For many specialty coffee roasters, a staple part of creating wholesale partnerships with cafes, restaurants, and hotels is being able to supply suitable coffee equipment. Notably, these relationships often extend beyond supplying roasted coffee.
It’s important to remember that these customers are signing up to be an extended representation of your business, just by serving your coffee. Therefore, it’s essential to offer these clients the coffee machinery needed to help them optimise brewing and flavour.
Alternatively, the situation can be reversed. Customers looking to improve their set-up and buy new machinery may choose to make you their main supplier – provided you can supply equipment at a suitable price.
The benefits of offering espresso equipment
“While selling coffee can be a roastery’s bread and butter, an espresso machine partnership allows them to connect with the coffee community on another level,” explains Megan, who has also worked with brands such as La Marzocco UK.
It’s no secret that roasting and profiling a coffee takes a lot of expertise and time behind the scenes. That said, gaining knowledge about espresso equipment can help your brand develop a strong relationship with the relevant partners. In turn, you will be able to pass on your knowledge, experience, and product with greater ease, which can benefit you and your customers in the long run.
Including espresso machinery in your services can help increase your understanding of the industry as well. “It allows you to interact with new sets of people, and understand the needs, wants and pain points of the market,” Megan adds. “Beyond this, you’ll get to see developments in technology, trends and the market as a whole.”
An espresso machine is the heartbeat of a coffee shop. Owners are completely reliant on that sole piece of equipment to run their business day in and day out. It is crucial to understand how the right equipment can enhance the efficiency of a coffee shop – and how a business can be affected if the machinery breaks down.
By providing espresso equipment, you can build strong partnerships and determine aspects of where your business could add value to others. However, offering machinery to businesses is not an ‘easy’ or ‘quick’ way to make money for your business and can come with several risks.
Offering coffee equipment: What to consider
There are many factors to consider before committing to selling espresso equipment to customers. Megan explains that the ethos at VA Machinery comes down to integrity and honesty.
“The number one priority is ensuring that equipment sold is done so with purpose and integrity. We get to know our partners face to face, advise them without prejudice or judgment, and uphold their values as if they were our own,” she says.
The term ‘partnership’ is here. By offering machinery, you are essentially putting your brand name and reputation in the hands of someone else. Forming the right connections can create more opportunities for both your roastery and the espresso machine supplier.
The wrong partnerships can be fatal. Offering unreliable machinery or equipment that is unfit for the business can jeopardise a cafe’s trust in you and lead them to look for a new supplier.
Espresso machinery is highly contextual as well. Megan explains that “every market, town, city, and business can be vastly different. That’s the beauty of our industry. So, it’s important to note these differences and advise and act based on those.”
One of the most essential things to remember is that when it comes to espresso equipment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You need to be familiar with the machinery you’re offering and understand your customers’ needs to offer them the best solution.
So, what should you consider before committing to this revenue stream? Megan explains that the approach at VA Machinery includes a variety of things, such as:
- Your location
- Your key customer base: what do their needs, wants, likes and dislikes look like?
- What problem are you solving? This would refer to your unique selling point (USP), what your menu includes, and how far you are looking to experiment with beverages.
There are so many questions that make up the bigger picture here. While factors such as brand values, target market and product offerings are key, so are staff volume, footfall, and location.
“Recommendations for machinery should be based on what technology is needed when it comes to things like productivity, sustainability and more,” Megan adds.
Offering coffee equipment: What to consider
An additional factor to consider before committing to offering coffee equipment is the environmental impact. A recent global report indicates that 40% of the general public are more involved in social issues and many are changing their buying patterns.
As concerns around sustainability and climate change grow, it’s essential to invest in eco-friendly coffee packaging and ethical pricing in order to ‘future-proof’ the industry. Espresso machines can be another easy win for ensuring a greener future.
For example, Victoria Arduino is developing its espresso machinery technology regarding brewing, extraction science, and sustainability. The brand’s latest developments include pure brew, which allows an espresso machine to brew loose-leaf tea or filter coffee by using a conical double mesh filter. Beyond this, the brand aims to reduce energy consumption and emissions throughout the whole lifecycle of the machine.
Before committing to offering coffee equipment, you need to determine these key factors:
- What your customers need from their equipment.
- How your business benefits. For example, whether the investment allows you to provide your customers with better service.
- Would the investment act as a positive extension of your brand reputation and help you achieve your company’s sustainability goals?
As a specialty coffee roaster, your budget will largely dictate the equipment you’re able to bring in. As such, it’s important to make the right decisions and invest where needed. In light of the environmental concerns around coffee packaging, investing in sustainable materials may be the most effective way to get started.
At MTPak Coffee, we applaud any efforts made by specialty coffee roasters to reduce the environmental impact of their business. Therefore, we offer coffee businesses a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options that can be custom-printed to your business specifications. Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining, all of which minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.