Sunday 25 February 2024

How creating a culture around coffee can boost millennial engagement at work

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Coffee. It’s the drink we reach for when we need to get excited on Monday mornings or to help us through that Wednesday afternoon slump. Americans love coffee, with more than half of adults drink at least one cup per day.

Millennials are avid coffee drinkers too, particularly with espresso-based drinks. According to one study, gourmet coffee beverage consumption among 25-39 year olds jumped from 19% to 41% between 2008 to 2016. The availability of these types of drinks has dramatically increased, as Starbucks has opened over 19,000 stores worldwide since 2000.

This change in coffee consumption started a shift in workplace coffee options. “Office coffee services have traditionally been the worst of the worst,” according to Jesse Kahn, national sales manager for Counter Culture Coffee, “and there’s been a lot of growth in companies recognizing the need for a better coffee experience.” Companies like Mars Drinks, for example, are working to provide higher quality coffee options.

A shift in coffee consumption

Millennials aren’t necessarily drinking more coffee than other generations, but they are spending more money on coffee. In other words, they are spending more money on higher quality coffee experiences. “Millennials have a lot of disposable income,” says Kahn. “But they aren’t spending it like their parents did on cars and clothes. Instead, they’re spending it on a better food and beverage experience.”

This trend is not necessarily a new thing, nor is it temporary. “We are in the middle of a multi decades shift in quality in the food and beverage sector,” says Kahn. “People want a higher quality product across the board.” Millennials in particular bring this desire for quality to work, and companies are making changes to create a better coffee experience for their employees

Eran Cohen, Chief Customer Experience Officer at PetSmart, told me they recently installed two machines from Mars Drinks in a new concept store in New York.

One of these machines is available to customers who are waiting for their pets to be groomed, while the other is available in a custom-designed area only for associates. Not only do employees have access to better coffee selections during their break, but PetSmart also designed the physical space around the machines to create a better atmosphere for break time.


A better place for work

Dr. Tracy Brower, Global Vice President of Workplace Vitality at Mars Drinks, has led research to show the connection between a better coffee experience and employee engagement.

“Workplace vitality is at the intersection of engagement, collaboration, well-being, and productivity,” she says, “and we believe the drinks experiences intersects with it.”

In one particular survey led by Dr. Brower, millennials were more likely than any other generation to view a cafe space as a place to be more productive. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are more likely to view the space as a social environment.

Wes Gay

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