Canadian Vending

Features Coffee Service
Are Times Changing?

September 16, 2010
By Neil Madden vice-president CAMA


More than 10 years ago, we were all getting ready for Y2K. Then we had
terrorism attacks, the blackout, SARS, the bird flu and now the economy
to scare us.

More than 10 years ago, we were all getting ready for Y2K. Then we had terrorism attacks, the blackout, SARS, the bird flu and now the economy to scare us. It seems that at every turn, the media hype, whether warranted or not, creates a certain amount of fear in people. Of course, we are all wondering what to expect in the so-called “new economy” to come.

Office coffee, particularly in Canada, has developed very fast over the last 10 years, and is quickly becoming, for most operators, a single-serve industry. Eroded profit margins, more competition from retail and web retailers and advances in equipment have been fast and furious. Many are speculating that the ride is over, and as companies look to cut costs, the era of the free single-cup branded coffee is dead. Others argue that as companies look to cut costs and benefits, offering a better cup of coffee is a much simpler and cheaper way to improve employee morale. Let’s look at both scenarios and how we can win at both.

The end of the world?
Warehouses are stocked, usually supporting more than one type of single-cup coffee machine. The products take up more space, offer fewer margins and are often difficult to manage. But they also enhance customer satisfaction, account retention and improve sales figures.


If customers start calling to cancel, change or adjust these coffee programs, then what do office coffee companies have to offer? How about brand name and/or high quality Frac Pack coffees that offer great coffee quality at a  greatly reduced price? This may sound like a step backwards to many, but to savvy OCS operators, this may lead to great opportunities and a great boost to margins. Remember how many of you have been complaining about the margins on your single-cup program!

For other smart OCS providers, single-cup coffee programs can create new opportunities. Employers still want to cut costs and lower wages, bonuses and benefits. But they also want to retain good staff, and a better OCS program is a cost effective way to do this. Studies have shown that employees perceive the value of great coffee at work to be much higher than the actual cost, so presenting a single-cup program may be the ideal plan for your business.

Regardless of the direction you take (perhaps both), there is no doubt that office managers and owners will be looking to their providers for solutions and real information that can help them. It is more important now than ever for the provider to have this information. The upcoming Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association (CAMA) show in Calgary is the place to get this knowledge.

Quality Coffee Certification Program
The purpose of the Quality Coffee Certification Program (QCCP) is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers. It also helps their salespeople move away from selling on price, and more toward selling on quality.

The course takes you from “the bean to the cup.” Participants will experience coffees from various regions, different blends and roasts, and understand the quality control process for brewing and serving coffee.

This is a great addition to the 2010 CAMA trade show, and the second time this program has been offered in Canada. This is going to be the premier show to come to in Canada if you are in the OCS sector. For those OCS operators who have never been to a CAMA show, the 2010 Calgary show will be better and more inclusive than ever before.

For more information on the QCCP, or to pre-register for the education seminar, go to the CAMA website at or contact CAMA staff at 905-826-7695 or toll free 888-849-2262.