Coffee Success and Satisfaction

Six tips to set up and manage coffee stations that delight guests and groups.


Guests want a quick, fresh, customized cup of coffee. Optimize profit and guest satisfaction with these six tips to set up your coffee bar for success.

Tip 1: Switch to Liquid

Guests prefer liquid creamers over powder 3 to 1*


Tip 1: Switch to Liquid

Tip 2: Keep it Clean

49% of coffee buyers would not return to a messy or unclean coffee prep area.*

Keeping a clean, well-maintained coffee bar also helps guests’ perceptions of freshness and quality

Tip 2: Keep it Clean

Tip 3: Offer Flavor Variety

72% of guests rated “ability to customize” as the most important benefit of on-the-go coffee.*

By giving customers total control of their coffee creations, coffee bars are way more fun. Plan your coffee bar so customization is easy, and you’ll create a coffee experience that turns guests into loyal regulars.

Tip 3: Offer Flavor Variety

Tip 4: Streamline Service

Coffee buyers spend less than four minutes on average in a store. An intuitive, well-stocked coffee bar helps speed them through.*

Choose the best equipment and displays that are designed to reduce clutter and streamline service, so guests can find what they want quickly.

Tip 4: Streamline Service

Tip 5: Stock Creamer Singles

Nearly 50% of patrons would consider abandoning their usual coffee destination if it failed to carry their preferred creamer.*

Patrons prefer creamer singles over powder and they want both dairy and flavored options. Offer at least four creamer flavors to satisfy the majority of customers.

Tip 5: Stock Creamer Singles

Tip 6: Keep Coffee Fresh

Fresh, hot coffee counts. If offered a money-back freshness guarantee, nearly 50% of patrons would be motivated to change where they buy their coffee.*

To avoid serving or throwing away stale coffee, streamline the number of roasts offered and provide a variety of flavored creamers and syrups instead.

Tip 6: Keep Coffee Fresh*Datassentials AFH Custom Coffee Bar Study, 2010

Burton Manor Cuts Waste and Adds Flavor

When Chef John Castiglione arrived at Burton Manor Conference Center in Livonia, Michigan two years ago, servers were filling half-and-half cream carafes for every table, at parties ranging from 500 to 1,200 people. “The cream wouldn’t be used, or it would be used, and they’d ask a server to refill it, and the server would fill it all the way up or even halfway up for one person,” Castiglione says. “By the time it was all said and done, I would go through three or four cases of half-and-half per event.”

Creamer Common Sense

Burton Manor 4Castiglione switched to using portion control (PC) products from International Delight. “We’re not wasting as much product, and people can pick them up as they need,” he says. “We put them on the tables and the coffee stations. There was a concern in the beginning that people would pocket them. But we found that one or two people pocketed them, versus the previous waste in extra cases of heavy cream, times $32 a case times 52 weeks a year. It turns out to a savings of thousands of dollars.”

The decision to go with International Delight on event menus was a no-brainer, Castiglione says, because of how well known the brand is. “When I go to a gas station, they have International Delight, and everyone grabs those. People recognize it. Coffee is important, and giving them a product they are familiar with helps.” According to Technomic Creamer and Organic Volumetrics, published in May 2015, International Delight is the number one creamer brand in the away-from-home channel. Burton Manor uses the four “basics,” Castiglione says: original, French vanilla, hazelnut, and Irish cream.

Customization and Efficiency

Nearly 60% of consumers aged 18 and up drink coffee daily, according to NCA 2016 NCDTS. And 95% of lodging consumers cream their coffee, per a 2015 WWF Custom AFH Coffee Bar Study, which also found that creamer flavors continue to be the leading coffee bar condiment Burton Manor 3and are only second to the brand of coffee being served when it comes to how consumers decide where to go for coffee away from home.

“We’re excited about the things International Delight has done with both commercial and non-commercial operators and continue to believe a comprehensive consumer-centric approach is critical to a successful coffee bar program,” says Tim Gira, brand manager, foodservice, at the WhiteWave Foods Company, parent of International Delight. Earlier this year, the brand introduced a new non-dairy whipped topping program along with a line of sprinkle and drizzle toppings that can help operators generate additional beverage category excitement and incremental sales. The brand also introduced a new White Chocolate Macadamia Nut PC creamer in March that has been very well received, Gira says, and is currently rolling out a new modular PC rack that mirrors the shape of a PC and helps merchandise the products better for operators and their consumers.

“While some operators focus solely on cost management when it comes to coffee creamers and gourmet beverage toppings, others recognize the strong profitability associated with beverages. They work to optimize their coffee bar in a way that can satisfy current customers and attract new customers who are seeking out a high-quality customizable beverage experience,” Gira says. “Additionally, offering a strong variety of PC creamers and topping flavors can provide consumers with the customization options they prefer and, at the same time, reduce the operator’s need for additional coffee varietals that may end up being disposed of at the end of the day.”

4-Tier PC Bin International Delight WhiteWave

Enhance Your Coffee Bar

To find products and resources to build a better coffee bar with the customization options customers look for, contact The Coffee Bar Experts™ at WhiteWave Away From Home: 888-620-9910.

For a limited time, get a free sample of International Delight® creamer  in four of our most popular flavors, click here.



FS__0000_Layer 9Delicious Dairy-Free Recipes

Add revenue with non-dairy options.

This Salted Caramel Vanilla Almond Smoothie is an evolution of flavors that starts with a base of Silk Vanilla Almond milk layered with bananas, caramel sauce, and a hint of sea salt. Click for this and other great non-dairy recipes.