How Do You Measure the Success of Your Coffee Program?

Experts count the ways at CSP hot-beverage roundtable

Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Coffee hot beverages (CSP Daily News / CSPnet / Convenience Store Petroleum)

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Convenience store retailers hoping to improve upon or even start from scratch with their own elevated coffee programs may want to consider a few basics.

The first may be how to measure success.

One of the concerns Joe Chiovera has with retailers' coffee programs is measurement. Not in terms of waste or how much coffee grinds to put into a single brew, but how convenience store operators account for and measure their coffee profitability.

"They're in a retail [accounting] environment," said the Lewisville, Texas-based foodservice consultant. "And they look at movement in terms of [dollars]."

He and other industry experts spoke at a recent CSP roundtable in Rosemont, Ill., on hot dispensed beverages.

A better way to measure how a retailer is doing with coffee is to count daily cup throughput. While Chiovera, who spoke on coffee trends with co-presenter Sharon Porter of Insight Beverages, Lake Zurich, Ill., wouldn't speculate what an average, base-level amount of cups per day would be due to tremendous regional and market differences, he said counting cups takes the pricing issue out of the equation.

For example, since many companies set their coffee goals in terms of dollars, a manager may see that midway through the quarter, the store is failing to make its numbers. A move in price may change things up--not necessarily helping the retailer know if they're actually selling more or less coffee than the year before, just adjusting dollar figures so they match pre-set dollar goals.

Brewing coffee is indeed a science, but one that retailers can master if they prioritize several key aspects, according to Lu Lyall, a consultant brought in to speak at the roundtable by Wilbur Curtis Co. Inc., Montebello, Calif.

His insights included:

  • Good coffee starts with freshly ground beans. (Stale beans do not brew as well.)
  • Water quality is important, as water with too much chlorine, for instance, can throw off the brew's overall taste.
  • Brewing is the art of balancing the blend of water and coffee extraction. A well-balanced brew stays fresher longer.
  • Proper brewing temperature is between 190 and 202 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Brewing time takes three to eight minutes, depending on the grind.
  • Brewing is an exact but repeatable science.

For complete coverage, watch for the May issue of CSPmagazine.

Angel Abcede, CSP/Winsight By Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP
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