Advice from the CTW Show: What OCS operators need to do in 2024

Nov. 14, 2023
After three tough years, a sense of optimism is beginning to emerge, and operators share a clear formula for success – built around two proven concepts: exceptional service and delivering an experience.

What do operators need to do to succeed in 2024? When the question was asked on the convention floor at NAMA’s Coffee, Tea and Water Show (CTW) in Indianapolis, there was no shortage of opinions from operators, as they identified two key success components.

You can hear more valuable conversations from the CTW convention floor in this episode of Automatic Merchandiser’s Vending & OCS Nation podcast

Success component #1: Exceptional service

Linda Saldana, CEO, Seventh Wave Refreshments – “Clean, clean clean,” said Saldana. “I recently went into a new account, and all you have to do is look in a drawer and it is so disheartening. It is such a simple step, and it is being overlooked.” Saldana added that it is important to let the client know that your company is cleaning the coffee area. “Take credit for it,” she said.

Cheryl Bravo, VP of business development, InReach – “It’s the back-to-basics approach that really resonates with consumers. Brewers have to work properly, coffee has to taste good, the kitchen has to look clean and appealing,” said Bravo. “Service has to be cultural. It has to be repeatable across the entire organization.” Bravo added that when customers know what to expect and when a high level of service is delivered consistently, customers are happier, and it leads to a high retention level.

Erin Moshier, VP of operations, South region, Aramark Refreshment Services – “We have to elevate our service model,” said Moshier. “You can order coffee from anywhere, so it’s about taking hospitality to the next level, so your customers stay engaged with who you are as their provider.” Moshier added that her company is focused on the training of their front-line associates. “Are we saying hello to the admin in the front office when we arrive? Are we taking credit for the service we provide when we are on site? Are we upselling? I think it is all those incremental steps we take when we are on site that sets us apart,” she said.

Success component #2: Delivering the experience

Shannon Nichols, VP of operations, Central region, Aramark Refreshment Services – “We need to dig in and stay on top of the latest innovations. We want to create those experiences for our clients,” said Nichols. “Part of that is knowing what is out there and staying ahead of the game.”

David Solomon, equipment operations manager, Royal Cup Coffee “Offering diverse equipment options is key. We need to look at avenues that will bring people back to the office,” said Solomon. He added that the generation in today’s office is looking for something more than a hot cup of coffee, like cold brew and specialty drinks from bean-to cup-brewers, as part of their experience.

Josh Rosenberg, president and chief revenue officer, Automated Retail Technologies – “We have to continue to look at the coffee service landscape. The opportunity for us is to offer innovation,” said Rosenberg. “We know they will buy coffee and tea from us, but the consumer is still more likely to go off site to get their espresso and their specialty coffee drink. In this room, we have the equipment that will allow you to bring those products to their door. There is so much value prop to having the high-end coffee amenity on site.” Rosenberg added that the OCS industry’s solution is a perfect fit for offices that don’t want delivery people coming into the office and don’t want their employees going off site.

A supplier’s perspective: Creating a destination

Steve Orlando, co-founder of Fixturelite – “We need to make the OCS amenity an experience for our customers, with quality and presentation,” said Orlando. “My conversations with operators are changing. The leading operators, the ones with premium locations, are now more focused than ever on making breakrooms, including the OCS portion of the breakroom, a destination. You do that by creating a space that employees want to spend time in and that will translate to higher revenue.”

A broker’s perspective: Evaluate locations

Nicholas Angel of G & J Marketing – “OCS operators need to spend some time focusing on profitability of locations, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. There is still only about 50% of employees in the offices, especially in places like New York City,” said Angel. “In some cases, operators are left with locations that have too much equipment, high service requirements and not the level of revenue that they should be seeing. It’s a good time to evaluate locations.”



Bob Tullio is a content specialist, speaker, sales trainer, consultant and contributing editor of Automatic Merchandiser/ He advises entrepreneurs on how to build a successful business from the ground up and specializes in helping suppliers connect with operators in the convenience services industry – coffee service, vending, micro markets and pantry service specifically. 

Subscribe to Automatic Merchandiser's podcast, Vending & OCS Nation, hosted by Tullio and designed to make your business more profitable.

Also check out Tullio’s b2b Perspective Channel, which has developed a loyal YouTube following.

Tullio delivers this promise to any company that hires him for a 30-minute or 1-hour Zoom call: "One short session with me will elevate the performance of your sales team.” 


Automatic Merchandiser
Vending & OCS Nation Podcast at CTW 2023
Vending & OCS Nation

Podcast: CTW report – What OCS operators must do to succeed in 2024

Nov. 21, 2023
In this episode, listen to conversations on the CTW convention floor with podcast host Bob Tullio – identifying trends and themes that are emerging from battle-tested operators...
NAMA Coffee, Tea Water Conference 2023

Return to workplaces and upgraded services were top issues at NAMA’s Coffee Tea & Water 2023 Conference

Nov. 16, 2023
Exhibitors unveiled the latest technology solutions and innovative products to meet evolving employee demands.
ID 105533907 © Lightfieldstudiosprod |
Vending & OCS Nation podcast: Five Star Food Service gives back to community
Vending & OCS Nation

Podcast: Serving clients and feeding kids, C.J. Recher and Five Star are making an impact with a ‘yes’ mindset

Nov. 7, 2023
In this episode of Vending & OCS Nation podcast, host Bob Tullio talks to C.J. Recher, VP of marketing for Five Star Food Service and the co-founder of Feeding the Future, a nonprofit...
Photo 250357078 © Bardushkaphotostock |
Dreamstime Xxl 250357078
Coffee Service

How operators are dealing with the new normal in the OCS business

Oct. 17, 2023
In 2022, there was a growing sense of optimism about the coming year, as operators were sure that office populations would at least be back to 70%, but that big increase has not...