Superior options required in pubs

The bar has never been higher with hot drinks so a focus on quality is vital, say firms

Espresso pouring into cup


IT boggles the mind that there are still some people that believe the earth is flat.

And, in 2019, the view that “a coffee is a coffee” is fast becoming as antiquated a belief.
With four out of five pub customers now ordering either a latte, cappuccino, americano or espresso, Steve Dancer, Star Pubs & Bars’ head of buying, recommended that every pub should “offer these and serve them to a high quality”.

He said: “Coffee is one of the highest GP income streams there is. If a pub sells 30 cups of coffee a day, it’ll make nearly £20,000 profit a year, so it pays to take coffee seriously.”

Dave Cutler, head of training for Italian coffee specialist Lavazza, said the expected standard of coffee is continuing to rise amongst customers.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking high quality solutions and are becoming more demanding in their choices of hot beverage,” he said.

“There are many ways to increase hot beverage sales, including the introduction of different blends, premiumisation of the offering and by also covering different moments of consumption.”

But it isn’t just better quality coffee that customers are more willing to shell out on, according to Allan Pirret, sales director at Novus Teas.

He said: “Tea is still the UK’s most popular hot drink and the growing speciality tea market is a great opportunity for operators to drive profitability by introducing a range of premium whole leaf teas, innovative blends and healthy options into their menus.

“Healthy infusions is one of the fastest growing sectors, particularly with younger consumers.
“They’re looking for innovative blends that not only taste great, but that also have clearly defined functional benefits; these options are right on-trend at the moment.”

Lee Stones, senior product marketing manager at Burco Commercial, also reckons there’s a gilt-edged opportunity to be seized with a good speciality tea range.

Stones said: “A growth in consumption and the increasing availability of speciality tea blends has further increased the potential of a dedicated, speciality tea offering in an on-trade environment, particularly as more customers choose alternatives to alcohol throughout the day.”

When looking to decide which kinds of coffees to offer in on-trade outlets, a diverse selection that covers all bases is required.

Grant Chippendale, national sales manager of the commercial division at coffee machine supplier Jura said: “As a result of consumer tastes maturing, operators need to alter what they offer in order to meet the increasing demand.

“Instant coffee simply doesn’t make the cut anymore, so being able to offer premium coffee in a variety of different styles and blends is extremely important.

“Styles and preferences that continue to perform particularly well, due to consumers holding a more sophisticated palate, include speciality coffees such as a flat white or a fiery ristretto, decaffeinated hot drinks, soya milk and Fairtrade products. The hot beverage category is constantly evolving and customers are moving with it, eager to try what’s next, new and exciting, just like they are with premium spirits and craft beers in the on-trade.”

While the right equipment and ingredients are essential, any investment in either is pointless without the right staff training, said Paula Jones, managing director of Alba Beverage Company, official distributor of Lavazza in Scotland.

She said: “Quality staff training is crucial to producing the best quality drinks, especially if using a traditional espresso machine, which requires barista training to ensure each coffee is delivered perfectly.”

Chippendale of Jura agreed.

He said: “A combination of greater education and training is highly important for staff when it comes to recommending and serving hot beverages.

“Consumers are undeniably drawn to an operator serving good quality coffee with a smile. However, as there are so many coffee variations available now, they often need direction from knowledgeable staff about what suits them best. As a result, this will deliver repeat customers and have a positive impact on sales.”


Hot tips

Be mindful of the quality of the coffee machine and coffee beans that you use as this will dictate whether you are successful in driving repeat custom.

– Jura.

A tailored coffee cocktails menu, syrups and latte art can add the wow factor and promote hot beverage sales.

– Alba Beverage Company.

Let your customers know you sell coffee – have a designated coffee area on the bar and display the menu directly above or behind with prices.

– Star Pubs & Bars.