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First Choice Coffee's tips on drinks

22 July 2009 by
First Choice Coffee's tips on drinks

First Choice Coffee gives advice on how top make the most of your beverages offer.


Coffee is undoubtedly one of the biggest profit drivers in the hospitality industry. It costs about 21p to make an Americano; with a selling price of £2 - that's a 90% profit margin. If you serve 50 cups of coffee a day this could mean annual profits of more than £32,000. But, to achieve full profit potential, the quality of every cup has to be high and remain consistent.


It's no good buying high-quality beans and expecting the till to keep ringing. Good coffee is about the whole package, it's about the equipment, coffee, training, after-sales support and even the water. Coffee is 99% water, so its quality can have a huge impact on taste. "If your business is in a hard water area, your coffee could taste insipid and this will be down to the water. All of our equipment comes with a BRITA water filter system, which ensures the best flavour and prolongs the life of the equipment through the prevention of limescale build-up," says Aimee Hughes.

Stephen Brecher and Hughes have been working with all the Best for Business sites to review how their coffee is served. "I recommend a bowl-style cappuccino cup and saucer, an espresso cup and saucer of the same brand and a tall latte glass," says Brecher. "As with a restaurant plate, white always looks appealing and more premium.

"Some operators serve a biscotti alongside a coffee to add value. While this is very traditional in Italy, I'd urge operators to consider the cost implications of doing this. What matters to the customer is the quality of the coffee in the cup. If they have a wonderful cup of coffee, they're likely to order another one on their next visit, but if they've had a bad cup, they won't order another just for the free biscuit," he says.

He has been doing refresher training with his sites recently. "I've been impressed on how everyone has taken to the training; but most of all, they have been really impressed when they've seen the quality of drink they're able to produce. Training helps to give staff a sense of pride, which will help deliver consistency in the cup for the customer."


The quality of any product should be retained throughout the whole customer experience and presentation is arguably the most important part.

"When eating or drinking away from home, the customer is looking for something that can't be replicated at home, particularly in the current economic climate. Coffee served in a mug similar to something the customer has at home will tarnish the whole experience, even if the coffee inside it is fantastic," he says.


It's crucial to keep the offer fresh by looking at new products to draw in customers. At the WildWood, Hughes is working with Wood to install a cold drinks offer. "Coffee sales dip in the summer, but you can plug the gap with chilled coffees, frappés and smoothies. An operation that sells just 20 drinks a day will generate more than £700 of gross profit a month," says Hughes. "It's not complicated; all that's needed is a blender, some syrups, ice, fresh fruit, if you want it, and some recipes. We have a three-tiered smoothie package specifically developed for different styles of outlet. This takes the hassle out for the operator by giving them everything they need to get started," she says.

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