Cashing in on coffee

As demand for quality hot drinks increases, the on-trade is well-placed to take advantage

THE thirst for coffee and tea shows no sign of abating, with coffee shops continuing to spring up on high streets across the country.

And while the number of cafés looks set to continue to rise, offering quality hot beverages isn’t the sole preserve of the big coffee shop chains.

In fact, pubs and bars are well-placed to capitalise on the growing demand for tea and coffee.

According to Andrew Jack, marketing director at tea and coffee supplier Matthew Algie, coffee is now “on par with the pint as a tool for socialising”, which he said offers an opportunity for the on-trade to “drive sales and increase margins by providing a high quality coffee offering”.

“Therefore, it is important for the licensed trade to respond by ensuring they have a high quality coffee offering throughout the day and into the night which will attract coffee lovers and keep them coming back for more,” said Jack.

Key to capitalising on this is getting the basics right, he said.

“Ultimately, there is no longer any excuse for not offering great coffee, whether automated or made by hand,” said Jack, adding that any outlay on equipment must be matched with an investment in training.

“Well-trained, knowledgeable staff are generally more passionate about the coffee they serve and are keen to impart their knowledge onto customers, which in turn can boost sales,” he said.

Ann Hameda of tea and coffee merchant Brodies agreed, saying staff training is “vital and must be ongoing”.

“Customers’ expectations are greater now we are in the third wave of coffee drinking and are willing to pay a premium for a good quality coffee experience,” she said.

This was echoed by Justin Stockwell, managing director of Caffeine Ltd, who said that by taking hot drinks as seriously as they do cold ones, licensees can really capitalise on the growing demand for quality coffee.

“As coffee consumers become more aware of what is available and what they like there is a greater demand for a wider range of coffees, including iced coffees and flavoured coffees,” he said.

“If pubs can offer these to their customers they can tap into the high street coffee market.”

And it’s not just about coffee.

Allan Pirret, sales director for Novus Tea, said the growing speciality and premium tea market presents a “fantastic opportunity” for operators.

“To take advantage of this surge in demand for tea and infusions, innovation is vital to meet the fast-moving, ever-changing consumer trends,” he said. “In tea, this represents a move away from ‘standard’ teabags towards more premium products which offer better tasting, more interesting and perhaps healthier alternatives.”