How to improve coffee sales

Office Coffee Service (OCS) has been a strong and growing segment in the vending, micro market and OCS industry for 10 years. Since consumers started recognizing quality and were willing to pay for better tasting coffee, it’s been a thriving opportunity for operators. The annual Automatic Merchandiser State of the Coffee Service Industry reported that the industry reached an all time revenue high of 4.12 billion dollars in 2011. But how do consumers view coffee at work and what can operators do to drive even more sales?

NAMA, the national trade association for vending and refreshment services, commissioned a survey in 2012 to investigate consumer wants and perceptions when it comes to liquid refreshments in the workplace.

Locations like Their OCS

The NAMA research shows that more than 90 percent of consumers understand their office coffee is from a provider and most would not want to change. Only 32 percent reported that they would consider switching OCS providers. That number dropped further, to 21 percent, for account decision makers.

Coffee At Work

When coffee service was cut as a result of the recession, 25 percent of consumers said it was what they missed the most. Currently, less than half of consumers have access to coffee at work. Single cup systems have increased significantly, but 50 percent of consumers report having pourover brewers at their locations, with 20 percent reporting airpots. Only 1 in 5 consumers had access to gourmet or specialty coffee.

One of the clearest messages from the survey was that coffee service operators should add water service. According to the research, coffee and tea were mostly consumed in the morning, with light use in the late afternoon. Water was consumed all day, and among those who did not have coffee service, 60 percent named filtered water as their top request.

Specialty drinks drive sales

Specialty drinks also showed the potential to drive sales. More than 60 percent of consumers aged 18 to 34 said they would significantly increase consumption if they had specialty options like espressos and lattes.

The entire coffee service report can be purchased directly from NAMA’s Website at

OCS operators have many opportunities for growth. Besides exploring ways to bring coffee to new locations, operators should be upselling services. Customers at current OCS locations are clearly open to specialty drinks and water service. Investigating how to drive revenue at existing locations is more profitable, especially since locations are likely to remain loyal to existing service providers.