Profiles in Excelence

The recession has delivered a host of challenges to the OCS industry, but OCS operators have one ace up their sleeve that keeps them in the driver’s seat: countertop single-cup brewers. The convenience of a system that provides coffeehouse-quality coffee in the work place is something locations don’t want to do without once they’ve experienced it, no matter how much they want to cut costs. Fortunately for OCS operators, new and better single-cup systems keep giving them additional choices.

The South has been a bit slower to expand into single-cup brewing than other regions, but progressive operators there are finding the portion-control aspect of the single-cup brewer a great account pleaser.

Ray Coffee Service: Upbeat As Ever

Charlie Ray, owner of Ray Coffee Service in Savannah, GA, has been offering single-cup brewers for years, and he’s as upbeat as ever, despite the recession. For Ray, who has tested just about every single-cup system to come on the market, the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL from Kraft Vending & OCS has been a great solution since it became available this year.

Ray has experienced a roller coaster ride in the last few years. His business was on a roll three years ago when a big customer asked for a large number of coffee machines — including hopper-based single-cup systems and full-size hot beverage machines — to provide free coffee to employees.

When the recession hit, this customer wanted to cut expenditures. The only way to keep the coffee machines in the account was to install payment mechanisms. This required an added investment, and it cut sales in half. Fortunately, the customer wanted to offer payment cards to employees so they could cover some of the cost of their office refreshments.

Expansion Into Brew-By-Pack

Ray expanded from the hopper-based single-cup systems this year to brew-by-pack systems. He liked the brew-by-pack systems and customers liked them as well. They save the end user from having to keep the break area clean. One thing he hadn’t counted on, however, was that the brewers and the proprietary cartridges were also being sold at retail. Ray didn’t like the competition.

When the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL became available from Kraft Vending & OCS, Ray found that he was able to offer a brew-by-pack system that delivered the same benefits — reliability, coffeehouse quality and variety, and convenience — without having to fight retail competitors.

The TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL features scannable “T-DISCS” that contain a precise amount of premium ground coffee, tea or chocolate. The bar code reader assures a custom brew by controlling water temperature, pressure, volume, flow rate and infusion time to prepare a perfect cup. Besides premium specialty drinks, the T-DISCS for the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL include specialty espresso-based beverages, such as cappuccinos and lattes, prepared with real liquid milk in fewer than 2 minutes.

With well-known brands such as GEVALIA, TWININGS and SUCHARD, TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL ensures a favorite hot beverage for every employee. TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL T-DISCS are not compatible with home TASSIMO systems. There is a TASSIMO system available for home use at retail, but the T-DISCS it uses do not work in the

TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL. Hence, Kraft Vending & OCS offers Ray the benefit of retail marketing without the disadvantage of having to fight retail competitors for the cartridges.

Home And Office Units Not Compatible

“You cannot put a home T-DISC in a commercial machine,” Ray said. “We are going to sell product (T-DISCS) after the sale (brewer installation).” Ray also likes the fact that the TASSIMO T-DISC portfolio includes several milk-based drinks that contain real milk.

Ray has placed 12 TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL systems and is selling an average of 10 cases a month per machine. “It’s just really, really good coffee,” Ray said. “Kraft has been unbelievably good for us.” Ray has been able to charge a premium price for the T-DISCS. He has found it easiest to charge one price for all of the different drinks in the T-DISC portfolio. The volume of T-DISC tea he has sold has pleasantly surprised him.

Operator: First Good Single-Cup System

For Preston Humphries, owner of CV Coffee Service in Marietta, GA, the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL has been the first successful single-cup system. Humphries said the system is easy for customers to use, but involves the customer in the preparation process enough to let him or her feel the satisfaction of serving themselves a quality product. “They (consumers) feel like they made that drink, and not the machine,” Humphries said. “If the machine does it all, you don’t feel that way.”

CV Coffee is a vending and OCS operation with nine delivery vehicles. Humphries has placed close to 40 TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL systems this year. “I have seen people get excited about that thing like I’ve never seen anything in my whole career,” Humphries said about the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL.

“People love it.”

The TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL allows Humphries to serve a coffee beverage that would cost $2 to $3 at a coffee shop for 50 cents to $1.05. Humphries challenges his customers to find any other worksite benefit that has the same impact on the employee’s work experience for less cost than OCS. Humphries also likes the fact that the TASSIMO PROFESSIONAL T-DISCS are not available at retail outlets. “You’ve got all the (retail) advertising but it’s not interchangeable (with the consumer TASSIMO T-DISC). Humphries expects the demand for single-cup systems to keep expanding.

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