AS pubs have felt the need to diversify and broaden their appeal, coffee has become a tool for attracting more customers through the door.
As with any drinks category, however, the trick is to get the offer just right.
David Lawlor, managing director of equipment supplier Watermark UK, said today’s consumer expects high-quality coffee.
“The consumer tends to have a high expectation of what the coffee offering should look like, taste like and feel like,” he said.
“Landlords need to deliver on this.”
Choosing the right machine is a key consideration, from bottle or filter brewers to urns and espresso makers, and at a time when many operators don’t have a lot of money to spend, cost is another important factor.
“Suppliers are offering a wider choice of ways to acquire a machine, alongside outright purchase there are various leasing or rental options, including free on-loan leasing,” said Mick Shaddock, chair of the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association.
But operators shouldn’t be dissuaded by these challenges. As well as providing an additional revenue stream, coffee can also present publicans with an opportunity to sell additional products such as cakes or sandwiches.
The opportunities are not lost on Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company, which has been encouraging its lessees to make the most of coffee. The company has created a guide, called Grounds for Success, to help lessees better understand the category.
“To maximise profits from your pub’s coffee offer you should ensure it appeals to both male and female customers’ needs as they have different expectations of coffee,” said Ken McGown, operations and sales director for Scotland at S&NPC.
“Men see coffee as a daily necessity and are more likely to buy ‘coffee to go’ whilst women see it as a treat.”
McGown said if pubs get their coffee offer right they will be well positioned to lure business away from coffee shops, appealing to everyone from stay at home mums to business people.