Someone bought an exact same tennis racket like Roger Federer’s one, went to court, but the results were a bit different. “A strange man” you might think and it is unlikely that you will listen to his tennis-related advice. The cafe owner who bought some superautomatic-coffee machine and complains about the quality of the coffee is equally strange, and in no way he is an “expert”. Specialists are well aware of how the taste of coffee depends on the settings of the coffee machine and the quality of its service. It is foolish to complain about the racket, it is necessary to learn how to play. We will not be stepping on the territory of the baristas in this article focusing on the service matters.

Why did we choose WMF coffee machines?


Coffee Machine – is a complex and expensive piece of equipment for which the manufacturer prescribes a lot of maintenance work aimed at preventing potential damage of the unit. Good professional equipment is designed for decades of work with proper maintenance. RusHOLTS studied the experience of leading HoReCa players and worked with various coffee machines from different manufacturers before settling on the WMF brand.
American and Canadian manufacturers are eliminated immediately because traditionally overseas they do not drink espresso, cappuccino or latte. 0.7 liters of a dark coffee-like liquid to a European is “no coffee”. An unpleasant surprise from Asian producers – having setting buttons does not mean the possibility to customize the machine. “Italian” manufacturers are the broadest category of producers, but this is an experiment with many unknowns. The term “stress techniques” does not exist, the engineers usually express rougher and call it “foolproof.” Manufacturers use a euphemism – reliability engineering. Taking into account the operating conditions at the gas station is better to chose machinery with a margin of safety.
Swiss quality is a timeless and all-industries indicator. The Swiss coffee machines are as good as a Swiss watch, but if in addition to the image we have to think also about the price, then German manufacturers remain traditionally offering the world’s best quality / price ratio. Among the brands of coffee machines it’s WMF.

German order or Ordnung


German manual to this complex unit is a detailed document, with no stone left unturned. All the actions that must be carried out with the coffee machine are clearly divided into those exercised by station/ café personnel and those performed by the service mechanic.
The staff of station or café is in charge of daily coffee machine washing. Each unit is programmed so that it reminds you of this procedure’s necessity. The machine displays a reminder of the need for cleaning. It is simply impossible to “forget”, but, alas, only for the Germans. The coffee machines in Russian HoReCa covered with “stalactites and stalagmites” of milk fungus occur with surprising regularity.
The favorite question of our service technicians: “Where’s a second combi-drain to this machine?”. Combi-drain is a removable cap through which coffee is poured into the cup. The trick here is that manufacturers include at least 2 of these drains in the scope of the equipment. To get a clean combi-drain one may put it for a day in a special solution while a clean and unused second one replaces the first. Finding out how often is the desirable frequency of washing coffee-machines takes exactly one minute. If the station staff “forgets” to wash the machine the quality of coffee decreases dramatically. The diameter of the nozzle through which the beverage is poured is less than a millimeter so it gets clogged easily.
Brewing module requires weekly washing. It’s pulled out of the coffee machine in one motion. Illustrated manual is included, one just can not go wrong. This operation is also carried out by station personnel.
It’s amazing, but the most common request of service technicians – use the “native” chemistry, do not use household compositions such as “Fairy”. In the best case it will curdle the milk, in the worst people can get poisoned. Expendable funds are called so because their cost compared to the cost of the machine or repair of it is worth a penny. Cleaning tablets cost 12 rubles a day, establishment earning 6000-7000 rubles from the sale of 100 cups of coffee.


What does service mechanic do?


Performance level of coffee machines is determined by the amount of cups of coffee per day. Manual states unequivocally: after 15 thousand cups or one year of operation first maintenance operations round is necessary.
According to the regulations a few dozen of operations are prescribed. These procedures are conducted by a specially trained person and last about an hour.
Yes, it requires a certain self-organization, in order to call the mechanics when everything works fine. But the taste of coffee varies unnoticed by staff. And believe me, in changes not in a good way. Somewhere something goes rickety, the nozzle became wider, the water temperature has changed. At a temperature of welding of 93,3 you get perfect coffee, if you brew it with boiling water you’ll get bitter swill.
After 30 thousand cups of coffee round 2 of maintenance procedures should be carried out. During this procedure, same work as during round 1 is carried out plus replacing of the brewing module. Needless to say that this operation is carried out by a service mechanic.
After 90 000 cups grinder knives are changed. Cocoa module must pass maintenance every year or every 6,000 cups. Manufacturers thought of and prevented all scenarios, but they are powerless faced to the human factor.
Our experience shows – to make sure a coffee machine works well it is desirable service technician to visit the point of sales monthly. Master manually adjustы equipment settings. First of all – degree of grind. According to the technology, the ground coffee is compressed into a “pill” and passes through it pressurized hot water. If the coffee is too finely milled, it will spend more than necessary on prescription, the station will overspend the coffee. If the grind is too coarse, the coffee will be too watery. Adjusting the degree of grinding is an important process that is performed manually. All other operations can be trusted to the remote monitoring of coffee machines.

Fault diagnosis at an early stage


In medicine it is more profitable and easier to prevent the cause of the disease than to deal with its consequences. In the organization of the technical service this rule works even better, because you still have to deal with the technology and the human factor and not with the people and the human factor – the doubled combination of risk factors.
The main task of service – ensuring the seamless operation of the coffee machine, which has to work as the printing press. But as of now the management of Russian gas station chains frequently has no tools to assess the quality of service organizations. If continuity is achieved by using the machine to the point of exhaustion, it’s, to put it mildly, an irrational approach. The control unit stores all machine’s performed manipulations. We’ve met machines which produced 75 thousand cups of coffee without a single maintenance services round. For the specialist, this figure shows that for over last 2-3 years this unit produces coffee-like swill from any grounds, even of the highest quality level.
Another indicator of service quality – responsiveness of the service contractor. For example, the contract provides that the reaction speed in case of breakage is 6 hours. Is this breakage a lot or a little? Well, turns out that’s neither this nor that! For “reaction to the breakdown” and “troubleshooting” are two completely different things.

Master arrives, sees a wrecked coffee machine without service maintenance, resets error counter, gives it a fix – see, it works! “Good” master did not explain that it’s time to replace the brewing module – an expensive item that due to the lack of measures to descaling the boiler is about to fail, and that’s a third of the price of the coffee machine. After such a “repair” the machine will work a little more, and then it goes down again, the master will come back and get the money for another visit.
In practice, service mechanics very often constitute acts of completion, which indicate the need for expensive replacement parts, although in reality this is not necessary. There are many cases when the heads of service companies make deals with the heads of the gas stations so they called the mechanics as often as possible, because it’s not hard to come up with a reason for the call and it’s impossible to check the validity of these calls. Each call costs 1500-2000 rubles, replacing the unit coffee machine may cost tens of thousands.
For effective action by service workers, including providing mechanics on call with all the necessary spare parts, additional information is required which is impossible to get from the employee of the gas station. Often it turns out that the first arrival of the master allows to detect a fault, then he comes for the second time, armed with all the necessary spare parts and tools. Very often the “error code” that appears on the display is only an integral characteristic of a group of machine’s malfunctions. Thus, one code may require different types of work. Solution – on-line monitoring of the technical state of coffee machines. A digital processor control unit of modern coffee machine is capable to record more than 400 static and dynamic parameters characterizing the operation of the various components and sub-systems of the machine, i.e. it allows you to accurately determine the cause of failure. In conjunction “man – machine” it’s achievable to successfully control both the hardware’s and person’s actions.
The proven economic benefits of coffee machines remote monitoring – a three-fold reduction in the time they are idle compared to the “traditional” system of service and 50% reduction in the number of service technicians visits paid by the network of filling stations. Incidentally, the response time to on-line service system failure – 15 minutes.
When properly set the remote monitoring of coffee machines can achieve performance of all service operations to the extent they were thought by the manufacturer. This is a big plus, but you can go even further.
Having current information about the “deteriorating” state of coffee machines’ units service organization is able to carry out repairs or maintenance work before the coffee machine fails. Fault diagnosis at an early stage is the way to trouble-free operation of the machine. It is along this path RusHOLTS Customer Service is going in its business.
Remote technical monitoring soon will be as usual option as Wi-Fi or Internet service fees. It will not mean a fundamental change in the concepts of the coffee business at the gas stations, but will determine the transition to the next, more advanced level of development of the very category “Cafe”.

Most common errors


– Staff do not wash the coffee machine daily.
– Employees use household chemicals instead of recommended by the manufacturer for cleaning coffee machines.
– Technical requirements to the parameters of the water are not complied.
– Poor quality service. Service mechanics correct the consequences and not the causes of failure.
“To wash or not to wash” talks in relation to the maintenance of coffee machines is not a dilemma, but the test of the overall quality of the establishment. The presence or absence of service of the equipment – is a test of entrepreneurial skills of its owners. “Average” customer-traffic cafeteria may lose some 6000-7000 rubles a day because of the idle coffee machine, the busier place may suffer 2-3 times more of the loss. Lack of service costs owner of coffee selling point many times more than proper and timely maintenance of the equipment.