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Buying Guide for Office Coffee Services
Everyone loves coffee. An office coffee service can be a welcome addition to your employee break room for any size office. In fact, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) did a study that showed employee satisfaction with workplace ambiance shot up almost 80 percent with the addition of office coffee services. In summary, employees feel more valued - and in return they do better work.
Modern office coffee services can offer much more than just coffee. You can bring in tea, hot chocolate, cider and even soup, along with a host of condiments and extras. As well, there are all kinds of plans and providers depending on what your budget and needs are.
Here, be aware that for the most part, only offices with 20 or more employees are candidates for an office coffee service. If you have a smaller staff head count, you may find it more economical to purchase your own coffee equipment and supplies.If you are contemplating bringing in office coffee services for your company, this Buying Guide will give you a helpful overview you can use as you evaluate your options.
Office Coffee Services Equipment
It is industry standard for a coffee services provider to provide you with the brewing equipment for free. You will pay for the supplies and the regular refresh services (typically weekly but sometimes more frequently for very large offices). This is a good deal for you, since most of the time the brewing equipment is worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars if purchased separately.
So here, pay attention to ordering minimums to be sure you can meet them, because if you cannot, you may need to rent the equipment instead. As well, if you do not like the equipment that is provided, you may want to consider a different provider, since the equipment will determine how satisfied your employees are with the coffee service.
Today, many office coffee service providers are transitioning away from transitional brewing equipment in favor of single-serving brew equipment (think Keurig and similar models). Not only does single-serve equipment provide maximum freshness each time, but there are so many options for flavors and beverages that it can be easier to meet the needs of a diverse employee group.
Perhaps best of all, opting for single-serve equipment cuts way back on supplies waste and the brewing process is quite speedy (so your staff can get back to their desks more quickly).
One thing to consider here is how much coffee your employees really drink. If everyone is crowding around the coffeemaker, you may find it more affordable to stick with traditional brewing equipment. But if only a few employees drink coffee and others drink tea and still others bring their own supplies from home and just need hot water, then a single-serving setup may be much more affordable.
Comparing Sellers for Office Coffee Services
When you begin evaluating different providers, it won't take you long to notice that your choices are limited to three options:
Nationwide providers designed to serve big companies.
100+ employees is the norm here. You will receive the benefit of a setup consultation to meet your specific needs.
Smaller regional or local providers. 20+ employees is the norm here.
You may find more personalized service and greater options with a local provider.
Any size company is eligible but your options may be more limited.
It can be tempting to just go for the seller with the lowest prices, but first you will want to make sure you can taste all the products before you choose a provider. Ask about "tasting parties" and have your employees participate in the selection process - after all, you want them to like the new beverages.
As well, as important as price will be service. You want to be sure you always have beverages and supplies in stock, and that if your equipment breaks down for any reason you can have a new machine or a repair done that same day.
Only once you have decided you like the taste of the beverages and you feel confident about the customer service should you begin a price comparison between providers.
Office Coffee Services Pricing
Most companies report paying a minimum of $60 and a maximum of $120 per employee per year, depending on company size and usage. Most of this cost will come from the beverages themselves. Here is also where you will notice the price differential between traditional brewing and single-serve options.
Here are some cost guidelines you can use for comparison purposes:
- Equipment rental: $40-$50.
- Case of 24 or 48-count coffee grounds bags: $20-$40.
- Case of single-serve beverage brewing cups: $30-$50.
- Box of hot chocolate: $5.
- Box of assorted teas (decaf/regular): $10-$15.
- Box of instant soup: $10-$50.
- Supplies (napkins, stirrers, etc): $5-$20.
- Cutlery, first aid supplies, OTC medications, paper goods: $5-$50.
Be sure to find out what is included - for instance, sometimes supplies are included and sometimes they cost extra. Also read all the fine print on your contract before you sign so you know what your obligations and options are.
Buying Tips for Office Coffee Services
Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind before choosing a provider.
If you can pay online, this automates nearly everything about the process, including issue resolution.
Service and upgrades.
Find out how equipment issues are addressed - and how quickly repairs can be made. Also ask if upgrades are available if you outgrow your equipment.
Vending versus equipment.If your office is large enough, you may want to consider a coffee vending service (a big machine) versus traditional or single-serve equipment.
Glass versus thermal.
Coffee keeps twice as long in thermal containers but you can't see the level.