Every foodservice and catering company we know of considers a decent coffee machine an essential part of their service offer to clients. Choosing whether to buy or lease bean-to-cup coffee machines or espresso machines is actually a more important decision than many realise. We think that leasing a coffee machine – as opposed to outright purchase - makes sound financial sense. All costs are fully deductible, there’s no large capital outlay, monthly costs are predictable and can readily be built into client budgets, and upgrading/renewing/cancelling at the end of the lease are all straightforward. What’s more, while you hope that your catering contract will be renewed, there are few guarantees; it’s easier to juggle contract leased machines between multiple sites to reduce overheads than it is to store a redundant purchased coffee machine. You can find out more about the considerable tax benefits of leasing commercial coffee machines here.
Whether you buy or lease, the remaining challenge remains the same.
If the client site is based in a town or city centre, chances are that there’s a reasonable high street offering to draw staff away. This doesn’t benefit the employer or their contracted caterers. Foodservice firms face a real challenge in keeping price points competitive and quality high, while employers want a good return on their investment in the catering contract. They’re also keen to keep staff within the building.
Many caterers choose commercial espresso machines for an authentic barista experience in the dining space. There’s an awful lot of sense to this: workplaces are increasingly investing in experiential dining and improved wellbeing package for their staff. Great coffee served by well-trained baristas from a well-chosen espresso machine is a huge draw, especially if the dining environment has the right feel.
There’s also the definite perception that espresso machines – when used by skilled staff – offer a superior coffee taste and texture. We tend to agree as a generalisation, but bean-to-cup machines have come on in leaps and bounds. Many offer coffees indistinguishable from those made with a traditional coffee machine.
The advantages of bean-to-cup coffee machines
Bean-to-cup machines offer distinct financial advantages to your foodservice company and your client. They’re convenient, they generally require less staff time on maintenance and cleaning, next to no staff time on serving coffees, and they’re always available. This can mean shorter queues at the servery. It’s also easy, for example, to run a coin-fed coffee machine in communal spaces outside of the catering company’s agreed service times.
With more and more larger employers looking to create dining spaces which double as team meeting spaces or breakout zones, coffee is always in demand. Leasing a good bean-to-cup coffee machine ensures that staff are never short on brainstorming fuel (increased productivity and concentration are just two of many benefits of coffee in the workplace), even at meetings late in the day, long after the kitchens are closed.
Of course, there may be room and the demand to accommodate both sorts of coffee machine on a single contract in a single site. That’s a blend which could keep every client happy.