WESTWOOD, Mass. -- Filterfresh recently completed installing a line of self-serve coffee makers in about 100 stores in the Kroger Co.'s Delta division, as part of the retailer's branded coffee program.
Well established in Kroger stores in other markets, Filterfresh has extended its reach with this new agreement, an official with the single-serve coffee provider told SN. Kroger's Delta division comprises stores in western Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
"It's going over very well," said Ed Holloran, director of business development for U.S. Filterfresh. "Kroger has been a strong partner of ours for 10 years. [The new program] was met with open arms, especially by store employees who no longer have to brew coffee."
The company's coffee makers were installed mainly in the deli departments, with some units set up in the front of the stores, Holloran said. The program is aimed at shoppers who want a quick cup of coffee to go -- no adjoining cafes were created as part of the program.
The blueprint features coffee roasted by a Kroger manufacturing plant. The retailer's name is promoted on the Filterfresh equipment, and on posters displayed by the coffee makers, Holloran said.
When they use the brewers, shoppers choose from among three degrees of strength for their beverage. The machines have cup dispensers on one side, and a vertical row of slots for coffee add-ins like sugar and creamer on the other side. Eight-ounce and 12-ounce cups of regular and decaffeinated Colombian coffee, and hot chocolate sell, respectively, for 50 cents and 75 cents per cup.
Filterfresh charges Kroger a fee for use and maintenance of the equipment, Holloran said. Unlike traditional coffee pot systems, which require employees to make new small-quantity pots frequently to ensure freshness, the Filterfresh equipment is designed with low maintenance, and low labor in mind, Holloran said.The coffee maker can brew up to 300 cups per batch of coffee.
According to Holloran, the coffee company's equipment reduces labor by 95%, and cuts down significantly on wasted coffee.
Holloran declined to give numbers on sales specifically at Kroger stores, but noted Filterfresh has coffee programs in 3,000 to 4,000 supermarkets around the country, and, on average, each store sells 1,000 to 1,100 cups of coffee per store per month.
"Whenever we put a new program in, sales spike," he said, adding that's been the case in Kroger's stores. "Now they're coming back down to expectations."
Filterfresh is a subsidiary of Van Houtte, a leading Montreal, Canada-based coffee roaster and marketer.