Coffee has come a long way over the years, especially in the convenience-store setting. Customers once expected to be hit with the smell of burnt coffee coming through the door. They’d pour themselves a Styrofoam cup of day-old Joe from a bulky pot and ingest it for the caffeine—say nothing of the taste.
Today, not so. The modern coffee consumer expects fresh, quality coffee that’s sustainable and sophisticated, even in a c-store.
Front and Center
As operators are trying to modernize their beverage areas, making them look and feel more upscale, many focus on the coffee bar. Providing a sleek and inviting atmosphere may draw people inside.
Historically coffee equipment has been an eyesore, something that if not hidden was definitely not showcased. But contemporary machinery is making coffee bars visual draws for customers, says Bob Pierce, a senior vice president at Bunn-O-Matic. “New materials, chamfered edges, rounded corners and ergonomic handles make new coffee equipment worthy of a front-and-center spot in the store.”
Freshest of Fresh
Today’s customers won’t tolerate coffee that isn’t optimally fresh, and thankfully, technology makes maintaining freshness a much easier task. On new coffee systems—such as BUNN-Infusion 3.0 Series Soft Heat, debuting at the NACS Show in October and ready for production in January 2017 has several features to track freshness.
The Infusion 3.0 Series Soft Heat allows operators to customize brewing settings for different coffees. It can maintain coffee temperature with industry leading accuracy during the holding period, and can alert staff when freshness has expired or the server is empty. Optional wireless server monitoring can connect to a smart phone or tablet, allowing staff to keep tabs on the coffee from anywhere in the store. “You may have a Guatemalan coffee with a very particular recipe,” Bishop says. “This equipment can brew each individual coffee and volume to specific parameters and with our new Soft Heatservertechnology you can customize the holding time and temperature as well. This is the next generation of coffee makers,” says Doug Bishop, director of product management.
Technology has advanced to meet customer expectations in other ways as well. BUNN offers BunnLINK, a communication tool that allows transmissions from the equipment directly to BUNN when there’s a maintenance or performance issue. BUNN can then alert the operator of the problem, dispatching service agents when necessary or anticipating a service need before it causes operational downtime. BUNN’s Infusion Series also uses RFID technology to transfer recipes from a grinder to the brewer, automatically adjusting to customize brewing parameters.
Safe for One and All
Today’s c-store customers also care about the safety of the planet, and using recyclable packaging and maximizing energy efficiencies doesn’t go unnoticed. They’re concerned about personal safety as well, and the Infusion 3.0 Series uses splashguards on their brew funnels. The new Soft Heat Servers have a santoprene overmold with a soft, rubber texture on its ergonomic handles, making it easy and safe to transport the coffee. Regardless of the heat, the exterior wall of the new Soft Heat Servers are always cool to the touch.
Modern coffee customers expect a lot, and manufactures such as BUNN assist operators in meeting trending taste preferences while also protecting profitability and reliability.
This post is sponsored by Bunn-O-Matic