Home-grown, locally sourced food and drink is seeing a huge rise in popularity. Consumers no longer see traceability, transparency and ethical sourcing as a nice to have, but an important factor when making shopping choices. It’s little wonder that local farm shops are becoming more and more popular.

This coupled with the rise of food and drink on-the-go and busy lifestyles necessitating more convenient choices, makes it obvious to see why the recent relaunch of Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens, Nottinghamshire has been such a success story.

Who are Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens?

Ross and Georgie Mason come from a long line of meat production farmers and opened up Gonalston Farm Shop just over a decade ago, with the aim of supplying the freshest and highest quality produce to their local community.

The shop started out with butchery counter, fruit and vegetables, deli and barista operated coffee machine. In order to meet growing demand, they underwent a a transformation earlier in 2018, which would provide them with access to many more retail lines through working in conjunction with well-known convenience brand, Budgens.

Back in September, following a refurbishment, Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens reopened its doors with a bigger and better offering. Georgie and Ross still own the store and operate as an independent retailer, but now have Budgens as a supplier, providing them with access to 2500 retail lines. It is the first farm-shop-meets-convenience store in the country with a fascia.

As their store was evolving, Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens wanted to rethink their coffee offer. With a traditional machine and many baristas, they found they were not selling enough coffee and cup quality was not consistent. They considered a number of different brands but finding one that fitted in with the farm store, would drive footfall and had a quality tea offer as well as great coffee, was a tall order.

Making Coffee-To-Go a success

There were two main goals that the team at Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens had when planning their coffee offer. For it to be a success they wanted to:

• Increase cup sales per day
• Save staff time

Getting Smokin’ Bean in place

 “I’d seen the Tchibo-to-go machines in other convenience stores, but I didn’t feel they were the right fit for a store like ours” says Georgie, “so when our Tchibo Account Manager showed us the Smokin’ Bean coffee point we were immediately interested.”

“Smokin’ Bean fits in with the look and feel of the shop with the brick wall, the lights and the artisan character. The actual size of the unit was perfect as it does not take up much room, and crucially, it only needs power as opposed to digging up the floor for drainage.”

Sustainability was a huge factor influencing to the choice to go with Smokin’ Bean in the farm shop.

Coffee farmer

Smokin’ Bean itself is the only triple certified coffee-to-go on the market; it is Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and Organic. The 100% Arabica beans are sourced through Fairtrade Cooperatives in Peru, Nicaragua and Bolivia, and all are served in fully compostable cups, or Smokin’ Bean KeepCups.

Georgie says “Ethically sourced coffee and quality go hand in hand. It is very high on our agenda when we are trying to source suppliers. We want people to have a decent living to get our product to us and we want it to be good and consistent when it gets here”.

Georgie herself is a tea drinker so it was vital that they had a quality tea offer. Smokin’ Bean comes with Suki Tea, a high end, tea blender from Belfast. The Suki Tea sourcing policy is to choose Fairtrade, Organic and/or Rainforest alliance certified teas where possible, so this is In keeping with the Smokin’ Bean sustainable ethos. The Carimali bean-to-cup coffee machine that Smokin’ Bean uses dispenses hot water, so this coupled with the Suki Tea range, meant it ticked all the boxes for Georgie.

Once the decision was made to install Smokin’ Bean, Georgie says Tchibo Coffee Service were very quick to get the wheels in motion. It only took one week to plan as the only requirements are electricity and water.

Measuring success from coffee cup sales to efficiency of labour

The time saving aspect was the first benefit that Georgie and Ross noticed. As the bean-to-cup machine is self-serve, they did not need a member of staff to stand and make coffees. This meant the labour could be used more efficiently; as a result, they are able to put more staff in the kitchen and the output from this is definitely going in the right direction.

The consistently great quality from Smokin’ Bean was also something they were pleased to offer their customers.

“We’ve had many customers compliment the flavour of the coffee, and the bean-to-cup machine produces coffee as good as the coffee we would have made with a barista, just with greater consistency.”

Georgie initially had a concern that people would be reticent to use the machine, especially as they previously had a barista offer, but overall customer footfall is up 26% since the doors were reopened in September and this has had a knock-on effect on the volume of coffee sold.

Since installing Smokin’ Bean, they are now seeing a 250% increase in average cups per day. This is a number they anticipate will only grow further, especially as there are added benefits to the customer like the free shot of espresso or syrup with every drink.

Smokin Bean take away cup

Georgie also finds the support they receive from Tchibo Coffee Service to be second to none – “in terms of training, all our staff know exactly what they are doing to maintain the machine. We had a really helpful Account Manager who let us know that we could call the office if we had any problems whatsoever. We know that if we have questions, Tchibo Coffee Service are on the end of the phone seven days per week. They are really quick to respond to queries, which is really important when running a busy business like ours.”

“The whole process was straightforward; from decision to go ahead, to pressing the button, reordering and restocking. It’s all a bit too good to be true!”

It is a unique situation to find a local, independent farm store/convenience hybrid, but Gonalston Farm Shop Budgens has been a great success. Smokin’ Bean fits right in with their ethos and as a result, Ross and Georgie are pleased their coffee-to-go solution is going from strength to strength.

Gonalston Farm Shop Georgie Smokin Bean

To discuss how Tchibo Coffee Service could help you increase your cup sales and efficiency through coffee-to-go, please get in touch.

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