OCS continues to define itself as a specialty.

And the winner is ... the envelope please! Mike Kass of Skylark Automatic Vending in Brown Deer, Wis.

Mike is the winner of a $300 incentive for completing the 2008 Automatic Merchandiser - State of the Coffee Service Industry survey. Easiest $300 he’ll probably ever make!

Each year, Automatic Merchandiser looks into the state of the coffee industry and collects current data for a special report to be published in the July issue. We look to you, our loyal subscribers, to tell us about trends and changes in the industry.

This year the survey was mailed to 600 dedicated OCS operators and 2,700 vending operators with OCS divisions. When combined, these responses paint a clearer picture of
the OCS industry.

SEPARATING DEDICATED OCS RESPONSES

This year we made the decision to keep the dedicated OCS responses separate from the OCS divisional responses (OCS business operated by vending companies) so that we might compare the two segments separately before combining all results. The results from the two segments had a few surprises.

While we saw increases in both pricing and installation of new equipment in both segments, it was the dedicated OCS operators that took the lead in increasing prices and installing new equipment.

DEDICATED OCS LEADS THE INDUSTRY

Dedicated OCS operators raised price 12 percent more than their industry counterparts and they have placed a disproportionate number of single-cup brewers industrywide. Dedicated OCS operators also reported carrying a larger variety of coffees and selling more allied products.

These differences won’t come as any surprise to dedicated OCS operators, who have always prided themselves as specialists. This feeling has been the basis of the reluctance of some OCS operators to join the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), which absorbed the National Coffee Service Association in 1999.

In fairness to NAMA, the national association has continued to invest in its OCS programs. Many long-time OCS operators recognize this and believe that NAMA has "carried the ball" for their industry very effectively.

One thing that we can probably all agree on is that the dedicated OCS operator is not going to disappear. OCS requires skills that require dedicated management. As the specialty coffee industry has introduced more growth opportunities for OCS, this need has become more critical than ever.

Vending and water service operations that recognize the need for dedicated OCS management can and do succeed in OCS.

THE BAR CONTINUES TO RISE

With the higher cost of doing business, all operators must take a look at increasing their bottom line everywhere they can. Take a look at the full report starting on page 24 and then take a look at your operation. How do you compare to the rest of the industry? How do you compare to the other operators in your segment of the industry?

And the next time you get a request to complete a survey ... fill it out. It could be the fastest $300 you ever add to your bottom line.

Please send your comments regarding this or any article in Automatic Merchandiser to Gary.Thom@AMonline.com. Or visit www.AMonline.com, and click on Talk to Us.

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