How Cafe Bar have helped to revolutionise the
coffee and vending concepts at Swansea University.
A strong partnership and creative marketing support from Autobar
UK have led to increased beverage and vending sales at Swansea
Originally established by
RoyalCharter in 1920, Swansea was the first Campus University in
the UK and more recently, it became the first Fairtrade University
Sourcing quality, value for money, Fairtrade products is key to the
University’s catering strategy. Finding partners to work with who
support them in their aims is crucial to the success of the
catering offering, as is the marketing of these products to the
teaching and student population.
Quality, value for money, healthy eating and ethical and
sustainable products are at the heart of the University’s catering
strategy. The University realises that in order to compete with the
high street coffee shops, restaurants and food chains they have to
offer the best food and drink experience they can.
The University is constantly looking at ways to improve their
service, developing strong partnerships with suppliers and sourcing
quality products are key to the continued success of the catering
operation in Swansea. The University’s partnership with Autobar UK,
initially started with the Cafe Bar brand. At the time Les
Carmichael, Catering Manager, wanted to dramatically change the old
counter top beverage vending and introduce more dynamic coffee shop
environments that would be able to compete on both quality and
value for money with the high street. Fairtrade and ethical
products were also key drivers for the new strategy.
Cafe Bar’s unique and unrivalled range of equipment ensured that
they could cover all of the University’s requirements, from state
of the art bean to cup machines to high volume bulk brew systems.
They also have their own quality Fairtrade coffee brand, Sense, which is a perfect fit with the
University’s Fairtrade strategy.
At this time the vending offering at the University was virtually
non existent, with just three cold drink machines across the entire
campus. Again the catering department needed to source a partner
that could deliver quality products whilst maintaining the
University’s core values.
Now part of Autobar UK, Out of The Box, was the perfect fit for the
University in this area, with strong brands and Fairtrade products.
Since working with the Out of the Box brand the University has
created an entirely new revenue stream generated from the 36 snack
and vending machines that are now spread across the entire
in driving revenue through a retail vending offer. By amending the
machines and products, the Out of the Box brand provided a bespoke
solution for the University which included popular brands,
Fairtrade products, bean to cup coffee and a fresh sandwich
“Sourcing the right products and suppliers is only part of the
solution though.” states Les Carmichael, Catering Manager. “The
catering department’s own research showed that whilst the staff and
student population liked the idea of Fairtrade products they still
perceived them to be of inferior quality. We knew that we had a
great product in the Sense brand, we just had to communicate this
to our customers.”
Autobar UK have a strong track record in working closely with their
customers to develop marketing strategies and worked with Les and
the catering department to devise and implement a strong marketing
campaign to promote the University’s hot beverages.
They developed point of sale promotional material, Fairtrade coffee
loyalty cards, menu boards and table talkers. The aim of the
campaign was to push the Fairtrade message whilst emphasising the
quality and value for money of the brand. To get the student
population involved Autobar came up with the ‘Grind and Groove’
campaign. The concept was simple, students who took part were
entered into a competition to win £100 worth of HMV vouchers and
all they had to do to enter was to sign up for a free coffee.
“The marketing support developed for us by Autobar has given a
great boost to our beverage products and this has been reflected in
the increase in beverage sales across the board” says Les
When it comes to the vending side of the operation, marketing and
promotion is just as important. It isn’t enough to just site the
machines and wait for the sales. Posters and site maps play a large
role in the promotion of the vending offering across the campus as
does the strong branding on each of the Out of the Box
Sourcing both the vending and the beverage solutions from one
supplier such as Autobar will have further benefits for the
catering department. “Having one supplier ensures that we can
develop a strong partnership going forward. Autobar UK understand
the value that we place on both the product and marketing and will
be able to work with us to develop consolidated campaigns across
the board” explains Les.
“On a logistical note, having one supplier will also help us to
achieve our sustainability goals, one supplier means one delivery,
less vans and thus helps to reduce our carbon footprint”.
Speaking of the partnership with Swansea University, Marie
Caulfield, Marketing Manager at Autobar UK
says, “We look forward to continually supporting Swansea University
with both their beverage and vending solutions and
working closely with them to deliver results driven marketing
campaigns across their catering operations.”