It’s been estimated that three-quarters (75 per cent) of people prefer coffee at work (4), and there is a growing appetite for great-tasting, good-quality brews. We’re also moving away from seeing the office as the place where you go and sit all day in front of a computer screen. The workplace is now viewed as the place to catch up with your colleagues and exchange ideas. But as the workplace evolves into a collaborative and sociable space, the type of refreshments that people demand have grown more sophisticated.
In a survey carried out by coworking developer Areaworks, the quality of the coffee being served was the most important feature for office occupants, with two-thirds of workers saying a decent flat white or cappuccino was essential for a productive and engaged workforce (5).
“Quality of coffee is crucial for staff morale, and a third of all office workers say that great coffee improves overall motivation,” says Charlea Samuel, Category Marketing Manager Premium Coffee, Jacobs Douwe Egberts. “Not only can serving a good brew truly drive business success, it can also save workers time and money if they don’t need to leave the office in search of great coffee. It’s also not just your staff; a survey of 1,000 consumers revealed that 50 per cent are likely to view a business more favourably if it serves high-quality coffee in reception on arrival (6).”
The competition to provide high-quality barista-style coffee in the workplace is increasing for contract caterers, who now have to compete with high street brands on a daily basis. In response caterers are beginning to adopt their own unique blends. The other imperative within many organisations is a demand for sustainably-sourced coffee, from environmentally-aware staff and as part of the FM sustainable agenda remit.
Earlier this year caterer Blue Apple, working in partnership with Bewley’s, launched a new brand named Pip & Bean for its contract catering customers. Explains Sarah Prentice, Marketing Director at Blue Apple catering: “We know where the beans come from, including the farmer’s name, and it also tastes amazing. As part of the partnership with Bewley’s they will come in and do a tasting to ensure the machine is calibrated right for the perfect blend and to train the staff.”
The result, she explains, is “the creation of an all-day environment. A lot of clients when we first speak to them say ‘we’ve got a lovely coffee bar so why do we see so many people coming in with their takeaway coffee cups from the high street?’ It’s because the coffee being served wasn’t right and didn’t help create the right atmosphere.”
She adds: “Even if our coffee is slightly more expensive than standard coffee, people are definitely willing to pay for decent coffee, and once you’ve enticed people in with a good coffee you can offer them good-quality food as well.”