An office coffee service might not seem to be a big thing to give to your employees, but it's a benefit they're likely to enjoy. In fact, a 2010 survey by the Keurig coffee machine company found that 37 percent of office workers would prefer free and daily fresh gourmet coffee or tea to the annual Christmas party.
So if you want to look like a hero, motivate your staff, and keep your workers from accruing unproductive downtime at the local coffee shop, consider these steps to hiring the right coffee service vendor.
Assessing and Budgeting
The first step to hiring a coffee service is to assess your employee needs. Coffee services can be expensive and you don't want to pay more than you can afford, so if you're a smaller company with less than 20 employees, it is more economical to buy a small coffee maker and a few pounds of coffee. However, if you have more than 20 employees, it is likely more economical to opt for a coffee service.
Budgeting for a coffee service and knowing what products you want is essential. For example, coffee can cost in the range of 6-60 cents per cup, depending on the quality of the coffee. Some coffee services will also provide other beverages such as tea or bottled water. Snacks and disposable tableware such as cups, stirrers, and napkins might be part of a coffee service package, or they might cost extra. Taking a survey of your employees before you order a coffee service will make them more likely to use the service and lead to less waste of resources and money.
The second phase of budgeting is soliciting bids from different coffee service vendors. Look not only at the bottom-line price, but also the variety of products that the vender sells. A cheap vender who gives you limited product options is not going to inspire your staff or give you value for your money. Be aware of the quality of the products, whether it is for coffee or snacks.
Getting the Right Equipment
Coffee equipment is also important, and many coffee service providers will provide you with the equipment you need for little or no charge. Don't let the vender skimp on equipment. A cheap coffee maker can lead to bad-tasting coffee and additional maintenance time if the equipment breaks.
Look for providers that offer equipment from known brands, and ask if the equipment has water filtration for the brewer to give you better tasting coffee and minimize scale in the equipment. Most providers will offer a wide array of coffee brewer types, including:
Don't make the mistake of purchasing equipment, since machines will eventually need costly servicing or replacing.
A coffee service provider should provide not only excellent maintenance of equipment and supplies, but also good customer service. Ask your provider how often they clean the carafes, how they handle inventory, and how quick their response time is for maintenance. Same day or next day service is ideal.
References and Contracts
Ask for references from former or current users of the coffee service. A good supplier should be willing to provide numerous references.
Never get locked into a contract with a service provider. Service providers should have your business on the strength of their products. If you have to sign a contract, choose a contract that you can end after a year or one that contains an opt-out clause.
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