In 1996 when I first ventured into Coffee Service for businesses out of my garage it seemed like a pretty simple business model. Provide coffee equipment free of charge to a client and make the client buy coffee and supplies exclusively from me, marking up the coffee enough to pay for the equipment and maintenance etc. And it worked in the 1980s and 1990s and even into the 2000s. But then came the internet, transparent pricing and simpler brewing machines. And now the model, as it was, is broken.
In the old days....yes even my Gen X self sees the nineties business model as ancient, every Office Coffee Salesperson simply did the math. If a client has 50 employees at a workplace, you multiply that by a formula and come up with an estimate of the cups of coffee per day consumed at that workplace. Multiply that out by your product cost, add in some profit and you will know roughly how long it will take to make your money back on your equipment investment. Everything past that time to pay off the equipment would be future profit for your my company
It worked, albeit most clients are now paying delivery fees, gasoline surcharges, environmental fees and more as my competitors have been seeking ways to pad the profits.
And then came the pandemic!
So what has changed and why does it no longer work they way it used to?
For bigger clients with a lot of in house staff the model can still work. But most clients are now Hybrid and while they may have 100 staff, they may not need to be at the office everyday. Maybe thirty or forty are there, maybe 80. So how do companies like ours figure out this new model? Frankly most have not. They are still holding on to the employee numbers game but now asking ......"how many people are at the office everyday? And for many offices this is not an easy answer? Some days 10, some 30, some 100. It is now much more challenging than ever to create a coffee program that is sustainable for a workplace. And in the last few months, many offices have been getting calls from their coffee supplier with increased pricing or threats of equipment removal ......and the service levels have dropped significantly. It is a tough business to be in post pandemic.
For ECS Coffee, we have always been a bit ahead of the curve. We had an online catalogue in 2001...not a typo! And we were selling coffee online in 2007. Yes we do the traditional office coffee model for some clients where we provide the equipment on loan. But we have also created Hybrid models for the new Hybrid workplace. We can provide equipment, we can deliver product, we can service equipment, regardless of your workplace numbers, and regardless of how many work from home. The best part, we are completely transparent. You wont find any hidden fees, surcharges or weird line items on your bill. We provide you with the costs and service levels up front, and provide you with a menu of over 3000 items that you can access....its simple, but comes with years of being innovators in the coffee service industry. Check out our google reviews, most are regarding our stores and web business...but it will give you an idea of the kind of way we do things. Old school service with a new way of thinking. Shoot me a message to find out more.
President and Guy that started this out of his garage in 1996