Does your hotel offer guests the benefit of a coffee machine? Virtually every B&B, guest house and hotel in the UK features the good old hospitality tray. Standards vary to a degree, but you’ll usually find a travel-sized kettle, a handful of tea bags, two upsettingly small UHT milk cartons and an assortment of sachets, including instant coffee. It’s strangely reassuring – and many are the first-time UK travellers to hotels on the continent who find themselves in a room without this basic survival kit.
But that’s all it is. A survival kit. A guaranteed cuppa when you kick your shoes off on arrival, or when you emerge from beneath the covers, bleary-eyed and disoriented. You need it, but it’s not necessarily what you’d choose. Same goes for your guests. That’s why leasing coffee machines for your hotel makes an awful lot of sense – as a money-maker, to provide decent-quality coffee as an option, and to show you’ve thought about what the modern hotel guest really wants.
Self-service coffee machines for hotels
We’re not talking about a coffee machine for every hotel room – although no doubt in upmarket hotels there’s a differentiator there and guests prepared to pay the premium. But at an absolute minimum you should consider a bean-to-cup coffee machine for the hotel reception, dining or lounge area. Renting a coffee machine for your hotel – rather than buying one – allows you to test the water, so to speak. To make minimal up-front investment and explore your potential return on investment. If the size of your hotel, or the charges per room, justify it, it’s also worth considering a coffee machine for each hotel floor.
Where you position it is key to enhancing demand and uptake. You want your guests to spot it easily on the way to their room. You want them to remember it the moment they wake. Because given the choice between a sachet of instant coffee and a perfectly made espresso, latte or cappuccino – there’s just no contest. Couples will demand that one or the other sling on a dressing gown and make for the good stuff.
Whether you charge them for this lovely luxury – and if so, how much – is entirely down to your budget. Coffee machines suitable for hotels can vary in speed and volume of cups served per day, as well as variety of hot beverages. The more rooms your hotel has, the more versatility you might want from a bean-to-cup machine – particularly if you’re leasing a machine for a single location.
Espresso machines for hotel restaurants and bars
Of course, self-service coffee machines might be all you need, but if you’d like to offer a more exclusive and personalised service for breakfast or evening meals, you’ll want a good commercial espresso machine at the hotel bar or restaurant area. Barista-prepared coffees are particularly in demand at boutique hotels, and the sleek design of most espresso machines available to lease will work well in classical and modernist interiors.
We don’t think you should ever ditch the hospitality tray – it’s a reassuring, comforting constant in British hospitality – but it’s no substitute for a genuinely enjoyable coffee available on demand.
When you’re looking to introduce a coffee machine at work – whether it’s a self-service unit to keep staff fully fuelled or a top-of-the-range espresso machine in a catering operation to entice more customers – should you buy your machine or lease it?
It’s not as much of a dilemma as you first think. Let’s look at the advantages of renting a coffee machine versus buying a new or second-hand machine.
The advantages of buying a new coffee machine
- You can choose the latest model on the market, from a huge range of options
- Your product will be covered by a manufacturer’s warranty
- You get the feeling of ownership, of permanence
- There’s no monthly fee, apart from your ingredients and cleaning materials
And the disadvantages:
- It’s the most expensive initial outlay – usually thousands of pounds if you want a robust coffee maker with staying power. You’re either reducing available capital for other parts of the business, eating into valuable overdraft, or borrowing and paying over the odds in interest.
- Once the warranty period is over, you’ll be left liable to repair fees or full replacement if the machine goes wrong.
- If, after using the coffee machine for a while, your needs change, you can’t easily return and replace it. Your business needs to accommodate the machine you choose, rather than the machine being flexible to suit your business.
What about buying a second-hand machine?
Your capital outlay is lower, but warranties will typically be less generous, and parts and labour for repairs may prove more expensive the older the machine is.
The advantages of leasing a coffee machine over buying
- There’s minimal capital outlay – only one month’s rental. That means your capital reserves remain in the account, ready to be used for more productive spending or for access in a cash-flow emergency.
- One easy, predictable monthly leasing fee. It’s easy to predict and budget for, and if you’re selling coffee, you’ll quickly see a return on investment, unlike when you spend thousands up front.
- If the machine isn’t quite right for your business – you expand, or want something more powerful or with more options – you can easily switch to another machine that better suits your needs.
- All machines are chosen specifically for their quality and reliability – so you can be confident you’re using a machine that’s designed to keep on producing superior drinks for years to come.
- You’ll have quick access to technical support and servicing from a company that knows and cares about your business.
We can’t speak for other coffee machine leasing companies, but at Nationwide Coffee we run frequent special offers for new customers renting commercial coffee machines, including ingredients to make thousands of drinks, crockery and takeaway cups, Fairtrade sugar, tea and biscuits, and more besides.
But those aren’t the only benefits to renting a coffee machine. Your finances benefit from greater tax efficiency. Not only is the VAT element only payable on rental payments instead of one large lump sum (and if you’re VAT-registered you can reclaim all VAT), but you’ll find that 100% tax relief is usually allowable on the whole rental.
And at the end of the lease, you can take full ownership – if you want – for a small one-off payment, or take on a whole new machine with a fresh lease.
To find out more about flexible leases for coffee machines for your business, you can discuss your options - with no obligation, of course – please do get in touch.