This is a big decision for any cafe owner when setting up a shop or when looking to replace an existing coffee machine. It can be an intimidating and confusing market when looking into the differences and all the variable technologies and features each different coffee machine has.
Starting out it is good to understand a few key things when looking at purchasing a coffee machine for your cafe or business.
What are you willing to invest in? Are you buying outright? Are you financing?
These can be hard to answer because I am sure many would not exactly know the way to go. You will always get the best price if you buy upfront and outright but this does have direct effects on cash flow. Traditionally hospitality finance has been quite a costly product but now with new and innovative companies such as Counting Beans Capital (link to website)offering established business with a minimum of 12 months trading history the ability to finance your coffee equipment at up to 40% cheaper than traditional Hospitality finances companies. These finance options allow you to get the equipment that best matches your needs and will be perfect for your cafe as you grow rather than having to upgrade periodically as you outgrow your equipment.
2. Serviceability/ Life span
The best coffee machine is the one that is working! It can be very costly to your business and your reputation if you are having extended periods where you are unable to serve coffee.
This can be a challenge when you have a free on loan machine which has been out in multiple cafes and rebuilt multiple times, compared to a new machine that is under warranty and you have 100% service history.
There are many brands of coffee machines in the market so how to know what is going to work best for you or what is going to last the longest?
Any coffee machine that has been regularly serviced and maintained can last for longer than 7 years, or alternatively, a well-known machine that isn't serviced or maintained can decline very quickly.
Always be aware of who you are buying or sourcing from and the best people to service your machine in your area.
3. Workflow / Work Space
It may sound obvious but making sure your coffee machine and grinders fit in your desired location is crucial as you will want to have enough space on either side to have multiple staff on the machine during peak times.
Also, does it allow you space for your ancillary products on the bench like your saucers milk jugs etc.
4. Volume / Kgs Goals
Do you need a 3 group machine? This is one of the most common questions from cafe owners or people setting up cafes. It can depend on a couple of factors but a great base figure to work off is the volume you are serving and the volume you want to grow to in the coming years.
I strongly believe a well laid out and organised bar with a top tier 2 group coffee machine can serve 5-6kgs a day or up to 50kgs a week. This is quite a substantial amount of coffee to serve weekly but a two group could even serve higher volumes with the addition of some other equipment to streamline efficiencies such as Puqpress or Uber Milk.
2 Group Machines are more than capable for venues who go through up to 5-6kgs a day, whereas, for 3 group machines, you would be looking at going through 10kgs + per day to be utilizing all three group heads.