Elevating coffee programs: Standing apart from the competition in foodservice

Photograph: SEB Professional

In a fiercely competitive foodservice industry, a well-executed coffee program can provide a significant edge to operators. According to the National Coffee Association NCDT 2023, two-thirds of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee a day. With this high consumption, foodservice establishments have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors by focusing on some key aspects of successful coffee programs: cold coffee offerings and espresso-based beverages. Additionally, it’s key to understand the factors that drive consumers to choose to purchase coffee outside of their homes.

Embracing the cold coffee trend:

One of the most effective ways to set coffee programs apart is by capitalizing on the growing popularity of cold coffee. Consumers are increasingly seeking refreshing, chilled alternatives to traditional hot coffee. By offering cold coffee, operators can cater to the preferences of a broader customer base. For example, equipment such as the Schaerer Coffee Art C has the capability to brew both hot and iced coffees on demand, making each cup fresh from whole beans. Additionally, providing customizable options, such as different sweeteners and creamers, enhances the customer experience and ensures satisfaction.

Mastering espresso-based beverages

Over the years, the popularity of espresso-based beverages has continued to rise. Perfecting the art of crafting lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos can differentiate an establishment from competitors. Offering an extensive selection of espresso-based drinks, including signature creations and seasonal specials, adds a sense of exclusivity. The WMF 5000S+ equipment provides operators top quality espresso-based beverages with just the push of a button, providing consistent beverages no matter the experience of the staff, and also frees up time for staff to interact with customers. Additionally, providing alternative milk options such as oat or almond creates additional customer loyalty and caters to customers' individual tastes.

Factors driving away-from-home coffee purchases

Understanding why consumers choose to purchase coffee outside their homes is essential for developing a successful coffee program. Convenience and consistency play a significant role, as people often seek quick, on-the-go options during their daily routines. For operators, new equipment that can completely automate coffee programs, such as the Curtis Genesis Skyline, can produce top quality coffee at high speeds. Offering high quality coffee varieties that are not easily accessible at home can also entice coffee enthusiasts. Finally, the social aspect of enjoying coffee in a common space or meeting friends and colleagues further reinforces the appeal of purchasing coffee away from home.

To stand apart from the competition, foodservice operators should focus on their coffee program, with particular attention to cold coffee and espresso-based beverages. Capitalizing on the cold coffee trend and offering consistent espresso-based drinks can attract and retain customers. By understanding the factors driving away-from-home coffee purchases, including convenience, consistency and speed, operators can create a coffee program that exceeds customer expectations and enhances their overall dining experience. Find out more at:

This post is sponsored by SEB Professional North America


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