Friday, June 14, 2024
Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeFeaturesCoffee - an opportunity to grow your reputation

Coffee – an opportunity to grow your reputation

Coffee consumption in the UK has just about doubled in the last decade with coffee lovers in the UK spending some £2.89 billion on the bean. However, trends are changing. Mintel’s coffee market report indicates that decaffeination, the heightened wellness trend, and the increased focus on sustainability is now changing behaviours.

Offering easy access to great coffee, whether you are going down the sustainable route or not, is becoming a necessity rather than an ‘nice-to-have’ feature that can make the difference to guests staying in your hotel.

It all means that by overlooking the importance of this caffeinated or uncaffeinated, hot or iced drink, can not only push them out to the coffee shop down the road but you can lose their business in the long run too. In fact, if you have a look at review sites such as Trip Advisor and put in a search for coffee you will see just how many people mention the quality of hotel coffee when they leave a review and coffee can have a big impact on the rating given.

Surveys show that up to 75% of people staying at hotels are dissatisfied with the coffee served in the bar, restaurant, or room service. While 40% said their coffee experience would be a factor when deciding to use a hotel again!

The good news is there is a good profit margin on coffee as you all know and the hotels we are have got to know over the last few years are making conscious effort to ensure that their coffee pleases their customers.

Consider this, the UK’s per capita consumption of just 2.8 kgs puts us 44th on the list of top coffee-consuming countries in the world compared to the Finns who drink 12kg per person. But although 76% of the cost of an average coffee is estimated to be produced in the UK, the sustainability and ethical issues of coffee production are making hoteliers who are buying into sustainability rethink what they are offering guests.

It is important that hoteliers consider the advantages of going down this route as more and more consumers are demanding ethical and sustainable products. By offering sustainable coffee, hotels can meet this demand and create a positive guest experience, showcasing their commitment to responsible business practices.

Why is is Sustainable Coffee important? Coffee has been a hot ethical and sustainability issue for many years. In 1997, the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) was formed to bring together various stakeholders in the coffee industry to collaboratively address sustainability issues. This led to the development of several certification systems, such as Fair Trade and the Rainforest Alliance and Organic, which have helped create a market for sustainable coffee.

Traditional coffee farming often leads to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and increased pesticide use. Sustainable coffee practices, such as shade-grown coffee and organic farming methods, help preserve ecosystems, protect wildlife, and reduce the carbon footprint. There is also the social impact.

Many coffee farmers in developing countries face issues of low wages, poor working conditions, and lack of access to education and healthcare. Sustainable coffee certifications ensure that farmers receive fair prices and work in safe conditions, while also investing in community development projects.

But, if you are taking the sustainable/ethical route, you also need to let your customers know if you are using a local coffee supplier because, that too, that is also a vital selling point. Not only that, but guests often like to tune in to coffee culture and the culture of the place they are visiting because, they say, it gives them the feeling of having a unique coffee experience.

Of course, it helps if there is also some Scottish tablet and biscuits to accompany a cup of coffee. I have to say my face lights up when I see Tunnocks products – I am not fussy – Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers, Snowballs, Tea Cakes or my favourite – Caramel Logs… and the branding is recognised the length and breadth of Scotland and the world itself. I certainly find it regularly in hotel rooms, and it always gives me lift. Some clever, revenue savvy hoteliers, are also packaging up their in-room experience so that guests can take away bespoke hamper of local delicacies, including coffee, that is available at the hotel. And those well versed in the art of selling coffee believe that if you create a special section in your bar menu dedicated to local coffee, it enhances the overall experience. As does using unique cups and saucers or mugs.

I have also noticed the increasing popularity of single serve coffee machines in rooms. It certainly premiumises the offering. It also allows guests the luxury of having their favourite coffee style – whether that is an Americano, Latte or cappuccino. If you show every guest you can offer their favourite coffee at the touch of a button it all adds to the stay experience. But, coffee pods are difficult to recycle due to the mix of organic material along with plastic and metal.

If you are going down the sustainability route you need to ensure that your pods can be recycled. Single-use coffee pods might be a convenient shortcut but unfortunately many of them end up lingering in a landfill – almost 30,000 every minute in the UK alone – and they can take 500 years to decompose Some packaging claims to be eco-friendly, compostable, or recyclable but it is always best to check.

If you don’t, your guests will – awareness of coffee pods and how they a produced and recycled is a topic that many guests are up-to-date with because so many use them at home and more and more will use Podback, the recycling and collection scheme set up by Nestlé and Jacobs Douwe Egberts UK and covering the brands Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo.

Many suppliers now provide recycling collection bags with their orders as part of the Podback scheme and there are now suppliers like Grind who have created home recyclable pods (the decompose in 26 weeks).

However the most common tea/coffee making facilities in Scottish hotel rooms, as you all know, remains the kettle, tea bags and instant coffee (mosty in sachets) with milk (often in mini-pots) and sugar/sweeteners. The use of single use plastic will eventually put a stop to mini-pots of milk, and already milk suppliers are providing their milk in dinky wee bottles – and of course glass can be recycled.

While single serve coffee pods may be fashionable particularly amongst millennials (aged 16 – 34) instant coffee is still the most popular coffee in the country and this is where we differ from our European counterparts.

Did you know that the top instant coffee brands reach far more consumers than their fresh ground counterparts – this is throwback to the World War II, when it was introduced by U.S. military personnel. The product took hold and has been popular ever since. The most popular is Nescafe which generated more than £42 million in 2022.

Another sight which is becoming more common is the introduction of coffee stations at various points throughout hotesl, no doubt introduced to help with staffing shortages, where guests can help themselves. State-of-the-art equipment is essential if this is to work. You want equipment that ensures consistent quality. By installing an easy to use speciality coffee machine, you will be giving quick access to perfectly made coffee.

Whether you have this for staff to use or as a self-serve option, it will help to increase customer satisfaction and save the staff time. However it perhaps negates the opportunity to up sell – which staff have when serving a customer, although it is often a rarity. I could count on one hand – maybe even one finger, how often a person serving me coffee has suggested a biscuit or a scone.

I always think this is missed opportunity. But before I sign off what should you consider if you are going down the sustainable coffee route and are looking for a supplier… check out Certifications:

Ensure that the supplier’s coffee beans are certified by credible organisations such as Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, or Organic. This guarantees that the coffee meets specific environmental, social, and economic standards.

Traceability and Transparency: A reputable supplier should be able to provide information about the origins of their coffee, the farmers they work with, and their commitment to sustainability. This demonstrates accountability and trustworthiness.

Local and Direct Trade: Whenever possible, opt for suppliers who source their beans directly from farmers or cooperatives. This can lead to higher quality coffee, better prices for farmers, and a more personal connection to the coffee’s origin.

Quality and Taste: Sample the coffee to ensure it meets your guests’ expectations. The best sustainable coffee should not only be ethically sourced but also taste delicious.

Now you know!


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