Are Self Service Coffee Machines Replacing Coffee Shops?
Self-service coffee machines in various forms are cropping up increasingly more often today. In places like hotels, petrol stations, and supermarkets, machines like this are becoming more and more common.
But what does this phenomenon bode for UK coffee culture overall? Is it the death knell of the high street coffee shop?
Self vs barista service
Why exactly are self-service coffee machines like this becoming so popular?
Here are some of the main features that distinguish self-service from barista brewed coffees.
- Speed – these machines are able to churn out drinks much more quickly than a barista
- Queueing – accordingly the time spend waiting in a queue is cut down dramatically
- Space – these machine also use up a lot less space than a traditional espresso machine
- Convenience – these machines are set up everywhere so there’s no need to make a special trip for coffee
- Choice – you can choose more specifically how you want your cup brewed, and can also send it back if it’s not done right
- Customer service – you get to interact and even establish a relationship with a real human being
- Craft – an expert barista who had honed their art can make an incomparably superior cup of coffee
- Atmosphere – coffee shops are more about human relationships than they are about the coffee alone
Will coffee shops become a thing of the past?
Although convenience is becoming increasingly important in a fast paced society, this does not mean that coffee shops are going to go extinct anytime in the near future.
Coffee drinking is at an all time high right now, and the logic behind conveniently placed self-service machines is not so much to replace coffee shops as it is to add on to them (in other words, we’re drinking so much coffee that we are still going to coffee shops, but also grabbing a quick cup at the petrol station, day care lobby, or what have you).
Coffee shops are about people – getting together with friends, business partners, etc. – and are an institution too well established to be replaced by quick cups here and there in hotel lobbies or supermarkets.
Sure, it is nice sometimes to get a quick pep up while you are on the go, but this doesn’t mean that we are going to stop meeting people in order to talk in person.
That being said, there are a number of different businesses that can benefit from a self-service machine.
How self-service machines benefit a business
Basically any business with a lot of people coming and going can benefit from installing a self-service coffee machine.
Bars and restaurants will typically opt for a more traditional, barista manned coffee setup, but essentially any other kind of business can do just fine with a self-service machine.
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