Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective: A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business

Aug. 7, 2018
The Virtu Brewer – A bean to cup brewer from de Jong DUKE

The Product

The Virtu Brewer – A bean to cup brewer from de Jong DUKE


The Back Story

The Virtu, with its 10.4-inch touchscreen, caused quite a stir when it was first displayed at the 2010 NAMA Show. William Duprey, North American Sales Director at de Jong DUKE (DJD), points out that the touchscreen has always been a very attractive feature of the Virtu brewer, then and now.

DJD is a Dutch manufacturer who made its first coffee dispensing machines in the late 1950’s. Today, the Virtu Bean to Cup Brewer is the core product for DJD, highlighted by some key features that sets the brewer apart. The Virtu allows operators to offer two whole bean coffees, plus a decaf option, espresso, cocoa and other flavorings - up to 42 drink configurations, selected from 10.4-inch touch screen – without the use of filter paper.

Duprey said the value proposition for operators comes from three directions: “The hardware, the software and the touchscreen.”

The hardware: By not using filter paper, the Virtu makes maintenance easy – at least compared to bean to cup models that require filter paper. Additionally, Virtu is part of a family of brewers that has collected numerous design awards.

The software: Technology drives the Virtu, fully equipped with built in telemetry and the ability to customize a wide variety of drink recipes. Duprey is proud of DJD’s commitment to operators and roasters, much of which is possible because of the Virtu’s advanced software. “We do quite a job in terms of assisting operators with recipe creation, helping them get to where they need to go,” said Duprey. “Whether it’s an approved recipe file from a Third Wave Roaster or from an operator, we are going to be able to satisfy our customers 90% of the time.”

The 10.4-inch touchscreen: In addition to making the Virtu user friendly and even fun to use, the touchscreen gives operators the opportunity to run two different slide shows. “Operators can remotely upload two different slide shows and change the drink recipe for every Virtu machine in the field,from the comfort of their home,” said Duprey.

Looking to the future, Duprey sees his company moving more toward their sleek Neo style machines, with a reduced footprint, higher brewer capacity and increased telemetry.

Why it Makes Sense for Operators

1) Strong Sales Tool: There are two ways to compete with Keurig and Flavia in a location.

  • You can sell for less than the current supplier (horrible, unimaginative and bad for the industry).
  • Or - Introduce Bean to Cup brewing and sell the account based on savings, the eco-friendly aspect, the whole bean freshness, the benefits of telemetry, the real espresso, the quality of the beverages, the ability to use a Third Wave Coffee, the automatic cleaning cycle…plenty of reasons for your client to say – “Bring me the Virtu!”

2) Demographics: Duprey said that Virtu has always excelled with the more educated and more affluent office demographic - bio-tech, law firms, pharma, software, architectural firms and high-end car dealerships. “In these environments, people are demanding a better cup of coffee and Virtu delivers that quality,” he said.

3) Caters to the “Personalized Beverage” crowd: Thought leaders in the beverage industry unanimously confirm that the trend for personalized beverages is upon us like a locomotive. With up to 42 drinks to choose from, Virtu is right on target.

4) Technology and Support: DJD is committed to train and provide continuing education for operators, right in their own warehouse facility. As the technology gets more sophisticated, this elevated level of support is critical.

5) High Margins: Selling coffee by the pound can be very lucrative for operators. With fair pricing that can stand the test of time, operators will enjoy higher than average returns with the DJD Virtu.

6) Justifies a Rental: Unfortunately, weaker salespeople out there will often sell a Virtu or another leading bean to cup brewer – without a rental. There is no good reason to waive that rental, especially when you utilize the telemetry and establish a preventive maintenance program to show your commitment to customer convenience.

Bob’s Perspective

Old school operators were a little stunned that a DJD Virtu cost about ten times more than a new, traditional drip brewer. In great locations, those old drip brewers could pay for themselves in the first three months of operation. Incredibly, the same can be said for a Virtu.

As DJD’s Duprey will tell you, there are plenty of fine bean to cup brewers on the market and I can’t disagree with that. From my personal experience, the Virtu had a tremendous impact on our business, contributing to the following:

  • Improved our coffee service margins in the single cup category.
  • Attracted the attention of and helped deliver some coveted accounts.
  • Allowed us to dictate the product selection. The client who really wanted the Virtu, needed to give us the rest of the pantry products as well.
  • Opened the door to Third Wave single cup brewing (with very aggressive pricing).
  • Made it very easy to get signed contracts.

The biggest problem with the Virtu was trying to get one out of an underperforming location. After much sobbing by the client, we often negotiated a deal allowing the client to keep their Virtu by finding us additional revenue sources, such as beverages, snacks, paper products, first aid, drinking water or even vending.

“But I get all my beverages at Costo,” said the client. “I understand,” said the operator. “But let me ask you a question. Can Costco provide you with a Virtu?”

The DJD Virtu had a more powerful impact on our coffee business than any other single cup brewer. We were ordering them six at a time. When you find a bean to cup brewer that works for you, run with it, all the way to the bank.

For more information about de Jong DUKE Bean to Cup Brewers, please contact de Jong DUKE Sales Department at 734-403-1708

Would you like to have your product, equipment or service featured in Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective? Contact me at [email protected]