Since it’s National Coffee Day let’s talk about a response to a common question that I get all too often (and wish it were different). The question is “where do you plan to incorporate the OCS service in this Micro Market?” Far too often, OCS is forgotten, overlooked or not considered in the Micro Market design and business offering of the operator I’m working with.
Make no mistake, pairing Office Coffee Service (OCS) within your Micro market is a opportunity not to be missed or overlooked.
Let’s look at an example about an ideal Micro Market. As you may already know from our “About Us” page at Fixturelite, we were Vending, Office Coffee Service and Micro Market operators for just shy of ten years, before we created Fixturelite™. Having been so, and having done so, allows you the opportunity to learn from our “school of hard knocks” and from what we did right along the way.
One of the better, more profitable locations I’ve seen over the years had both a Micro Market and OCS service incorporated into it. The revenues were nearly 50/50, OCS/MicroMarket. Enough coffee was brewed each day to warrant not one, but two bean-to-cup machines. Two questions came up when talking about those machines. First was usually “how does one justify spending that much on equipment?” and when I’d discuss the location with pros-to-know in the vending industry, the second question was usually “how were that many cups of specialty coffee brewed a year, so trouble free?”
Let’s look at the first question. There were enough people at the location to justify two machines because the account subsidized that “perk” for their employees. While that doesn’t always happen, you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it from your customer. The best way to get a subsidy, if it’s not being offered, is to simply ask for it. Justify why the location should do so, why it’s a benefit to their employees and how doing so has the potential to improve morale and boost productivity, to name only a few benefits. If you can’t get a 100% subsidy on the fancier coffee products, you can likely charge the difference for bean-to-cup brews in the Micro Market, via the self-checkout kiosk.
The answer to the second question is simple. Routine maintenance kept those machines going strong. Like anything, if you take care of the machines, they’ll take care of your customers. As operators, we had a process we followed of replacing things before they broke, and I know other operators who follow the same process. I would ask a very important core question when looking at equipment, especially equipment that carried a higher price tag. I’d insist that the sales representatives for the equipment level with me, and I’d pointedly ask “what’s going to break and when is it likely to happen?” Once I had the answer to that question, I’d get the parts ahead of time and change them out before they broke. It was that simple. Think of your OCS equipment like you do the tires on your car. Do you wait until you have a flat on the side of the road to replace a tire, or do you check the tread occasionally and replace them before you have a blowout? Hopefully, the answer is the latter.
Think about all the possible locations within a building that may benefit from having a pod machine or water coolers as well; executive areas and conference rooms are opportune locations for pour over brewers and air pots (where there might not be plumbing).
Simply put, if you aren’t incorporating OCS into your Micro Market, it’s likely a missed opportunity. Providing as many services to your customers at each location, with few exceptions, makes good business sense.