Some years ago, coffee may not have been a deciding factor as to which fast food restaurant (QSR) to go to. This was most likely due to that no fast food places were serving particularly good coffee, their main focus was around the food, understandably.
With the boom of coffee culture in recent years, it’s not just the pubs and restaurants that need to up their game to compete with coffee shops. Fast food joints have a need to accommodate the mass of coffee lovers throughout the UK and serve great coffee.
Who is doing it?
When you think of fast food, the top brands that come to mind are the likes of McDonalds, Burger King, Subway etc.
A fast food restaurant, also known as a quick service restaurant (QSR) within the industry, is a specific type of restaurant that serves fast food cuisine and has minimal table service
With the recent release of the upgraded and rebranded McCafé from McDonalds this has stepped up and set the bar for QSR’s in terms of a quality coffee. By using upgraded coffee machines in stores equipped with features to create a wider variety of "more consistent-tasting drinks".
Kristy Cunningham, US senior vice president of strategy and insights, told Bloomberg: "We're really excited about the McCafé brand and what it can do to complement our food offerings… It gives us the chance to follow what the customer is really looking for."
Burger King are not shying away from the coffee market either. Bringing back the “BK Joe” name, along with a new Burger King propriety blend. Updating procedures in store to serve various offers and flavours, they are set to please their coffee loving customers and "serve a hot and freshly-brewed cup of coffee every time, for every guest."
This is showing traction across the UK, with warnings coming out to coffee shops that they could be facing challenges by the coffee served in QSR’s. Fast food venues have boosted coffee sales three times faster (since 2008) by selling high-quality cappuccinos and lattes. Great quality coffee isn’t only available in coffee shops anymore, it’s a challenge coffee shops will have to face. Read this article for more.
How can they do it?
Keeping service running smoothly and customer receiving their orders promptly is a fine art that these restaurants have mastered. Having a team of experienced baristas in every venue isn’t feasible, also this would slow down the fast service that they all pride on delivering. So how can QSR’s serve great coffee without slowing service, building a coffee bar or hiring baristas?
Many of these restaurants have invested in smart and versatile bean-to-cup coffee machines. There are various options depending on their daily output, their needs for speciality coffee and the space available for the machine to sit. Using an automatic speciality coffee machine, means any members of staff can make a great coffee at the touch of a button/screen.
A great coffee machine allows the majority of the server’s efforts can be focussed on the food, keeping the minds at ease knowing the coffee will be a perfect cup every time. Consistency is another key element which fast food places pride on, by using a machine every cup of coffee will be the same, removing the risk of human error.
Of course, finding great coffee beans to use in the machines is a very important factor. Not sure which region or flavour profile to go for? Read some more on what makes a good coffee and the differences between coffee regions here.