Canadian Vending

Features Coffee Service
FROM THE EDITOR: October 2006

Where Are Your Workers?


April 30, 2008
By Cam Wood


Topics

These days, it’s hardly news in the beverage industry that coffee
remains the number one choice of Canadian adults. If we were to set out
on the quest to finally nail down the age-old question of what is the
true Canadian Identity, chances are it would be our association with
the paper coffee cup and plastic lid. On every street corner, it seems,
there is someone selling coffee. Gas stations, grocery stores, c-stores
… it’s everywhere.

Where Are Your Workers?

These days, it’s hardly news in the beverage industry that coffee remains the number one choice of Canadian adults. If we were to set out on the quest to finally nail down the age-old question of what is the true Canadian Identity, chances are it would be our association with the paper coffee cup and plastic lid. On every street corner, it seems, there is someone selling coffee. Gas stations, grocery stores, c-stores … it’s everywhere.

The proliferation of that hockey player’s product since 1964 has become so entrenched in Canadian culture that seasoned travellers find the site of a drive-thru more heartwarming than that of the proud Maple Leaf.
    Patriotism among our southern friends is red, white and blue, ribbons and flags, hand over the heart and pledging allegiance. Canadians’ is double-double and a chocolate glazed.

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There’s no question, coffee is an integral part of being Canadian.

Why is it, then, that our OCS industry gives the impression of struggles and uncertainty?

Partly, of course, because we’re a culture of lemmings. Gleefully each morning we idle in half-hour long lineups just to get a cup of mediocre java.

To observers in the OCS industry, such a notion is nonsensical. What greater good could be achieved with that extra time each day?

I wonder if part of the problem facing OCS today is that we see ourselves as suppliers rather than salespeople. Maybe we see our businesses too much like services, as opposed to solutions.

At the recent Ontario Coffee and Vending Service Association conference, Sandy McAlpine reinforced the need for operators to become more seasoned salespeople. With the strength of the 2006 Canadian Coffee Drinking Study behind him, the president of the Coffee Association of Canada said there must be a more forceful approach from OCS to affect office culture.

The biggest threat, as McAlpine sees it, is the “I want to leave the office” mentality of Canadian workers. Of all the workers who leave the office to get coffee, only 18 per cent reported they are back in less than two minutes. A total of 25 per cent are gone for more than 10 minutes.

And given that 60 per cent of Canadian adults are consuming daily – the impact on business productivity is significant.

The real opportunity that lay within these results in clear. If OCS operators can become better salespeople – salespeople that present solutions to problems – then they can position themselves to get a bigger part of the coffee market.

Of course, the trick is in helping clients recognize the problem they have with a significant part of their employee base wiling away paid time in a coffee shop drive-thru. Help them see the problem, and your OCS value will skyrocket.o


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