Catering design and fit-out specialist IFSE has expertise in delivering kitchens and serveries for cafes and coffee shops. To find out how the company sees the market evolving, FEJ caught up with IFSE’s specialist products sales manager, Mark Ellwood, who is currently marketing the Electrolux high speed panini grill (HSG), a product that is pertinent to the coffee shop sector due to its unique ability to produce paninis in under a minute.
Coffee shops are one of the fastest growing parts of the foodservice industry. What implications does this have for the catering equipment market, particularly in terms of product supply and service?
Coffee shops are now offering more to the consumer than ever. Space is of a premium, so retailers are looking at small catering equipment that can do a variety of roles. There is a need for simplicity on machines as operators can have high staff turnover or extra staff in the busy periods.
When it comes to the kit that coffee shops use, there is clearly more to their operations these days than just the coffee machine. What are the other main areas of catering equipment that you see generating investment?
Food on the go has grown at an incredible rate. Consumers are expecting far more choice from their coffee shops. Retailers need to be delivering food as fast as the customer gets a coffee. Food display counters are becoming key in this sector. Customers prefer seeing what is available rather than having to ask or look at a menu. This helps the retailer with food cost control, too.
How do coffee shops differ from other types of operators you have worked with? Are there any operational requirements that are unique to them?
Speed of service. All businesses want to offer the best service in the quickest time. This is even more important in the coffee shop sector. There is so much competition for consumers that sometimes it is not the offering attracting business, but the speed in which you can get served. Retailers are constantly looking at equipment that delivers food faster, has a small footprint and gives versatility to their operations.