Franke Coffee Systems’ new technology is gaining market exposure

As a manufacturer of automated coffee machines, it is perhaps unsurprising that Franke Coffee Systems defines itself by the technology itproduces. What stands out, however, is the extent to which the company strives to set itself apart from its competitors. “We define ourselves as the technical leader in the fully automatic market for professional customers,” says CEO of Franke Coffee Systems, Yvo Locher. “We invest a lot in research and development – innovation is our main driver.” It is this drive that led the Swiss company to launch the Foammaster two years ago. Featuring an interactive touchscreen control, the ability to make drinks with flavours and syrups, and its specialised milk foam technology, the Foammaster set the technological standard on which the company has been able to hang its hat ever since. “That was really a technological breakthrough for the industry,” Locher says of the Foammaster. “With the touchscreen you have endless options. There are 25 standard drinks, but then the customer can choose if he would like a little more foam, more syrup – they can really adjust all of the individual ingredients to create their own product.” Not only did the Foammaster set a new standard for the company’s technology, it also exposed their products to brand new customer segments. Whereas previously Franke Coffee Systems was focused primarily on the classical food service areas such as restaurants and hotels, they now found a market in other industries such as service stations and convenience stores. “This is a real global trend for us – from Russia, through Europe, Asia, and especially in the United States,” Locher says. The release of this new technology coincided with a shift in the landscape for the service station and convenience store industries, who were altering their approach to cater for a changing demographic. According to Franke’s research into the industry, these industries were on the cusp of changing their offer to appeal to Generation X and Millennial consumers. This new market is much more likely to purchase their breakfast or lunch at a convenience store, however they are also much more discerning about the food and beverage on offer than older consumers. “Those big chains have realised that the classical drip coffee had its limits in terms of appeal, but with this new technology you have the same offer as a classical coffee shop.”
The popularity of the Foammaster has also led Franke into new collaborations and taken them into new areas such as train stations and offices. Recently the company teamed up with Starbucks and vending machine experts Selecta to develop the Starbucks Corner Café concept. This is a fully automatic machine that offers a full range of Starbucks products and can be placed in controlled public spaces such as offices, train stations, and hospitals. The concept is being rolled out across Europe and has been a massive hit, with more than 600 locations already. “These are the two big trends that have allowed us to enter brand new markets and access new areas of consumption,” Locher says. More recently, Franke has sought to make the Foammaster technology available to an even broader audience with the release of the A600 and the A200. “This is the little brother of the Foammaster,” Locher tells GCR Magazine. “It has all the same functionality, with some small improvements such as the ability to play videos on the screen, which many customers now use to show ads for their other products and offers.” While the functionality of the new machines is the same as the Foammaster, a look under the hood reveals a few key improvements – particularly on the milk side of the machine. They now measure the temperature of the milk from the bottom of the container, rather than the top. “It’s a small detail, but it’s an important one, because to get the perfect foam, the milk needs to be around 4 degrees. In the old fridge technology of all of our competitors, they just measure the temperature of the air inside the fridge, and if there is not a lot of milk in there, the air is often cooler than the milk, so we do not have the right temperature for perfect foam,”  Locher says. They have also changed the milk handling and cleaning process so that it is now far more automated, reducing the need for excessive handling and making it extremely easy for daily cleaning. All the user has to do is swap the milk container with an empty cleaning container at the end of the day and the machine does the rest – filling the cleaner with detergent and running the full cleaning process itself so that the machine is ready for use again the following day. “We want to have the highest hygiene standards, which is why it is our philosophy to go for a daily clean,” Locher says. “We believe that if you’re going to get a perfect coffee everyday, then you need a clean machine every day.” While these machines are designed for businesses that sell an average of around 100 cups per day, Franke has also designed a capsule machine for businesses that would cater for around 30 – 50 cups per day. The machine has the same milk and cleaning features, and offers a full range of beverages, including coffee – both black and with fresh milk – as well as coffee with flavourings and tea. “It’s the first capsule system that delivers perfect restaurant quality for coffee, espresso-based milk creations, chocolate, and tea,” Locher says, adding that Franke can work with the buyers of these machines to offer added value through initiatives such as branding the capsules for their customers or even making capsules with their customers’ own blends. While these new machines are giving Franke Coffee Systems exposure to brand new market segments, Locher says that the essence of his company’s offer remains the same as that which set the Foammaster apart two years ago: “It is all about the user-friendliness in terms of the handling and the cleaning. That was the big lesson we got from the Foammaster – people really responded well to the intuitive nature of the controls, so we have copied and pasted that technology into all of our new products.” GCR

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