Grabbing a cup of coffee on the go in the morning is a ubiquitous experience—a report from the National Coffee Association (NCA) finds that 64% of Americans over the age of 18 enjoy at least one cup of java daily. Customers, however, are increasingly rejecting poorly made, bitter (or weak) coffee that has been sold in a variety of establishments for so long.
Instead, coffee-lovers—particularly millennials—are seeking gourmet coffee, with 48% of members of the generation noting that they had a cup of coffee that they consider to be gourmet the previous day, according to the NCA report. It’s time for convenience store retailers to focus on matching shopper expectations and desires by taking the coffee experience to the next level.
1) Stock high-quality coffee options and extras
Although there’s been a boom in new methods of brewing coffee, from cold-brewed to nitrogen-infused, most customers still simply want a well-brewed cup of quality coffee. To give customers what they want, a retailer first needs to invest in beans that will deliver that high-quality taste. The beans should be as freshly roasted as possible, and ground in-house to deliver a fresh taste.
An upscale coffee experience also requires extras that standard operations simply don’t offer. This means a wide variety of high-quality syrups, including sugar-free options, as 79% of consumers like to add flavors such as vanilla, mocha or caramel to their coffee, according to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast report. Additionally, 85% like to add creamer or milk, so offer a variety of options for this, too, such as skim milk, cream, almond milk and coconut milk.
2) Focus on freshness
Coffee shops, convenience stores and other operations have long experimented with ways to ensure every cup of coffee that’s poured is as fresh as possible. However, why all the guesswork? Invest in a machine that will ensure freshness without any conjecture, such as the GemX IntelliFresh® Brewer with FreshTrac® from Curtis. This new option is equipped with Curtis FreshTrac technology that alerts employees of the coffee’s freshness through a simple LED system. When a fresh batch of coffee is ready to serve, the LEDs glow with a solid light. At the end of a pre-set time, the LED lights change color and flash to alert the employees that it’s time to for a new brew. These lights are customizable, so an operator can choose the flashing to be red, yellow, green or white, depending on operation needs and preferences.
3) Avoid the possibility of human error
Don’t let the possibility of a mistake by a new employee—or even a skilled employee having an off-day—ruin an upscale coffee experience for the customer. GemX features an easy-to-use, intuitive system that allows for fresh, gourmet coffee brewing with just a push of a button. Technology also means upgraded ease-of-use for those working the machines, including employees of all skill levels. The Curtis GemX offers two digital systems: The G3 Universal Control Module that has a true-green LED display and a simple interface with pre-set, one-touch global recipes; and the G4 GemX, a large 4.3-inch touchscreen that has an icon-driven interface to streamline and simplifying operation.
4) Take advantage of technology
It’s the era of technology in foodservice, and that means intelligent coffee brewing and holding. Curtis IntelliFresh technology keeps an operation’s gourmet coffee at the ideal temperature via digitally controlled pulses of heat, regardless of the volume of beverage. Additionally, in this day and age, operations often have to have a mobile capacity. With remote GemX stands, the GemX satellites continue to monitor coffee freshness. This allows for an upscale, impressive customer experience, no matter where the coffee is brewing.
5) Impress with the eyes, too
An upscale coffee experience requires not only fresh, gourmet brews, but also sophisticated, upscale aesthetics. Curtis GemX reflects that requirement with its streamlined, attractive appearance that includes sweeping, radiused corners, an elegant sloping chamfered top, sleek side panels, a textured honeycomb fact that provides a sophisticated look, and a modern, minimalistic LED display. Consumers notice upgraded equipment and, in their minds, that translates to a better product and a better overall experience.
To learn more about how Curtis can help take your coffee program to the top, visit www.wilburcurtis.com.