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Millennials, coffee trends and the ‘experience economy’: CAMA Expo highlights


October 28, 2015
By Canadian Vending
Michael Kinsella of Coffeesharks Cafe Insights & Consulting Group urged OCS providers not to skimp on coffee quality as customers may perceive an overall decline in quality of service.

Niagara Falls, Ont. – The CAMA Expo, held Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, delivered a lively trade show and a diverse education program featuring industry experts on coffee trends, micro markets, cashless payment and healthy vending.

Executive coach Don Carmont kicked off the education program on Friday morning with a talk entitled “Three Keys to Excelling in the New Experience Economy.” Carmont shared with members his ideas about innovating not just products but also the overall customer experience.

The “experience economy” is one where customers are looking for more than a tangible product. Walt Disney pioneered the notion through his amusement parks, Carmont said, but the speaker himself was introduced to it by his father, who in the 1940s began his career peddling various products. When he came to a small town, Carmont’s father “laid on the horn” and drew crowds of potential buyers who came on the premise that “if he doesn’t have a deal, he’ll at least have a joke.”

Companies that have had success offering intangible experiences include The Geek Squad technology firm, which aims to remove the stigma from asking for assistance with their computer; Coca-Cola, which created a desire for not just a soft drink but “The Real Thing” and Progressive Insurance, which early on in the 1960s grabbed a foothold in the insurance market by consistently going out of its way to serve customers by picking up the customer’s car in the event of an accident.

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To offer strong customer service, vending operators must give up on “silo thinking” in favour of what he calls “systems thinking,” he said. In businesses that encourage systems thinking, staff never says or indicates “that’s not my job” but see teamwork as a priority.

Carmont emphasized two key considerations that should serve operators well both with clients and the end-user, or customer: Do you keep your word? And how do you handle problems? The moment of truth, he said, is when problems arise: 50 per cent of customers will stick with you if you fix the problem, but 98 per cent of customers will stick with you if you do it on the spot. “They leave when they think you don’t care,” he said.

Michael Kinsella, managing partner of Coffeesharks Cafe Insights & Consulting Group, shared with Expo attendees the demographics of end users, as well as trends in brewing equipment, and ready-to-drink coffee and tea. Kinsella, who has more than 25 years of experience in the coffee business, picked up on the notion of an experience economy by encouraging office coffee service operators to offer the best possible coffee experience.

There is a “third wave” of the coffee experience beyond basic and specialty coffee: that is independent coffee houses brewing great coffee slowly. Millennials are helping to drive this interest in high-quality coffee through their desire for variety, he said. This desire makes them leave the office in search of pressed juices, skinny lattés (which appeal most to women aged 30 to 45), cold brew and specialty coffees – which he says are “no longer so special.”

However, it’s not just the products themselves but new coffee technologies that are creating a buzz among the adventurous coffee lovers: Aeropress, pour-over, syphon brewing and Chemex, or clean cup, brewing are some of the more interesting emerging machines and techniques, he said. Kabocha coffee, which features fermented, all-natural carbonation, is slightly alcoholic and is said to promote clean gut health, is a product to watch, he said, adding that it requires special handling but can be very profitable.

These new products and processes are trendy and fun, and while they take a bit of work to implement, are definitely doable and potentially very profitable.

Kevin Rieschi, client director, Interac Association/ Acxsys Corporation, shared with members what’s happening with cashless payment in Canada and what benefits may be in store for the vending and office coffee industries.

Manuel Parreira of the Bank of Canada updated members on the ongoing Retailer Survey on the Cost of Payment Methods. So far more than 800 of the 20,000 operators polled have responded. Parreira said he expects the Bank of Canada to release survey results on the Bank of Canada and CAMA websites in May or June 2016. The survey is intended to help the Bank understand public perception and contribute to the discussion and understanding among the industry.

Longtime friend Dan Stewart presented the Don Storey Memorial Award to David Orriss of London Vending Services Ltd., in London Ont.

The Stuart Daw Gold Service Award went to Bob Zapotochny of Personal Service Coffee of Hamilton, Ont.  

Tom Hutchinson of Automated Merchandising Systems won the title of best salesperson for the show and Covered Bridge Potato Chips won for best booth. Both exhibitors and operators chose these show-floor recipients.

The highlight of the Saturday awards gala had to be Albert and Sophie Eskow’s acceptance of the CAMA Customer Service Award and Albert’s touching tribute to Sophie. The Eskows operate Alberta Vending Services, in Leduc, Alta.

On Saturday morning, Jim Jackson of Quality Vending & Coffee Services in Winnipeg led a panel of industry experts in a discussion of micro markets with. Panel members tackled questions on the fastest-growing trend in the vending and office coffee service industry. Topics to be discussed include concept and location opportunities; technology and payment systems; marketing trends; and health and nutrition.

Also on Saturday morning, members weighed in as part of a focus group on the potential for a Canadian industry-wide healthy vending program.

The trade show, which saw approximately 300 attendees pass through its doors, featured its very own micro market lunch experience for attendees and a giant Twitter board displaying tweets from showgoers throughout the event.

Jason Moyal of Vancouver’s Happy Vending may have to change his business name to Lucky Vending. Moyal picked up the free online health and safety course from TrainCan Inc. and the $1,000 drawn from attendees’ full Expo passports.

Watch the website for more coverage of the show – including an update on cashless payment, the latest developments in healthy vending and a closer look at micro markets through the eyes of an expert panel.

Meanwhile, check out our show photos on Facebook. While you’re there, help us build our Facebook community by Liking us!