An Optimistic Take on the Coffee Industry

Jan 5, 2010
This article was originally published in the CoffeeTalk State of the Industry 2010.

A time of opportunity for equipment manufacturers

By Greg Fisher, BUNN Senior Vice President, Commercial Sales

The ups and downs of the past year have had some unexpected results for equipment manufacturers. But I like to think these challenging times have also resulted in benefits to those who are actively pursuing ways to build their beverage programs.

Examining ourselves -- to benefit you
First, most manufacturers have become introspective. Not introspective in a navel-gazing, look-at-how-enlightened-we-are way, but instead examining ourselves, figuring out our core competencies, then looking at key financial indicators that drive our businesses. At BUNN, we have thoroughly examined our processes to make sure we are operating as efficiently as possible. We are doing everything we can to control costs, while still delivering value to our customers.

What this means to you is a better product containing more features for (sometimes) less money. We are constantly examining how to do things better and more efficiently, increasing the value of our products to our customers. It's a buyers market, and that means you can expect superior product for your investment.

A focused selling approach
Economic conditions have also forced us to be more focused in our selling approach and this also benefits our customers. Now more than ever, we are concentrating on the sale, and that means making sure that current and potential customers will profit from investing in beverage equipment. Across all channels, from coffee shops to convenience stores to college cafeterias to cruise ships, and everything in between, we are ready to help you make money on dispensed beverages, and you can expect to meet or exceed your customers expectations. We are more competitive so that you can be too.

The economy has also helped us enhance our efforts to create innovative new designs to benefit our customers. Equipment manufacturers can no longer afford to assume a long-established product line will meet every customer need. Interestingly, the explosion of social marketing use indicates a desire for individuality and personal expression. Translated into beverage marketing, we have seen a growing desire for consumers to create a unique, customized beverage for themselves and we are continuing to develop equipment that will satisfy this consumer need. It's important that customers be able to produce a beverage that is not only convenient and cost-effective but also customized.

The voice of the customer
Social media venues such as Facebook and Twitter offer us an exciting opportunity to get input from consumers about what beverages they would buy. It's all about the voice of the customer and, fortunately, we can hear it better than ever now. Measuring the degree of engagement of a consumer with our company is a better gauge than the old Return on Investment measures to show the involvement of customers with our company. We can also use social media to communicate directly with consumers about beverage and equipment trends, new developments, and technical information. It's a new day for communicating, thanks to the Internet and social networking, and we are fully invested in this exciting dialogue.

Customers are concerned about reducing their costs, and we have answered that concern by building beverage equipment that features an energy-saver mode on most beverage equipment. So a customer can justify a large investment in energy efficient equipment, because the cost savings may help pay for it in a matter of months. Sustainability is a universal standard: to beverage equipment manufacturers, this means both manufacturing and most sustainable way possible and producing equipment that saves energy.

"A man always has a nickel for a cup of coffee"
A wise man once said, "A man always has a nickel for a cup of coffee." (Of course, women are also equally likely to drink coffee.) I believe that, while consumers often forgo luxuries such as alcoholic beverages and eating out, coffee is one of the affordable pleasures in life. According to the National Coffee Association, coffee consumption continued to increase with 17% of the adult population consuming gourmet coffee beverage on a daily basis in 2008 compared with 14% in 2007. Consumption of iced and ice/frozen blended coffee is also up and, significantly, in 2007, consumption of coffee surpassed that of soft drinks for the first time. That means more people are reaching for a cup of coffee than for a soda.

Of course, an economic downturn is not a pleasant thing, and it is a difficult time for businesses and consumers alike. However, we will emerge with heightened efficiency, better able to address the wants and needs up consumers. Lean times have helped us to function better, and consumers will benefit from this.

A Partner You Can Count On -- BUNN


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