Westomatic Joins Forces with Lyons Instant Coffee to Deliver A Great Cup of Coffee, writes Ian Reynolds-Young.
I’m ready to take some stick for this: nevertheless, I think it’s fair comment to say that, for most vending operators, their choice of soluble coffee for vending machines is dictated by the bottom line. Full stop.
It follows, then, that any coffee brand that’s new to vending will immediately be engaged in a ‘race to the bottom’, if it is to secure sales and earn a share of the market. It’s a situation that is anathema to two vending stalwarts, Andy Dixon and Richard Brinsley.
Andy has recently joined Lyons Instant Coffee and his task is to build the brand in both vending and retail by emphasising ‘service’ and ‘quality’ alongside ‘price’. Richard has been the face of Westomatic since Adam was a lad and his mission is to maintain and expand the role of the manufacturer whose machines proudly bear the tag, ‘made in England’.
…delivering a great cup of coffee is their raison d’être
As far as these guys are concerned, delivering a great cup of coffee is their raison d’être and to achieve their mutual objective, well… Nothing is too much trouble.
Before Christmas, Andy reached out to machine suppliers, proposing the idea of a collaboration aimed at optimising the industry’s most popular machines, so that they could showcase the exceptional taste of Lyon’s Instant. Richard responded immediately.
‘Andy came down to Newton Abbot and we chatted about everything. Am I the last person still standing in the industry that remembers Lyons Coffee Houses?’, Richard said. ‘In my eyes, the Lyons brand epitomises traditional English quality, much as Westomatic does. Andy is a well-known industry figure who knows a thing or two about coffee. He brought two coffees for us to work with, both blends of Arabica and Robusta.’
And so, the process of trial and error began, focusing on two of the most popular machine ranges from Westomatic: Primo and Sigma. ‘The way the machine is set up has a fundamental impact on the taste of the drink it produces’, Richard said. ‘There are a number of parameters on these machines that can be adjusted by operators to optimise drinks quality. What is the ideal gramme throw? How and when should the coffee be put into the flow of water to achieve the best results? When should milk powder be added to create the appropriate froth for drinks as diverse as, for instance, Latte Cappuccino or Flat White?’
With two machine ranges to address and two types of coffee at hand, it was always going to be a long day.
‘Operators can be forgiven – maybe! – for underestimating the quality of the Lyons Instant brand’, Richard said. ‘The brand is enjoying substantial growth in the retail sector and is particularly strong in the fast-growing discount sector, that delivers quality at great price points. In Lyons Instant, they can offer customers a top-quality product at an exceptional price and that’s why sales have soared’. Exactly the same proposition is available to vending operators. ‘Enlightened’ – Richard’s word – operators have availed themselves of this value for money proposition. Others, perhaps averse to any kind of change, have elected to ‘stick’ rather than ‘twist’.
‘I knew that Andy wouldn’t be associated with a poor product after all his time in the industry’ Richard said. ‘Even so, I was surprised by the results of our trials. In my opinion, Lyons Instant is a very good coffee, just as good as other market-leading soluble coffees.’
Primo and Sigma machines can deliver the perfect cup of Lyons Instant
The good news for Westomatic customers is that, thanks to this collaboration, they will no-longer have to reinvent the wheel if they choose to make the switch to Lyons. ‘Having established the optimum parameters within which the appropriate Primo and Sigma machines can deliver the perfect cup of Lyons Instant, we have ‘saved’ those parameters. We can now offer customers a USB stick, which allows them to optimise their equipment for Lyons Instant in seconds. It eliminates the guesswork and therefore removes much of the perceived risk involved in switching from one coffee to another. ‘It doesn’t matter how good a machine is; if it’s not properly set up, the drinks it serves will, at best, be mediocre’, Richard said.
As for Andy, his epic one-day winter trek from Shropshire to Devon and back was ‘well worth it’. ‘Like me, Richard and his colleagues at Westomatic are committed to quality. When an operator puts your coffee in his machines, you really are in the lap of the gods. If a poor drink is produced, the common reaction is to blame the coffee! Armed with the machine parameters that we worked so hard to establish, operators of Westomatic machines are assured that their switch to Lyons Instant will be hassle free, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a great coffee at a great price.’