Office Coffee: How Competition is Bettering Our Business

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We welcome our own Howard Chapman to give his thoughts on the ever changing office coffee market & how competition is changing the coffee world for the better

For today's feature we welcome our own VP of Office Coffee Howard Chapman to give his thoughts on office coffee, competition spurring major change in business and how you as the consumer are benefiting from it. Howard holds over 20 years of experience in the beverage industry and recently began his term as the Chair of the Board at NAMA (National Automatic Vending Association). Howard brings his years of expertise to our blog and we look forward to hearing from him more in the future!

According to the SCAA, when I began my career in coffee in the early 90’s, there were only 2,850 coffee shops in the U.S., and by comparison, in 2013, there were 29,300. In 1997, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz was quoted in saying

"We (Starbucks) would take something old and tired and common-and weave a sense of romance and community around it. We would rediscover mystique and charm that had swirled around coffee through the centuries. "

That being said we have seen a massive explosion of quality coffee from incredible companies like Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Peets, Intelligensia, Stumptown, Box Car and of course Royal Cup! These major roasters, distributors and producers of some of the finest coffees in the world have completely redefined not just coffee in general in America but specifically in the workplace.

Now you might ask why would someone who works for a leading traditional roaster like Royal Cup Coffee, would be talking about our cohorts in the coffee business. It’s simple…these companies have together (re) defined a completely new market; in fact, a whole new experience related to coffee, and more recently, specialty coffee beverages. Coffee shops have brought a whole new romance, experience, and set of expectations to American culture. A natural extension of those expectations is that those same consumers now expect the same experiences in the workplace break room. Millennial growth in the workforce is making companies rethink their coffee programs and employee benefits as a whole.

Yeah, I’ll admit it, replicating the coffee shop experience in the workplace can at times be difficult. In some cases, we are still trying to outrun old paradigms of employers who think hot and black are good enough.


"Smart companies send a clear signal to their employees by demanding the best products and services for their employees, and see the direct connection to employee satisfaction and lower turnover."

This played out before my eyes last week as I participated along with our team in an appreciation brew for one of our important customers. This technology company, which has to attract and retain the best and the brightest, offers a casual work environment, with midweek massage therapists, annual professional development funds, and high-end single serve bean-to-cup coffees and specialty drinks. We were celebrating some changes to their program by serving nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee. The employees went out of their way to voice their appreciation, and the upgraded experience goes a long way to replicate what they see at coffee shops across America, while planting the seed, that we can “bring it!” to their workplace.

What am I getting at here? It's that we are living in the golden age of specialty coffee in the workplace and while companies push harder than ever to be the top "dog" the employees are the ones who are truly benefiting. More than ever businesses are benefiting from office coffee providers who are pushing their products and services to be their absolute best! While we in the coffee industry are striving for new, creative and high quality ways to deliver the finest coffees to your workplace it's you, the employee, who reap all the amazing benefits.

So sit back and enjoy your freshly brewed “bean to cup” coffee, or that delicious single serve that you made in less than a minute and enjoy what's coming. Because at the end of the day you're enjoying the finest coffee in ways never before seen in history; and it's only going to get better.

To hear more of Howard's thoughts follow him on Twitter and be sure to check back here for more