WMF puts performance first

WMF Professional Coffee Machines has undergone a brand relaunch, focusing on reliability, diversification, and innovation.

In a field as competitive as super-automatics, Viola Linke, Vice President Global Marketing GBU Professional Coffee Machines at WMF Group, says it is important that machine manufacturers offer a point of difference to the market.

With three automatic manufacturer brands under the group’s belt, it is also important that they do not “cannibalise” each other’s business. In the case of WMF Professional Coffee Machines, the group has chosen to launch a new brand identity, with a focus on dependability and innovation based on the needs of its customers.

“Each of our brands are positioned with an exclusive offer to the market. In WMF Group we put this brand positioning on paper to help guide the decisions of the wider company,” Linke says.

“What we can offer with WMF is an outstanding reliability in terms of machine quality, service offer, and digital solutions to strengthen the coffee business of our customers, which results in a seamless premium experience and an offer of consistent high coffee quality.”

When the decision was made to rebrand, Linke says the manufacturer consulted with different WMF stakeholders to determine the best brand positioning as a base to successfully steer the business.

“We talked to customers and the people who’ve worked a long time within the company to find out how they view the brands – what came to mind when they thought of WMF?” Linke asks. “We also looked at the competition, how they’re positioned, and what they offer, to find an exclusive area in the market to build the brand position.

“We determined that WMF is the best choice for customers who’d like a safe investment, whose key criteria is dependability, so that is what we’ve decided to focus on with the brand.”

This value proposition has guided WMF since early 2019, influencing its global tradeshow booth’s concept, commercials and marketing, and strategic decisions regarding its product and innovation portfolio. Linke says involving WMF customers in the new brand identity meant it was well accepted once launched due to its authenticity.

“It’s been easy for people to absorb the new look and feel because it was built on what they already had in mind,” she says. “The new brand language is emphasising premiumness, engineering quality, and attention to detail, which has also been very well received.”

First founded as a tableware manufacturer in 1853, WMF started production of commercial coffee machines in the 1950s. For more than 60 years, the company has built on its models, continuing to introduce new technologies to meet the needs of the market.

“WMF has developed a strong reputation. The brand carries a high-quality promise we know we can give and deliver. To keep it this way, all of our research and development is done inhouse, which is very important to us,” Linke says. “Our machines are also made in Germany, right on our premises.”

WMF’s recent research and development projects have resulted in upgrades to the WMF Espresso automatic portafilter machine, and introduction of the Fresh Filtered Coffee (FFC) technology to its WMF 1500 S+ and WMF 5000 S+ models.

“The FFC feature enables customers to offer regular coffee specialties and fresh filtered coffee from one machine. It’s a solution for customers who need to offer a big variety of drinks with a small footprint or in limited space,” Linke says.

“Meanwhile, we’ve also developed new features for the WMF Espresso, mainly for the benefit of larger customers. From an optional second automatic steam wand to larger bean hoppers and the implementation of our revolutionary Dynamic Coffee Assist technology, everything is targeted at producing coffee for a larger amount of customers, so that more coffee can go over the counter in consistent good quality. At the moment, what we’re focusing on is helping our customers offer a full coffee menu to theirs.”

WMF has also refined its CoffeeConnect telemetry solution and Dynamic Coffee and Milk Assists, as well as introducing these features to new models.

“In this way, WMF customers can exploit the full potential of digital change – the digitally empowered Dynamic Coffee and Milk Assist technologies ensure process reliability, and thus product quality, via self-regulating quality control loops,” Linke says.

“On the other hand, WMF CoffeeConnect enables customers to consistently optimise their day-to-day coffee business, identify developments in good time, and thus implement new business models and opportunities.”

Linke says digitalisation is playing an increasingly large role in the global coffee industry and is part of what sets automatics apart from traditional machines.
“For any new features we develop, it’s important we can blend them into the digital world,” she says. “Sensors, for example, can be used to monitor and regulate the process, send data into the digital platform, and ensure quality is on a consistently high level.”

Linke says this increased and accessible flow of information is then primed for the customer.

“We offer some standard solutions which are helpful to make each and every coffee business more profitable and are able to tailor others to our customers that suit their individual needs and systems,” Linke says.

“Regulating coffee quality, optimising maintenance, and reducing wastage avoids downtime and service issues. Operators will be able to update recipes and prices on multiple machines from a central office, or they can single out a machine in one shop in a certain city, and push it with advertising at a certain time if needed. In the end, the point of this digitalisation is to help our customers earn more money.”

These benefits are endearing automatics to a diverse clientele. Linke says WMF’s customers largely consist of restaurants and coffee bars, quick service businesses, service stations, bakeries, hotels, catering firms, and the fastest growing segment – office spaces.

“One of the big advantages [of our fully automatics] is that they offer consistent, high-quality coffee. You can be sure, whether you are the one operating the machine or not, of what your customer is going to get when they order a coffee,” Linke says. “It’s also easy to handle and perfect for self-service.”

With a strong presence in Germany and surrounding European countries, WMF is looking to increase its foothold in newer markets.

“Europe is still important for us, but we see a big potential for coffee drinking habits to evolve – and demand for fully automatic coffee machines to grow – in the United States and China,” Linke says.

“Peoples’ tastes in these countries are becoming more diverse and convenience stores are popping up increasingly. China is seeing a trend of people turning from tea to coffee, and the US is from traditional drip coffee to more diverse options, causing these countries to embrace fully automatics.”

With WMF predicting continued growth in these markets, Linke says the company intends to continue innovating and maintaining its reputation as a safe investment.

“In coffee, automation will have a growing importance, and it’s something we will continue to work on,” Linke says. “We see several emerging trends in the market, that we are working to address. One such trend is cold coffee, which we have addressed with the Chilled Coffee system in the WMF 5000 S+.

“As always, any future features or machines will be guided by listening to what our customers have to say.”

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