Office Coffee; what it can Cost You and How to Decide

König Coffee started as The Coffee Co about 18 years ago when Christo König bought into a struggling little Coffee Franchise business in Cape Town. Two years later he roped in Manus Mentz to expand to Johannesburg and from there onward we build a Business with a National Franchise Network and we learnt a few things about Office Coffee. We want to share some of our experiences with you as a business owner, facilities manager, office manager or simply the PA struggling to find a coffee machine for your office.

Here are a few different ways to pay for your Office Coffee Solution:

For our example, let’s say you’re an office with 100 people to keep the numbers easy.

Pay per cup

Pay R2.50 per cup X 3 cups per person per day for 21,5 working days X 100 people and everything included and you end up with a bill of  R16,125 and it seems quite OK actually.  Why did it work so well 15 years ago? Simple: people overestimated the coffee consumption in the office. They all thought each employee will drink at least 3 cups of coffee per day, so they will get to the 6,450 cups easily, BUT everybody does not drink coffee and tea cost less than R1

FACT: König Coffee analysed over 3000 corporate clients over the years and we found the Average coffee consumption per employee = Between 1.2 and 1.5 cups of coffee per day

Why is this model totally flawed?

  • It is obviously not transparent and you do not know what you pay for
  • The model does not promote good service nor great quality coffee. If the machine is out of service for 3 days, you still get a bill of 3 X 100 X ..., and if the coffee tastes bad, then well,...you still pay the same...and so on

Minimum Consumption and the machine is “Free-on-Loan”

100 people X 3 coffees and 9g coffee per cup = 58Kg of coffee per month...yeah right

You buy 60Kg of Coffee per month and we “give you a machine” … at only R250/kg = R15,000 and yet again, it seems a better price than the previous example....

The standard 100 man office drinks only about 25-30 kg of coffee per month from our extensive experience.

Why is this model totally flawed?

  • After just a few months the cupboard is filled with old coffee...what to do with it and the supplier wants nothing to do with your problem, just drink more he says...
  • You ask for a different blend of coffee and suddenly the wheels come off, the agreement is fixed for 3 years they say...
  • Again, who cares of the machine is out of order..for a few days....not the supplier!

Buy the Machine and you can buy where & what you want

You buy a Coffee Machine from any of the 100 suppliers around and by the way, most coffee machines available these days are working reasonably well...until something goes wrong!

Let's say you bought the machine and it is the right size for your 100 man office and you are “Free” to buy the 30 Kg of Coffee Beans from Checkers or the “Speciality Roaster” or the roaster your boss knows - roasting from his garage - for R165/kg and you are saving big time...sure

This model has a few defects:

  • Every coffee machine will “Work” when you turn it on but will it make great coffee?  NO
  • It has to be properly programmed to do so and you need someone with THAT experience not just a person who can show you to program the cup size…try making a good espresso with coarsely grind, 6 gram, coffee....
  • Where do you take it for a service and where will you get support?
  • If something goes wrong, where do you turn?  Few suppliers of machines are interested in after sales and
  • The “Speciality Roasters” where you can buy cheap coffee does not offer service… so don’t call them
  • Where do you get care and cleaning advice and products and the right ones?  Nobody cares.

Fully Transparent Office Coffee Supply Solution from a “One Stop Supplier” and what to consider

For our example we will stick to the same, one big machine that can make 150 cups per day and:

  • a rental for a Saeco Aulika EVO TOP Cappuccino with a milk fridge is R1,390 per month
  • plus full maintenance service plan for R550 per month for 36 months
  • plus care products of R50 per month
  • 30Kg of our Barista Espresso for R250 per Kg = R9,490 per month!  
  • Including everything like the other examples but with a difference…
  • You are 100% in control of the cost and can see exactly what it is spent on AND you save 40% on the cheapes other alternative
  • We can add a few boxes Freshpack rooibos and Five roses if you want

What to look for in a Supplier?

Equipment: Firstly, the most important part is to find a supplier with multiple Brand and Fit for Purpose Coffee Machines.  Your office of 100 might need a different solution for the Customers/Visitors waiting area, a different solution for the staff main pause area and maybe even a training area or boardroom areas. One Brand seldom cater for it all.  Look for an Equipment Supplier who can SERVICE the machines or offer a maintenance plan.

Buy it or "Operational Rent" it = we advise rent it for 36 months and then just replace with the newest model then.  Shop around for rental rates and what is included and excluded

Coffee Beans or Filter: There are more than 1,300 coffee roasters and they all want to sell you beans and you will always have someone knowing someone who roasts coffee and it is cheaper - stay away from them and do business with a reputable roaster who can offer consistency and are willing to accept the cost when you get a foreign object in the grinder that needs to get replaced and NO it is NOT a warranty claim and yes it does happen.

Do you want to ensure the better quality and want variety, options and decent pricing, some guys offer it all under one roof.

Imported coffee might seem like a great idea but remember it takes a long time to get here and like Olive Oils, many European Suppliers just use SA as a dumping ground for their products nearing expiry dates. It is repackaged and dumped here at below sustainable pricing.

Soluble and other Vending Products: Many Office Solutions are built around machines with Coffee Bean with a Powder Milk, Hot Chocolate, Chai Latte, Rooibos Cappuccino, Instant Soup and other products as additions. Make sure you find a supplier who can deliver certified and tested products, designed for vending machines and not boxes from Makro…or even worse

Find a supplier who at least manufacture or can offer the required certificates, preferably in SA, it helps to create jobs

Services, Maintenance and Guarantees: Make sure you find or select a supplier who can offer ALL three these very important aspects of having a coffee machine and does not subcontract it and leave you without a coffee solution for weeks on end. Reputable guys can offer a loan or substitute machine, even if at a minimal cost, it is worth it, rather than being without coffee.

Care, Cleaning & Filter products:  ALL coffee machines needs care and cleaning and most of us do not drink the tap water anymore so why use it to make great coffee taste bad?  Get the right stuff from the supplier and make sure they can train your cleaning staff how to use it effectively, it is useless to drop the box in the kitchen and expect someone might read the instructions.

Consumables:  Do you need Consumables or do you want to compare cost of paper cups vs porcelain with all the cleaning hassle?  Find a Company that knows what they are talking about and stock all the sugar (branded sugar is pilfered less than unbranded) stirrers, milk, lids, etc., etc.  

10 reasons to select König Coffee


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