Foodservice firms in workplaces face fierce competition from external coffee operators as consumers look elsewhere for coffee and expect to pay less while at work, according to new research.
A new survey from United Coffee UK & Ireland polled over 1,000 workers who regularly drink coffee. It found that caterers are losing 31% of total sales of coffee to the high street.
Over half of the consumers (53%) who regularly leave the workplace to buy coffee said they did so because they were looking for "quality". The food offer alongside the coffee was also mentioned as a reason.
Consumers also expected to pay 50% more on the high street for a cup than in-house (which they wanted for just £1.41 a cup).
Quality, consistency and value were seen as the top factors that would entice staff to buy coffee at work, while loyalty schemes would also help.
Cappuccino was found to be the most popular coffee type in the workplace (37%) followed by latte (34.5%) and filter (17.5%).
Phil Smith, category manager for United Coffee UK & Ireland, said that the results showed there was still "a lot of room for improvement" despite caterers already serving coffee of "a high standard".
He added: "Contract caterers face a continual battle to keep coffee drinkers on site. To do this, coffee quality has to be great, the price attractive and the point of difference overwhelming. What is important is how they entice customers to drink coffee in the workplace and keep them loyal.
"To reach those consumers who leave the workplace to purchase coffee elsewhere, caterers need to consider whether their offer suits the demographic of the workers, the pricing is right and do they provide a comfortable drinking environment?"