For cafes and coffee shops, milk and plant-based alternatives is an essential ingredient that is used for their customers. However, the traditional and manual approach to dispensing milk can be time-consuming, inefficient, and wasteful. This is where automated milk dispensing systems come in handy.
As businesses are increasingly embedding automation throughout their coffee shops (such as coffee bean grinding), milk dispensers appear to be the next iteration of that journey. So can these automated systems really increase efficiency and expand your margins?
What can milk dispensers do?
Milk dispensing systems are designed to help cafes and coffee shops improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase revenue by eliminating waste and overpouring. This can be achieved in a semi-automated or automated manner.
These innovative systems can utilise technology to either establish a consistent pouring metric (such as small, medium and large) or to pre-program a unit that senses and measures the size of the jug to pour a specified amount of milk without any need for human intervention.
How does a milk dispenser work?
Given that there are a variety of milk dispensing systems on the market, this can be achieved in multiple ways and is highly dependent on your operational needs. Some systems come attached to a refrigeration unit and some systems such as Flo-Smart come independently and are more flexible – allowing them to be installed and adapted to any layout or configuration.
Milk dispensers typically integrate seamlessly into a benchtop or a pre-existing jug-rinser without taking up too much space. It seems like the best place to position these systems are wherever businesses keep their milk cartons.
Where does the milk come from?
The milk is dispensed from containers or bladders from within a fridge. Harnessing the power of electronic pumps, the milk is extracted from its chosen storage option and is pumped through the lines to the taps of the dispenser.
It is evident that time savings are yielded by pre-filling containers or connecting milk bladders which hold larger quantities of milk in comparison to commercially available cartons. This enables baristas to focus on servicing the customers in front of them rather than constantly opening, moving and eventually recycling each individual carton that is used.
What are the efficiencies and savings?
High-tech milk dispensing systems present an array of benefits. These include:
1. Time savings (revenue generating)
A milk dispensing system like Flo-smart saves an operation time by making the preparation of milk and alternative-based drinks up to 20% faster than doing it manually. This means cafes and coffee shops can serve more customers in a shorter amount of time, boosting the customer experience and ensuring a return visit.
Additionally, the system’s hands-free operation is designed to enhance workflow which minimises the need for baristas to move around, further improving efficiency.
2. Waste savings (cost reducing)
Another key benefit of a milk dispensing system is its ability to eliminate waste and overpouring. A system like Flo-Smart is pre-programmed to pour a precise amount of milk, which helps to optimise and reduce the amount of milk used per cup.
On average, the industry is wasting over 10% of their milk and eradicating this translates to significant cost savings over time, as well as having a positive impact on the environment.
It is clear that milk dispensing systems offer an innovative solution for cafes and coffee shops looking to boost efficiency, reduce waste and ultimately increase profit margins. With the improvements they bring to a barista’s workflow it is no surprise that more and more businesses are turning to automating a very manual component of their coffee making process.
Investment in these systems is becoming more and more common and it is apparent that they are allowing cafe’s the necessary technology to improve their bottom line to serve their customers faster; enhancing not only their customer’s experience but their own.