Franke focused on Asia


Franke Coffee Systems is actively evolving in one of the world’s most desirable trade regions. Announcing Master Distributor licences in both Japan and China, the Swiss manufacturer is continuing to delve into local needs and trending consumer demands in Asia.

When Franke Coffee Systems first broke into the Asian market in the late 1990s, it could not have foretold the growth that awaited. With the introduction of global coffee brands like Starbucks alongside the growing millennial age group, demand for specialty coffee is skyrocketing in Asia.

“Asia has been a focus region for Franke for more than 10 years,” says Roman Probst, Head of Global Sales at Franke Coffee Systems. “At Franke, we began working in the region very early on, investing in hiring our own people and establishing our own local structures.”

According to Probst, Franke’s interest in Asia was always part of its overarching plan for global growth.

“Our commercial and technical employees have been strategically placed on the ground throughout the region, from Oceania through to Southeast Asia and Japan,” he says. “For us then, and still now, it is one of Franke’s main strategies to have our own people in the region, to be closer to the market and really have that proximity.”

To achieve this intrinsic connection, Franke introduced new positions within its hierarchy, including a new marketing manager for the Asian region. It is also cultivating a network of industry experts, influencers, as well as press and trade journals.

Roman Probst, Head of Global Sales at Franke Coffee Systems.

“We realised that for vital functions like marketing, proximity is essential to truly understand the needs of a specific group of customers, in a specific segment, within a specific country,” Probst says. “We are building a greater wealth of knowledge so our local and headquarter teams can come together and effectively figure out how to meet Asia’s growing need for premium coffee and beverage customisation.”

Franke has operated in China through its sister divisions for many years, building its knowledge on the local culture and market demands. In early 2021, Franke Coffee Systems officially registered its own company in China.

“We developed strong partners and trained our own people on the ground, supporting our larger customers in China,” Probst says. “It was only logical that the next move would be registering our own company, to secure further growth in China.”

Fernando Menendez, Franke Sales Director of Asia, says Franke’s end-customers and partners are now able to experience even greater service, support, and direct access to comprehensive local solutions.

“Having great support from our local partners gives us the guarantee and confidence that our coffee business owners will receive reliable, prompt, and outstanding local service,” Menendez says.

Franke A300: Ideal for Asian markets
To cater to the Asian market’s growing demand for customisable premium coffee, Menendez says Franke Coffee Systems is excited to launch its A300 fully automatic coffee machine. Having received full certification across Asia, the A300 is a highly compact machine that fits in any location. Ready to prepare more than 100 specialty coffees, it relies on Franke’s proprietary coffee technologies that also include precision grinding by ceramic disks.

“I would say our A300 is the ideal machine that has been missing in the Asian market until now,” Menendez says. “The A300 has such a compact and sleek footprint and yet it is still a professional, fully automatic coffee machine that prepares coffee to the highest quality.”

Featuring an eight-inch (about 20 centimetres) interactive touch screen, the A300 is designed for intuitive and easy use.

The A300 won two prestigious design awards in 2021.

Menendez explains, “We’ve designed our A300 with images on the beverage menu, so it is clear which coffee is selected for preparation. This makes it easy for operators and doesn’t require much training to use.”

The compact Franke A300 is purpose-designed as a modular machine, letting customers choose options, like using a water tank or connecting directly with the water supply.

“This could benefit, for example, a convenience store in South Korea, who has minimal space,” says Menendez. “The A300 does not have to be situated next to a water connection, it can be placed anywhere.”

This is a key to the A300’s modular design. It has been designed to be “plug and play”, providing users with an easy way to deliver premium coffee.

“For Asian customers that want to meet this demand for premium coffee within their stores, it’s a great model because the investment is minimal, it’s a compact size, and it still serves a great cup of coffee – consistently,” Menendez says.

Other Franke A300 features include the option to have two bean hoppers for multiple bean varieties, and the capacity to store flavoured powders or powdered and fresh milk.

Franke’s FoamMaster technology produces barista-style foam through incorporating varying volumes of steam into the milk to create customisable textures and beverage recipe layers.

“Now with milk beverages growing ever-stronger in popularity in Asia, our A300 gives cafés the potential to provide customers with barista-style hot milk and foam,” says Menendez.

For Franke, versatility is about providing operators with the tools to meet any customer demand. The A300 also features a patented descaling and heating cartridge system, alongside Franke’s EasyClean system. The automated descaling system alerts users of descaling and cleaning programs to ensure high hygiene levels as well as an efficient use of resources.

“This innovation is a great tool in Asia, because the water hardness, or calcium levels, can be quite high, which can cause blockages in the system if it’s not rinsed out,” says Menendez.

The A300 is manufactured in Switzerland and shipped across the globe already fitted according to specific country electricity norms. Voltages are available for 240 volts in the Philippines, 220 volts in China where it is registered according to household appliance standards, and 100 volts in Japan.

The A300 is also ready as a household appliance in Japan. Roman Probst says the A300’s compact footprint is well suited to the Japanese coffee market where shop saturation and space is valuable.

“Japan is a region where our A300 can shine. What space there is, is rare and expensive, so, what occupies space must have meaning, must be efficient, and must definitely be productive,” says Probst.

Award-winning design, ready to use
Japan’s vibrancy embraces trends as well as the exclusivity born of customisation. Probst says the A300 gives café owners the flexibility to react to current trends and consumer demands quickly and profitably. At the same time, the A300’s plug-and-play advantages, especially the 100-volt configuration, make the compact machine ideally suited for offices and shared workspaces.

The Franke A300 design has also been recognised on the international market, winning two prestigious design awards in 2021, iF Design Award and Red Dot Design Award, for its aesthetic design and ability to deliver premium coffee quality from its compact footprint.

“These awards provide the proof of credibility and the guarantee for performance that our partners in Japan are looking for,” says Probst.

Awards are always well received, but Probst says Franke maintains an ongoing commitment to improving its product range to suit the needs of one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

Probst asserts, “In Asia, we expect the premium coffee market to continue on its growth trajectory while even higher levels of customisable and modular machines will be expected.”

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