Insight...with Steve Penk, managing director, Melitta

02/04/2015 - 11:29
What have been the challenges and main drivers for Melitta and the coffee sector?

After acquiring MSS UK in April 2012, Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions have spent the last three years restructuring the business in the UK. This is so we can focus our efforts and resources around our existing customers and developing our team to service, maintain and technically set up our high end coffee making equipment so that we continue to provide excellent taste in the cup whilst delivering coffee revenues, growth and significant profitability for our customers and their customers alike. 

The coffee industry has been transformed over the last 10 years, predominately on two fronts. The explosion of coffee “to go” being made available in so many more environments and the advent of micro roasting and the plethora of smaller roasters entering the coffee industry. The “to go” model has helped change the way we think about coffee and the average consumers demand for better quality coffee in all aspects of their lives has increased as has demand for quality coffee at all times of the day.

What are your best sellers?

The Cafina Alpha is the bedrock on which the Melitta business has been built upon not just in the UK but around the world. This machine has proven in all environments to be a workhorse that keeps making quality drinks year after year. With so many machines in the UK having produced over 250,000 drinks it is easy to see why so many customers who operate serious volume coffee businesses choose to replace their existing Cafina Alpha with another Cafina Alpha.

Melitta has embarked upon a multi-million euro project to bring the new XT series of machines to market that have build upon the success of the Cafina Alpha and which is now available in the UK with the XT6. The XT range will soon have two more models available when the XT4 and the XT8 both become available later in the year.   

What is your growth strategy?

This is very straightforward for Melitta Professional UK over the coming years.

1. Roll out the new XT range to demonstrate the massive capability and innovation this new range of machines has to offer.

2. Continue to invest in systems and people to provide exceptional after sale service and to continue to build a team of people who share the same vision of making Melitta Professional a leading player in the UK coffee equipment market. 

3. Continue to develop our customer base by delivering an exceptional level of after sales service which is second to none.

How should operators be differentiating themselves in the coffee market?

It sounds an obvious answer but focusing on the fundamentals of their business so they are not overlooked under the general pressures of daily operations. It is crucial the entire team ensure that the basics are done well and the all members know what is expected of them and their role within the team. Buy the best your budget can afford be that the quality of coffee you serve, the fixtures and fittings in your store and of course the coffee making equipment. Do your research into the equipment, look at the after sales support of the supplier, take referrals and ask existing customers for their real time experiences. Don’t follow the crowd because of a badge or brand, think about the total cost of ownership over the five to eight years your machine will provide you with an income.

What are the innovations driving the coffee sector?

Telemetry and digital technology is changing the face of the coffee industry and how we as consumers interact within our coffee experience. The next generation of coffee machines with integral telemetry will continue to change our drinking experience. The next generation of the “coffee to go” interfaces can control the ambiance of the environment around us as we select our drink. Controlling the smell in the air as we choose our drink selection, whilst influencing that decision with the sights and sounds we hear and see as we make that selection.

From an equipment point of view, innovations in software technology allow manufacturers to control the parameters in brewing and milk production. Self-adjusting grinders that keep coffee within an optimum level of extraction allows for consistency in the cup for every drink made. Ice cold milk foam as well as perfect micro foam on every drink allows for menu development and new drink selections to be added to the menu and of course drive profitability.

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