Site worker enjoying a cup of coffee

Revamping Your 24/7 Site with a Coffee Vending Machine.

A coffee vending machine can be incredibly beneficial in the workplace, especially for 24/7 sites such as distribution, warehousing and manufacturing industries. For sites large or small, whether a tabletop or free-standing machine, instant or bean to cup suits the needs of your business - your employees and customers can reap the benefits.


Selecting the Best Coffee Vending Machine for your Site

We’re all too aware at Connect Vending, as coffee machine suppliers, of the vast array of machines to choose from. The choice can be overwhelming, especially when you’re starting out as a first time buyer.

Put simply, when looking at coffee vending machines you should consider factors such as capacity of the machine, or whether to opt for bean to cup or instant coffee.

Additionally, you need to work out if a fresh milk or granulated option is right for your workplace, if it will be a free-standing or tabletop coffee machine, and if you’re thinking of charging for coffee on your site.

It sounds like a lot, we’ve been there. So, let us take you through the decisions you’ll have to make step-by-step.

Capacity

When we refer to the capacity of a coffee vending machine, we’re not necessarily talking about how many kilograms of beans, instant coffee, hot chocolate etcetera that it holds at any given time. This is important when you’re thinking about how often it will need refilling and generally increases with machine vend capacity, but it’s not the main consideration.

By capacity, we’re talking about the number of vends per day that you expect your machine/s to fulfil. The general rule is that a third of staff will have a few drinks every day, a third will have one – and the other third will rarely use it.

With an example of 200 staff:
– 66 have 3 drinks per day = 198
– 66 have 1 drink per day = 66
– 66 do not use the machine = 0

This gives you a rough estimate of 264 vends per day.

For a larger site like the above example, a coffee vending machine such as the Coffeetek Vitro S1 would not be appropriate, as it is built for up to 60 vends per day.

Of course, it can physically vend more, but factors such as the smaller capacity boiler mean that you’d have to wait for the hot water to boil between vends. Not to mention the wear and tear on the machine. It would likely need repair and replacement much faster than if you purchased a higher capacity solution, such as the Coffeetek Neo Q.

Bean to Cup or Instant Coffee

Your new coffee vending machine has to make sense for you and your site. Commercially, of course, but also in the options it serves.

For quality coffee to serve even the most discerning connoisseur, bean to cup coffee is a clear winner. The beans are freshly ground and brewed for superior taste, at the touch of a button.

As the more quality option, a bean to cup machine will usually be more costly overall. However, we have a variety of beans available at Connect Vending, including our own blend, Change Please and Illy. They vary in taste, origin, dark to light roast and of course, price point. We can organise a tasting session for your site and tailor the strength the machine dispenses the coffee to suit your preferences.

Instant coffee tends to be a preference in sites where speed, low cost and ease are key considerations. The coffee is pre-ground, so saves precious seconds waiting for the beans to be ground in a bean to cup machine. The key difference is that instant coffee usually lacks the full-bodied, authentic taste of coffee beans.

Fresh Milk or Granulated Milk?

The choice between fresh or granulated milk is multi-faceted. Just like bean to cup versus instant coffee, quality is the main difference between the options, along with taste.

Fresh Milk

Quality and Taste
It’s undoubtedly true that from a quality and taste perspective, fresh milk is the superior choice, especially to complement a bean to cup machine. There’s also potential to incorporate alternatives such as oat and soya milk, depending on the machine you choose.

Shelf Life
Fresh milk has a shorter shelf life than granulated, so depending on the size of your site, you need to consider how much milk will be used and how often.

Cleaning Requirements
A fresh milk machine needs to be cleaned daily to prevent the buildup of milk particles and harmful bacteria. Our operators can of course replenish and clean the machines on a regular basis, but this is not a substitute for a daily clean of the milk system. Our machines are simple to clean, however, so this process is not time consuming.

Granulated Milk

Quality and Taste
We get it – in the past, the thought of powdered or granulated milk was an unpleasant one. However, as time has passed and manufacturing innovations have progressed, so has the quality and taste of granulated milk. Although it’s not an exact substitute for fresh milk, Connect Vending supplies a range of good quality options if this is the route you choose to go down.

Shelf Life
Granulated milk has a long shelf life, ideal for smaller sites that don’t need replenishing as often, or to take the administration away from managing fresh milk replenishment in larger sites.

Cleaning Requirements
Although granulated milk machines still need maintaining and cleaning, with granulated milk this is not a major daily concern. Connect Vending’s operators can clean and replenish the machines in addition.

Free Standing or Tabletop Coffee Machines?

The choice between a free standing or tabletop coffee vending machine is dependent on a few factors, usually related to the environment and placement of the machine, space and volume the machine is expected to vend.

Free Standing

Free standing coffee machines usually have built-in disposable coffee cup storage and cater to larger daily vend requirements. They are often placed in environments such as warehouses or distribution centers alongside snack vending machines.

Having a disposable cup carousel and larger consumable canisters means it’s less onerous for the business to stock and maintain. It also removed the issue of keeping reusable mugs on-site in a high traffic environment. A tangible benefit is that you can place them anywhere, within reason, without being restricted to countertop only.

Tabletop

Tabletop coffee vending machines are better placed where there is a kitchen unit available, such as in a site with office staff. They usually cater for smaller vend volumes, but can tuck away in a convenient and accessible space. You can still include a paid option on tabletop machines, however they will need filling, cleaning and emptying more regularly. This is where the decisions around fresh milk and general volume are important.

Paid, Subsidised or Free Vends for Staff?

Paid

Having a system where staff pay full price for a cup of coffee on-site is a benefit to the business revenue-wise, helping to pay for the machine cost faster. If you opt for good quality coffee, it also incentivises staff to stay on-site during breaks. This not only has an effect on productivity, but helps foster relationships when staff have breaks in the same area. On the other hand, you will likely encounter lower vends depending on the price point.

Subsidised

Subsidising your coffee vending machine is often an effective alternative to a paid-only system. For example, your site covers 30p of the overall cost per cup, so site staff pay a discounted amount. This encourages more frequent usage of the machine and therefore increases the revenue generated.

Free Vends

Having good quality coffee that is free to staff is a great workplace benefit for any site. Not only does it keep staff on-site for breaks, it has a tangible impact on employee satisfaction, productivity and even retention.