, it offers touchscreen technology, digital signage, a cashless payment system, telemetry management and smartphone integration. It even uses facial recognition to identify, greet and serve users based on their previous purchases and preferences.
Today, it is no longer enough to give people a kettle, mug and jar of Mellow Bird’s. As Stagg says: “The instant coffee generation is dying out; there is no going back.”
* The London Office Workers’ Survey, 2015