27 November 2017

Coffee industry leaders gather in Warsaw to explore future strategies

WARSAW, POLAND - The 10th European Coffee Symposium took place in the vibrant city of Warsaw, attended by an audience of over 250 top industry leaders from across the coffee, café and food-to-go market. The theme for this year’s conference was Winning Culture for Future Success.
Managing Director of Allegra Group, Jeffrey Young, opened proceedings with an overview of the current European marketplace, sharing some key findings from Allegra’s Project Café Europe 2018 report. While discussing the current global mega trends, Young further unpacked ‘The 5th Wave – The Business of Coffee’ that had been unveiled at the 2016 Symposium, citing it as the driving force on the industry over the next decade. Young defined The 5th Wave as a compelling combination of all four previous waves and will see high quality brands adopting a more advanced set of business practices to deliver boutique concepts at scale.
Adam Mularuk, Starbucks President CE at Amrest, commenced the regional insights session with a candid look into Starbucks’ brand strategy within the Central European markets. Mularuk contended that in a period of political and social instability, brands need to be transparent, authentic and genuine to truly connect to today’s discerning consumer. Moreover, brands ‘need to stand for something’, become an activist and be an advocate for change.
Next, Adam Ringer, President of Green Caffè Nero, took to the stage to discuss the importance of respecting the local culture and environment when entering a new market. Ringer gave a fascinating talk on the opportunities and challenges of transporting a successful business model from one culture to another. Ringer emphasised that an established global brand must understand the new market’s past and its present in order to create something new for its future.
Lukasz Jura, Owner of Coffee Proficiency, closed the first session with an informative introduction into the rise of speciality coffee in the Polish market. Jura stated that the success of speciality coffee in Poland has come from the adoption of four elements - providing excellent quality, building a coffee community, sharing knowledge and delivering a premium service.
Caroline Cromar, Brand Director at Pret A Manager, opened the second session of the day, which focussed on global trends and cultures for success. Cromar gave an engaging presentation on the story behind the company’s innovative ‘Veggie Pret’ store concept, sharing with the audience the key factors that led to its success. Cromar explained how Pret utilised its digital platforms and created an integrated marketing campaign (not just for veggies) in order to develop an inclusive and consumer-led store concept.
Also discussing the rise of the vegan consumer, Eric Derie, Commercial Director Out-of-Home EMEA at Alpro, gave a compelling presentation on how dairy alternatives are disrupting the coffee scene. Derie cited three reasons for the rapid rise in plant-based offerings - the fact that it is good for the planet (e.g. sustainable farming), good for the consumer (tapping into the health and wellness trend) and good for business (feeding the growing demand and attracting a valuable consumer).
Bringing truly international perspectives, Keith Jackson Executive Chairman of Esquires Coffee, took to the stage followed by Guido Bernadinelli, Managing Director of La Marzocco. Jackson discussed how a global company can build a 5th wave brand by retaining its ethical responsibilities whilst simultaneously incorporating artisan values that link in to the local community. Bernadinelli also spoke of leveraging artisan standards when scaling success and emphasised the importance of a leadership culture that inspires and influences the entire business.
The day ended with a panel discussion where Mularuk, Ringer and Bernadinelli were joined by Andrew Sanders of Harris + Hoole, Andrew Tolley of Taylor St. Baristas and Jessica Worden of GAIL’s Artisan Bakery to debate just ‘how scalable is excellence?’ The consensus of the group was that training and employee engagement is fundamental to scaling boutique concepts. The panel closed by posing the question – what is excellence and is success defined by the size or by the quality of a business?
The audience left with valuable insights on how businesses can evolve in the current dynamic market landscape.

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