We all love to grab a great coffee, but have our attitudes towards our beloved coffee shops changed in the new normal? In recent months, hygiene has understandably been at the forefront of our minds due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s inevitable that an increased focus on cleanliness and safety will continue long after the pandemic is over, but how can coffee retail outlets create a comfortable and secure environment for customers and staff to enjoy?
From cafes to service stations to university campuses – providing great coffee is vital, but there are new considerations to add to the mix. Will customers need to touch any buttons or shared surfaces to order their coffee? How much contact will they need to have with a barista? Will consumers need to wait in a crowded area to collect their coffee? How will customers pay?
These are all valid questions that need to be considered. Sure, there are practical considerations to be taken into account such as social distancing and hand sanitising. But what if the coffee experience itself could be completely contactless and touch-free?
In this blog we explore five ways the coffee retail sector will adapt to deliver the contactless coffee experience of the future.
A shift to automation
As coffee brewing technology continues to advance, a barista-quality beverage doesn’t necessarily require an actual barista. That means a premium, barista-quality coffee can be achieved from an automated bean-to-cup coffee machine, with the added bonus of consistency and less chance of spreading germs.
That doesn’t mean that the barista role is dead, in fact the role of the barista has never been more important. Baristas in the future will play an important role in building relationships with customers and sharing information about the craft beverage and where the coffee has come from, as well as being able to taste the coffee and make adjustments to the coffee machine.
Touchless coffee – Ordering by app
In a recent study, 82% agreed that touchless interfaces were more hygienic and would give them better protection. The same survey also found that 71% of UK consumers expected to interact with touchless technologies in the future.
Coffee shops have worked with apps for a while now but this has mainly been built around the traditional loyalty card. Going forward coffee retail will need to take this one step further in terms of ordering drinks with touchless technology.
A barista-quality coffee doesn't necessarily require an actual barista
Voice activation is growing in popularity and with TopBrewerVoice we have pioneered voice control for coffee. The ability for customers to order coffee with their voice for a touchless coffee experience, and without the need to wait in a queue or crowded area for their drink, is a great selling point for coffee retail operators.
Voice controlled appliances, including smart bulbs, smart speakers and smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, are becoming commonplace in the home, and voice control technology is also disrupting the retail environment. Voice control is more than just a fad, and can be a really helpful addition for customers.
For some, the ability to order using only their voice is a matter of convenience, but for those with disabilities or motor impairments, voice activation technology can often make living an independent life more achievable.
Voice control technologies are also increasing in popularity due to hygiene concerns surrounding Covid-19. A coffee machine with voice activation means customers no longer need to touch buttons or shared surfaces.
With the launch of TopBrewerVoice, we have taken the touchless coffee experience to a whole new level. TopBrewer now boasts Siri compatibility, which means that customers can order their favourite coffee using only their voice, for the most advanced coffee user experience available today.
Recent research found that the majority of consumers actually prefer to pick up a coffee from a self service station or standalone unit, rather than a “traditional” coffee shop. This shift in consumer habits towards a contactless coffee experience gives owners of cafes and other retail environments a great opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to their coffee offering, with creative installations and self-service coffee points being a way of standing out from the crowd.
Not forgetting contactless payment, allowing contactless transactions is a great way of appealing to those who want a quick self-service coffee, or those who might prefer to minimise contact and keep distance from others due to Covid-19. A contactless payment option can also keep queues to a minimum and increase efficiencies, as it doesn’t require a member of staff at a till, and it can be done in an instant.
A contactless self-service coffee machine with integrated payment is the way forward. For TopBrewer we have enabled contactless payment through ScanomatPAY with the ability to pay via credit/debit card or smart device through ApplePay and GooglePay. Providing a first-class premium, speciality beverage experience that is completely self-service and economically viable has never been simpler with payments being processed securely online.
Even the most advanced and reliable machine will have an issue at some point, and you must consider the technical service and maintenance offered by your coffee machine provider. Every minute that the machine is out of action is a loss in sales and potentially an unhappy customer, so how quickly can an engineer be with you?
CoffeeCloud, the cloud management system for TopBrewer coffee machines, gives you an overview of your coffee machines in realtime and means we can often identify potential issues and send an engineer to site before you may have even noticed a problem.
BaristaDJ takes it one step further, and will deliver tools that will provide for pro-active remote intervention – in real time. Technicians will be able to remotely connect with your TopBrewer machines to adjust parameters within the system, control components and rapidly diagnose and fix problems in a fraction of the time it would take to get a technician to site.
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TopBrewer combines cutting-edge design, premium quality beverages, cashless payment, voice control and IoT technology, to deliver a variety of speciality drinks at the touch of the TopBrewer app. With its clean lines and minimal design, the TopBrewer provides a smart, stylish solution for retail that complements your perfect customer experience.