Virginia Operator Adapts To Change With Coffee

Aug. 22, 2018

Many changes have occurred in OCS (office coffee service) since it first took root. Cardinal Canteen has found that it is important to keep up with trends in OCS by following the consumer. It continues to expand its OCS business with new products and services. OCS has changed to have more amenities than ever, and continuing to innovate keeps Cardinal Canteen thriving.  

Roots of the operation 

Cardinal Canteen Food Service started as an independent operation in 1986. Now a Canteen Franchise, Carl Moser, sales manager of Cardinal Canteen, has been integral to the company’s OCS segment growth, which is now a large part of its operation.  

“When OCS first started, employees were just happy to get coffee, even if it was horrid,” said Moser, “and now it’s the exact opposite.” Moser and his team experienced a huge change in what was popular in OCS as consumers wanted better options.  

Options for coffee 

Moser transitioned into OCS 20 years ago and was one of the first in the industry. There wasn’t as big of a demand for coffee when Moser first started in OCS, but it has grown into a popular consumer paid service. Some of this popularity has come from the different coffee systems available. 

Cardinal Canteen was one of the first in the area to use Keurig machines in OCS.  Customers want a unique but cost-effective drink option, explained Moser. Keurig continues to be a popular option because of its ease of use, and lower price compared to some systems. However, pilferage can make Keurig costlier. Bean-to-cup is another coffee option, and while it is gaining popularity, it is expensive, and requires more maintenance by the route driver and the location. Moser has found a good balance with Flavia, as far as price and popularity.  

Finding a system that works 

Cardinal Canteen sells a lot of Flavia machines, which has become a big part of Cardinal’s coffee sales. The machine has pouches that help to streamline the operation. There isn’t the same worry about pilferage with Flavia, which tends to occur more with some single-cup systems such as Keurig. 

“Flavia just works the best because is acts as a coffee machine and also dispenses different types of coffee, tea, and flavored coffee,” said Moser. Flavia has become one of consumers’ favorites at Moser’s locations.  

“People are really knowledgeable about water and want to have a water source that’s clean, filtered, and they know is going to be good for them,” said Moser. Flavia is less expensive and promotes the “healthy” trend.  

Going Green 

Instead of this, which has no examples of what he means by healthy OCS, I would suggest: Moser has found that customers concerned about healthy also tend to be interested in in "green" products. 

 More and more people are asking for eco-cups and other environmentally-friendly products, and are requesting not to have Styrofoam. People look at going green as right versus wrong; they believe that green and eco-friendly products are better for the environment, said Moser.  

The more health-conscious consumers become, the more they want to incorporate that mindset into eco-friendly alternatives. One of the questions that’s been asked is whether the consumer can afford eco-friendly items, as they are more expensive that products like Styrofoam. However, Moser has found that for locations, “cost is not as important as having green products.”  

As consumers drive what’s trendy and what’s not, it is important to keep up. This means delivering the products and services that best fit each location’s needs. Cardinal Canteen has succeeded because it continues to innovate.