The Beverage Standards Association (BSA) panel discussion on how to improve hot beverages at lunch!


The frequency of changing water filters, the latest trends in hot chocolate, social media, training and loyalty cards were just some of the topics discussed at the Beverage Standards Association’s panel discussion on how to improve hot beverages at the lunch! show on Wednesday 24 September at the Business Design Centre, London

Chaired by Angus McKenzie, managing director, Kimbo UK www.kimbo.co.uk, the panel comprised Paul Eagles, managing director, The Kokoa Collection www.kokoacollection.co.uk, Richard Scorer from 3M Water Filtration www.solutions.3m.co.uk and Jackie Mitchell, PR consultant and freelance journalist www.jackiem.com

Paul Eagles, The Kokoa Collection: Jackie Mitchell; Richard Scorer, 3M Water Filtration, and Angus McKenzie, Kimbo UK

In answer to the question “Why should I change my water filter every nine months?” Richard Scorer from 3M Water Filtration said “You shouldn’t be changing it every nine months. The filter needs to be changed when it expires depending on the area of the country and the hardness of the water – it could be three months in one area, six months in another.”

“What are the latest trends in hot chocolate – what should I be serving?” – Paul Eagles from The Kokoa Collection said “Around four years ago there were developments for coffee with latte art and with tea with loose leaf, but not for hot chocolate. That’s no longer the case. The Kokoa Collection’s hot chocolate is made from real chocolate and sourced from single origins. You need to work on the whole hot chocolate category and serve different types to suit customers who want something sweeter, for example, or something purer with 82% cocoa. The more effort you put into it, the more rewards you’ll receive. People are looking for a special experience and they will pay more for it. Develop the hot chocolate market as a whole rather than just serve a single variety. Also pay attention to the point of presentation – how about serving hot chocolate on bamboo serving trays?”

How can social media help me increase business?

Jackie Mitchell pointed out that social media is free so that was the first benefit. She said “By using Twitter and Facebook, you will raise the profile of your coffee shop and engage with the local community. You can use social media to promote any special offers, hold competitions and on Twitter you can follow people in your local community.”

Paul added “On social media customers can talk about your outlet and recommend it,” while Angus talked about the advantage of pictures on social media. “Customers may take a picture of a great hot chocolate and tweet it. Don’t be afraid to approach them. Pictures on social media work wonders.”

Why should I invest in training staff as they always leave?

Paul Eagles said “You need to demonstrate quality and high standards at your coffee shop and establish perimeters such as the extraction time and procedures. You don’t want to let that slip and the only way you can keep standards high is through well-trained staff.”

Angus McKenzie commented “The flip side of not training staff is that the business doesn’t move forward. With suppliers, training should be part of the service – certainly that’s the case with BSA supplier members. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find a supplier that offers training. Don’t under-estimate training. It’s a great way of motivating staff. Print off certificates (you can get templates online) and present them to your staff when they’ve completed training.”

A customer complained about the taste of the tea – they said it was probably the water. What should I do?

Richard Scorer said “Tea is 99% water so there will be a chlorine taste if there’s no filter. When tea is served, if there is a filthy layer of slime on the top, this indicates there’s hardness and lime scale in the water. So you need a scale remover filter. Check filters are changed on time.”

How effective are loyalty cards?

Angus McKenzie said “Loyalty cards are always a tangible way of thanking customers, but there are different ways of doing it. Rather than the usual “buy five drinks and you get the sixth free” offer a double stamp on Tuesday, a triple one on Monday and so on – don’t be trapped by doing loyalty cards one way only.”

The Association was so pleased with the response of this panel discussion that they will be hold another event at Casual Dining in February 2015 and they are also considering running events at BSA retail members’ throughout the UK in 2015. For more information please contact Martyn Herriott at [email protected].