Venues without a strong hot beverage offer are missing a trick
Indeed, the category is now so valued that some outlets have remodelled their strategy around coffee, according to one equipment supplier.
“Coffee culture has had a huge impact on pubs and bars,” said David Lawlor, managing director of Watermark.
“In fact, some pubs now describe themselves as ‘cafe bars’.
“Here the food tends to be lighter, healthier and more European in nature than traditional pubs, and coffee is an integral part of the experience.
“Often the coffee will be served during the meal as well as after.”
Lawlor said the quality of equipment available means that it is now easier than ever for outlets to offer top quality hot beverages.
“These days it’s not difficult to serve good coffee: modern machines make it relatively easy, even for untrained staff,” he said.
“One touch, bean-to-cup machines are convenient and suit pubs where staff skills or time are limited, or where an after-hours coffee service is required.
“Staff just push the button and the machine does the rest.”
And yet despite such apparent convenience, tea giant Tetley claims the trade as a whole could be doing more to capitalise on hot beverages.
“Taking a mid-afternoon break and enjoying the nation’s favourite past-time is something enjoyed by many around the country and an area untapped by the majority of pubs,” said marketing director Dorothy Sieber.
“An ideal way to reach out to a new target market, drive sales and focus on an alternative offering, afternoon tea is an opportunity not to be overlooked, especially for those in prime locations such as high streets and town centres.”
Sieber advised publicans to make use of advertising and point of sale materials to highlight their hot beverage offering and attract new customers. And as with any drinks category, ensuring a consistently high quality of serve is also vital.
Sieber also emphasised the importance of offering a full and varied range of products.
As well as black tea, operators should consider stocking peppermint, green tea, Redbush, Earl Grey and a selection of fruit and herbal teas.
This view was supported by John Sutcliffe, out of home and convenience manager at tea and coffee merchant Taylors of Harrogate.
“When it comes to choosing your tea range we recommend starting with a good mainstream tea, 75% of tea drunk by consumers is mainstream so it is essential to have the right tea with high appeal,” said Sutcliffe.
“Get it wrong and pubs could be missing out on significant profits.”
Image – Making good coffee is often easier than operators think, according to equipment suppliers.