Oxwich Bay Hotel in Wales is an extremely popular wedding venue, holiday destination and restaurant. It’s the only hotel alongside the beach on the Gower Peninsula, Britain’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Oxwich Beach is reputed to be ‘Britain’s Best Beach’ and is one of the ‘Twelve Best Beaches in the World’.
The area’s reputation and its stunning location means the hotel caters for a wide audience in terms of age, occasions and taste. It is owned and managed today by Ian Williams.
The hotel, originally the Oxwich rectory, was built in the late 18th century. Ian William’s grandfather bought the hotel at auction in 1959, operating it as a bed and breakfast until 1966 before developing it into a hotel. The hotel closed in 1980 and, after unsuccessful attempts to sell the property, Ian restarted the business in 1982 and has operated it ever since.
Ian Williams believes coffee is an important part of the hotel’s food and beverage offering. It is served at breakfast, mid-morning and afternoon, and after dinner. He looks for quality, freshness, consistency and speed of service in every cup. Depending on the season (and the weather!) the hotel can serve anything up to 200 cups per day, proving quite a challenge.
Ian spends time in the hotel every day. He has three key managers who, with a team of around 40 full and part-time employees, operate the business on a day-to-day basis. All three of the hotel’s managers were appointed from within as Ian is a great believer in investing his time to support his staff’s career development, and the business.
Search for a new commercial coffee machine
In 1995 Ian was looking for a commercial coffee machine to replace the hotel’s ‘Scanomat’ machine which had been in operation since 1991. The Scanomat coffee machine used a powder product which was mixed with hot water to provide a ‘quality’ hot beverage with reasonable consistency.
Ian Williams said, “I felt we needed to improve the standard of our coffee. We were compromising our customers’ growing expectations of hot beverages, and in particular of coffee, since more and more ‘fresh’ coffee was becoming available.”
The nature of the hotel business meant that sporadic volume and serving a consistent quality hot beverage were Ian’s main challenges. Even back in 1995, the WMF Bistro machine used fresh coffee beans and fresh milk, which was one of the reasons Ian chose it to replace the existing professional coffee machine. He also liked the fact that the WMF coffee machine delivered a consistently good beverage at the press of a button, and that it was extremely well- manufactured.
The first WMF bistro! coffee machine in Wales?
Ian told us, “When I purchased the WMF bistro I believe it was one of the first of its kind in Wales. Although it was a significant investment at the time, my belief in investing in the business paid off. I had that same coffee machine for more than 16 years!”
That original WMF commercial coffee machine has now been replaced. The new Bistro still works on the same ‘bean to cup’ principle as the original. Ian describes the new Bistro as “an excellent machine which really delivers a superb beverage”. He is particularly impressed with the advances in the fresh milk system, the addition of the chocolate hopper and its auto-cleaning option.
Oxwich Bay Hotel employs a number of short term, temporary staff. Ian Williams describes the simple touch screen operation of the Bistro commercial coffee machine and its speed of delivery as ‘fundamental benefits’. They allow the hotel staff to manage the sporadic periods of business without compromising the quality of their hot beverage offerings.
Ian Williams offers this advice to other hoteliers wanting to make the most of the coffee they serve.
“Communicate the quality of your coffee - bean to cup is unbeatable for freshness. Choose the correct crockery for your market sector as presentation is vitalEnsure you always pre-warm cups prior to dispensing hot drinks. Provide the option of take-away, no matter where you operate, as this is often a missed opportunity to cash in on additional profit.”
Have alook at the Oxwich Bay Hotel website: http://www.oxwichbayhotel.co.uk/