Contract caterer BaxterStorey will officially launch its Barista Academy tonight, in a move it claims places coffee "at the heart of its business".
The Barista Academy, based at BaxterStorey client IPC Media in London, has been overseen by James Hoffmann, the UK's first World Champion Barista (see our Minute on the Clock interview with Hoffmann for more).
BaxterStorey intends to train more than 1,000 members of staff via the academy every year, enabling qualified baristas in staff restaurants to compete effectively with high street coffee outlets.
The caterer serves more than seven million cups of coffee a year at its 500-plus sites and chief executive Alastair Storey said: "With consumer purses still feeling very stretched, workers are turning to their staff restaurants for greater value in larger numbers.
"Just as we are committed to ensuring our fresh food truly rivals the quality and variety the high street offers, we are determined that our customers can enjoy the most fantastic coffee within their work premises all of the time."
Hoffmann, who has designed the caterer's dedicated training programme, will also deliver training programmes to the company's management.
The Barista Academy currently provides service teams with an introduction to becoming a barista, covering the history of coffee, the coffee bean journey, recipe management and customer service. An advanced level certificate will be launched later this year for those that have completed the introductory course.
Earlier this year BaxterStorey launched a range of coffee products under its sustainably produced Down to Earth brand, which is certified by Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and the Soil Association.
By Chris Druce
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