Hot tea in Montgomery

Montgomery Discovers Hot Tea

Hot tea in Montgomery

January is National Hot Tea Month. Can your employees find their favorite teas in the break room? If the answer is no, you’ve just discovered a new opportunity to encourage employees to stay on-site during the workday.

Today’s office coffee service (OCS) is about more than coffee. It’s about creating an experience that improves workplace culture and productivity. With four out of five consumers and more than three-quarters of Millennials drinking tea, there is a strong need for great tasting hot tea at work.

A mug of hot tea is more than a cup that holds a drink. It offers diverse flavors, health benefits, and soothing qualities.

Hot Tea Menu

While most of the tea consumed is black tea followed by green, oolong, white, and dark teas, your OCS menu can be simpler. A variety of high-quality teas including at least one green, one black, and two to three herbal teas should be able to meet the tastes of everyone who visits the break room. Tea specific sweeteners like honey packets or honey bears and additives such as citrus, cinnamon, honey, and milk or non-dairy milk should be offered.

Health Benefits

Tea also has many health benefits. Antioxidants help reduce the risk of cancer. Caffeine supplies an energy boost which can also help combat obesity. And an increase in blood flow is good for cardiovascular health. In a month when the world focuses on healthier choices, drinking more tea is a small change that can make a big difference.

Hot tea in Montgomery

A Relaxing Moment

There is something pleasant and relaxing about looking forward to a favorite flavor and a moment of stillness. As with coffee, a hot mug of tea presents employees with a minute or two of stress relief. Montgomery employees who experience less stress are more productive and approach everything with a more positive attitude.

As drinking tea grows in popularity; it is important to update your Montgomery break room refreshment menu to meet the demand. Not only will your employees enjoy the benefits of drinking their favorite hot beverage, but they will also be more likely to turn to the break room for healthy snacks and beverages.

For more information about updating your OCS or other vending services, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Coffee Service in Auburn

Coffee Service and the Auburn Micro-Market

Coffee Service in Auburn

Office coffee service (OCS) is often considered a separate service when it comes to the break room. But it doesn’t have to be. For a moment, ponder what it would be like to mesh coffee service with a micro-market. On their own, each offers distinct benefits. But when they are blended together in your Auburn office break room, they create a unique employee perk.

Employees now have a relaxed on-site spot to grab a gourmet coffee and a snack or meal. This is now even more important. Research has also found the best time to enjoy a cup of coffee is mid-morning or early afternoon, not right after waking up.

To effectively blend coffee service and micro-markets, there are two things to consider. The first is the different aspects of coffee service. And the second is how each aspect helps integrate coffee with the micro-market.

Coffee Brewers

  • choose a brewer that makes gourmet beverages; bean-to-cup and single-cup brewers are the current favorites
  • with the concerns around COVID-19, consider a touchless brewer
  • discover which brands are most sought after in your area—yes, brands matter even with brewers
Coffee Service in Auburn

Coffee Beans

  • offer a range of local and national brands
  • discover which coffee brands are well known and liked by your Auburn employees
  • make sure that the perception of the coffee brands matches the perception of the micro-market—both should be high-end

Other Coffee Service Factors  

  • place the coffee service near food and snacks that go well with coffee. Auburn employees are more likely to purchase a breakfast item or an afternoon treat if it’s nearby.
  • create a supply station with a variety of creamers, flavorings, and sweeteners.
  • employees are consumers. Brand recognition of brewers and coffee brands plays a role in purchase decisions.

To make the melding process easier, Automatic Food Service can help. We will guide you through the steps of integrating your OCS into an existing micro-market or adding both at the same time. For more information about micro-markets, coffee service, and other vending solutions, please contact us at (334) 264.7336.

Break Room Visits in Montgomery

Break Room Visits Help Montgomery Employees

Break Room Visits in Montgomery

Your Montgomery break room has potential. It doesn’t have to be a place that employees avoid or use sporadically. Instead, employees should be able to find a relaxing space with vending machines or a micro-market that offers delicious lunch options.

While breakfast is referred to as the most important meal of the day, lunch plays a crucial role in making the afternoon a success. Unfortunately, the lunch break is disappearing.

But isn’t this dedication to one’s career or job good for business? No. In fact, the opposite may be true. Rather than focusing on eating, many employees feel they need to do something more meaningful. They also feel guilty for not always being available.

Even employees who are working from home because of COVID-19 need a break too. Spending too much time at a desk without taking a break can decrease productivity and hurt the bottom line.

Creativity and Community

Everyone, including Montgomery employees, needs a change of scenery every now and then. Creative thinking and new ideas are more likely to occur after taking a break or moving to a new workspace. Going outside for a walk or sitting in the sun help solutions to form.

Break Room Visits in Montgomery

Studies also suggest that taking time off in the middle of the day, whether to eat, walk or take a coffee break with coworkers, creates a community culture within the workplace and happier, more productive employees.

Rejuvenate your Break Room

Although a walk outside can be beneficial, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing, especially when a short break becomes an extended time away from the office. To create a sense of community and a pleasant place to go when getting away from the office isn’t ideal, create a better break space.

  • Offer quality coffee service (a high-value benefit at a lower cost) and healthy snacks and beverages. For a bonus, consider offering micro-market or vending options for free or at a reduced cost.
  • If possible, bring some of the outdoors inside with potted plants, oversized windows, or natural scenery wall murals.

Regardless of how you encourage your employees to get away from their desks, it’s essential that you do it. Whether it’s lunch out, a walk around the block, or a foosball tournament in your break room, your Montgomery employees will appreciate it.

To learn more about updating your break room or adding office coffee service, vending machines, or a micro-market, contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Coffee Breaks in Auburn

Coffee Breaks in Auburn Offer More

Coffee Breaks in Auburn

When is a coffee break more than just drinking a cup of coffee? The answer is when it happens during a work break. Even though many businesses are short-staffed or overwhelmed because of COVID-19, Auburn employers realize that encouraging their employees to take breaks is necessary.

15 minutes of employee downtime to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or healthy snack from a vending machine or micro-market results in other benefits. As a result, many employers go out of their way to encourage employees to take a coffee break.

Health Benefits

Coffee contains caffeine. The main reason most people drink coffee is the caffeine, but it can also improve one’s mood and cognitive performance. Moderate coffee intake is also shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, brain cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. A bonus when an energy boost is an employee’s primary goal.

A break room also encourages Auburn employees to move around. Sitting for long periods can cause joint stiffness and fatigue. Eye strain and headaches can happen after staring at a computer screen for too long without a break. Therefore, everyone finds multiple benefits when employees take breaks.

Breaks help employees work better, and employers see an increase in morale and output.

Coffee Breaks in Auburn

Coffee Gets Everyone Talking

According to Entrepreneur.com, stress levels are at an all-time high. Too much stress causes a loss of productivity and morale, and an increase in health costs, errors, and interpersonal conflicts. Today, almost everyone suffers from some degree of stress.

Encouraging coffee breaks is one way to help your Auburn area employees combat stress. Just as stepping away from one’s desk for 15 minutes helps decrease stiffness and increases circulation, walking and taking a break helps the brain relax.

Another benefit of the coffee break is an increase in communication among employees. Breaks encourage everyone to share concerns, which helps reduce stress. The break room is also a great place to relax and engage in informative conversations. These gatherings often stimulate creative ideas, improve employee camaraderie, and build workplace morale.

The Drink Menu

Coffee isn’t the only beverage that offers benefits. Many employees do not like the taste of coffee or consume limited amounts of caffeine. If an employee falls into either category, there are many other delicious and healthy options. Hot or iced tea, bottled water, and energy drinks are just a few. The goal is to create a time and place for employees to recharge so they can go back to work more focused.

For more information about our hot and cold beverage menus or to add additional vending services, please contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336. We look forward to hearing from you.

Green Tea in Montgomery

Green Tea Versus Coffee in Montgomery

Green Tea in Montgomery

Which is better—coffee or green tea? While everyone has an opinion, there is no right or wrong answer. Both beverages are part of any office coffee service and offer a multitude of varieties and flavors and health benefits for Montgomery employees. A popular benefit of both drinks is the energy boost that comes from caffeine. Traditionally brewed coffee has about 96 mg of caffeine in one 8-oz cup, while green tea has between 20 mg to 45 mg per 8-oz cup.

It’s Good for Your Health

Benefits of ingesting caffeine, whether in coffee or tea, include an increase in energy levels and a decrease in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. While coffee offers almost double the amount of caffeine, green tea offers other significant benefits from higher levels of flavanols, an important micronutrient, catechins, a natural antioxidant, and L-theanine, an amino acid.

For example, the combination of caffeine and L-theanine in green tea results in improved brain function, or stronger working memory, better attention levels, and less anxiety. Other benefits of drinking green tea include an increase in bone strength and health, improved condition of one’s skin from improved moisture retention to anti-aging, and a reduction in heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

It’s Time to Enjoy

With the ongoing stress of 2020, enjoying a beverage that offers all those health benefits is a good idea. Let’s look at four things that can help Montgomery employees create a delicious mug of green tea in the break room.

Green Tea in Montgomery

Know Your Tea

As with almost everything, it’s hard to create a great result if you don’t know your ingredients. Most green tea originates in China and Japan. The Chinese variety usually has a smokier flavor because the tea leaves are roasted, while the Japanese variety has a sweeter taste because the leaves are steamed.

Making the Tea

Green tea leaves are sensitive to heat. When prepared with water that is too hot, the leaves can burn. If the leaves are steeped for too long, the leaves can burn. Both scenarios result in a bitter flavor. To prevent burning, steep the leaves for no more than two minutes and don’t use water that is too hot.

Add Flavors

Whether the goal is to mellow the natural flavor or create a new flavor combination, many options are available. Some popular additions include lemon slices, honey, fresh ginger (use sparingly—ginger can overwhelm quickly), peppermint leaves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, and citrus peels.

Infuse with Fruit

Fresh and dried fruit can also be added to provide additional flavor and sweetness. Fresh apples or berries are a great option as they are readily available and are also high in flavanols. Dried fruit such as mango, pineapple, peach, and papaya are also good as they mellow out the bitterness.

As the number of tea options available grows, it is essential to modify your Montgomery break room refreshment menu to meet the demand. Not only will your employees enjoy the benefits of drinking a delicious beverage, but they will also be more likely to visit the break room when they want fresh food or a snack. For more information about improving your refreshment services, including office coffee service, vending machines, or micro-market, call Automatic Food Service today at (334) 264.7336.

Ready-to-Drink Beverages in Auburn

Discover Ready-to-Drink Beverages in Auburn

Ready-to-Drink Beverages in Auburn

What are ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages? It’s any type of prepared beverage that is packaged and sold, usually in a single-use container. Bottled iced tea is a popular example. The tea has already been brewed, and sugar and other flavors have been added. Available for purchase in a bottle or can, the tea can be consumed by Auburn employees immediately after opening.

RTD beverages are not new; they have been available for many years. But their popularity has recently skyrocketed in the U.S. and abroad, especially among mainstream consumers. A 2020 report from Fortune Business Insights estimated that the value of the global RTD market is likely to grow from $919.13 billion in 2019 to $1,257.77 billion by 2027. That’s an increase of $338.64 billion in just eight years.

Growing Demand

For an RTD product to appeal to Auburn employees it has to offer two things: convenience and options. The new RTD beverage market offers both. 

  • RTD beverages are convenient. They come in both shelf-stable and perishable formats; are served in cans and bottles; include chilled and on-the-go options; and can be purchased in break room vending machines and micro-markets.
  • RTD beverages offer variety. Options can be any combination of flat or carbonated and clear or colorful. Ingredients can vary from traditional to functional or both (ex. caffeine = energy boost and antioxidants = health benefits).

Whether an individual is looking for a traditional beverage or a better-for-you option, there is an RTD option for everyone.

Ready-to-Drink Beverages in Auburn

A Popular Segment: Coffee-Related RTD Beverages

An excellent source of instant energy, ready-to-drink coffee is popular among individuals of all ages. Not only are coffee-related RTD beverages a safe on-the-go option, but consuming them provides many health benefits including a reduced risk of death, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and different types of cancer as well as improved memory, a short-term mental boost, better group performance, and feeling happier. Coffee, in reasonable amounts, is beneficial for the body and the mind.

For those Auburn employees looking for an alternative to traditional coffee, cold brew and nitro cold brew coffees are great options. Cold brew is less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee, but it still contains the caffeine everyone wants. Nitro cold brew combines traditional cold brew with nitrogen creating a beverage with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. New specialty RTD coffee trends offer more variety and include carbonated coffee, functional coffee, single-origin brews, coffee cola, and additives including coconut milk, MCT oil, and plant-based beverages (includes plant-based protein blends (ex. brown rice, pea and chickpea)).

Whether a beverage is caffeinated or not, employers should offer a wide selection of RTD beverages in their Auburn break room, especially during the time of COVID-19. With fewer surfaces to touch when locating and picking up a beverage, employees can have a safer break room experience. Serving individually packaged snacks and fresh food in the break room also helps employees remain on-site during the workday, further lessening the chance of exposure.

For more information about how Automatic Food Service can help create a safer break room experience and about all our break room services, please contact us at (334) 264.7336.

Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Shifting Vending Machine Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

What was the last pre-COVID item you purchased from a vending machine? Would your choice change if you were to purchase something today? If it would, you aren’t alone. A recent survey performed by Shorr Packaging revealed insights about how U.S. consumers’ purchasing behavior has shifted since the onset of the pandemic.

In addition to traditional food shopping locations, Montgomery employers should also be aware of these shifts as they can also impact how and what employees purchase from break rooms. Even though employers don’t have control over how companies package or label their products, they do have control over which products are offered in break room vending machines. Regularly analyzing purchasing patterns and comparing them to the current break room refreshment menu provides exact data that can be used to create an inviting and engaging break room and keep employees on-site when they need something to eat or drink.

Let’s look at two areas of the survey that are relevant to the break room — COVID related changes and food labels and packaging.

COVID-19 Related Changes

For good or for bad, the pandemic has changed the way Montgomery consumers shop. During the three months prior to the survey being completed, 61 percent of participants agreed that pandemic-related purchasing shifts will change how they shop in the future with 66 percent of those individuals saying they would pay more attention to product labels and packaging. 

Survey participants aren’t only paying more attention to packaging and labels; they are changing the products that they buy. For example, over three quarters of those who purchased brands they were unfamiliar with said they would purchase that brand/item again.

Vending Shopping Habits in Montgomery

Food Labels and Packaging

So, what do consumers look for when choosing a product? Of the different parts on packaging, the ingredient list is considered the most trustworthy followed by the brand or logo, the price, and popular phrases such as fresh, no sugar added, all-natural, whole grain/multigrain, organic, and good source of fiber.

While almost two-thirds of participants were willing to pay more for a snack or beverage with popular labeling phrases, the remaining one-third consciously chose not to purchase items with the same phrases. The key takeaway is to make sure that any vending machine refreshment menu includes options that appeal to everyone.

Automatic Food Service offers Montgomery businesses the opportunity to do just that. We offer a variety of traditional and healthy snacks, cold beverages, and fresh food choices and can customize a vending refreshment menu to fit both your and your employees’ needs. For more information about all our break room services including office coffee service, please give us a call at (334) 264.7336.

Celebrate Coffee in Auburn

Celebrate Coffee in Auburn

Celebrate Coffee in Auburn

For coffee drinkers in Auburn and around the world, the end of September and the beginning of October is the perfect time to celebrate their favorite hot beverage as National and International Coffee Days happen within two days of one another. In celebration of this delicious holiday, let’s look several reasons why the beverage is so loved.

A Short History

The exact origin of coffee is unknown, but one of the more well-known legends includes a goat herder, his goats, and an abbot from a local Ethiopian monastery. After seeing his goats experience a boost in energy after consuming the berries from a local plant, the herder told a local abbot, who made a beverage from the same berries. From there, the beverage we now know as coffee traveled to the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, and finally the Americas.

Health Benefits

Whether it’s the caffeine or the antioxidants and other compounds in the beans, everyone’s favorite caffeinated beverage offers health benefits for Auburn individuals including:

  • Reduced risk of death: Drinking one cup per day was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of death. Bump the numbers up to two to three cups per day, and those participants had a 19 percent lower chance of mortality.
  • Reduced risk for type-2 diabetes and heart disease: Four cups of coffee. According to researchers in Duesseldorf, Germany that’s all the caffeine it takes to trigger a protective effect in the human heart. The domino effect caused by caffeine consumption ends with the protection and repair of the heart muscle.
  • Reduced risk for different types of cancer: The International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that coffee can no longer be classified as a carcinogen. In fact, researchers determined that coffee intake was associated with a reduced risk of oral, pharynx, liver, colon, prostate, melanoma, and endometrial cancers. Woo-hoo!
  • Improved memory, a short-term mental boost and better group performance: Caffeine has been found to provide a mental boost for 45 minutes after consuming it and to improve memory over the next 24 hours. Research by the Graduate School of Management at UC, Davis also found that caffeine has a positive impact on a group’s performance.
  • Coffee, in its many forms, also makes everyone feel happier: A 2018 study found that 47 percent of survey participants said that consuming that morning cup of Joe played an integral part in having a good start to the day, 43 percent would choose an iced coffee for a “pick-me-up” during the day, and 38 percent of participants would be more willing to spend a day without their smartphone than not drink any form of coffee for 24 hours.
Celebrate Coffee in Auburn

2020 Trends to Explore

  • Coffee-cola beverages: mix coffee with cola
  • Nitro cold brew: cold brew infused with nitrogen
  • Coffee Spritzer: combine a splash of seltzer water with cold brew
  • Quality decaf: enjoy deliciously roasted beans without the caffeine
  • Snapchilled: brew your favorite beans using a traditional method and rapidly chill it to extract additional flavors

Help your Auburn employees celebrate this delicious and caffeinated holiday by providing OCS in the break room. In additional to a variety of hot beverages including tea, make sure to include a selection of sweeteners and dairy and non-dairy creamers. For more information about OCS or any of our other break room services, please contact Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

Vending Machines in Montgomery Keep Adapting

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

2020 has brought about many unforeseen changes, especially in Montgomery break rooms. Whether a break room offered vending machines or a micro-market, refreshment providers have had to adapt. This isn’t, however, the first time that break room equipment has been modified to meet a new need. Since the very first vending machine was developed, individuals have continued to use them to solve a variety of different problems.

Vending Machine History

The concept of a vending machine has been around for a lot longer than most Montgomery residents realize. In fact, the first vending machine was said to have been written about by the mathematician Hero in 215 BC in Ancient Egypt. In this machine, the user placed a coin in the machine and received holy water; a job previously performed by an individual. Here are several important changes that have helped make the vending machine what it is today include:

1888: Tutti-Frutti gum vending machines were installed in a New York City subway station.
1946: The first coffee vending machine was invented.
1950: Refrigerated sandwich vending machines expanded the lunch menu.
1950s – 1970s: located in U.S. airports, vending machines sold life insurance policies covering death, should the buyer’s flight crash.
1961: Canned soft drink vending machines offered customers new beverage options.
1972: Glass-front snack machines were introduced.
1985: Credit/debit card payment devices were introduced.
1987: Frozen food vending machines were introduced.
1991: Flavored coffees, espresso, and cappuccino were introduced in coffee machines.

Today

In the 150+ years since the first fully automatic vending machine was invented, a wide range of products, from practical to crazy, have been sold. In 2020, non-edible options including personal protection equipment (PPE) can be found. The following organizations highlight how vending machines can be converted to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

New Jersey Transit (NJT) has installed vending machines in handful of stations that sell PPE such as face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitized wipes, and disposable gloves to the public. Kevin Corbett, CEO & President of NJ Transit, explained, “We want our customers to trust that we have prepared the safest and cleanest transit system possible for their return and will continue to work hard every day to keep it that way.” 

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) has developed a similar program. Located throughout the campus, vending machines offer masks, hand sanitizer and other protective products at no cost to the students or university employees. The university tracks “purchases” via the school’s id card system, ensuring that everyone can only make one purchase per product per month.

Adapting Vending Machines in Montgomery

As with the new machines at VCU and NJT, vending machines in Montgomery break rooms offer several benefits for employees. Employers can create a customized menu that includes the snacks, beverages, and fresh food their employees want. Not only are a variety of payment options available, including cash and credit/debit cards, but employers can also cover part or all the costs for their employees. In addition, break room vending machines can encourage employees to stay on-site when they need something to eat or drink, reducing person to person contact and the likelihood of coming into contact with COVID-19.

Is your Montgomery break room ready to safely offer sought-after refreshment options? We are here to help you create an inviting and welcoming space that also safely delivers everyone’s favorite snacks, cold beverages, fresh food, and coffee. For more information, please call Automatic Food Service at (334) 264.7336.

Candy on Auburn Break Room Menu

Why Candy Should Be on Your Auburn Break Room Menu

Candy on Auburn Break Room Menu

What is your favorite type of candy? Is it something made with chocolate or without? According to The Daily Meal, the answer may depend on the state you live in. M&M’s came in first with 13 states followed by Skittles (10 states), Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (7 states), Snickers (4 states), Sour Patch Kids (4 states), Jolly Ranchers (3 states), Kit Kat (2 states), Starburst (2 states), Twix (2 states), and Hershey Bars, Milky Way, and Swedish Fish each got one state a piece. While each of the above candies tastes quite different, they all have one thing in common—they have the ability to boost one’s mood, especially during the past six months.

New data from the National Confectioners Association found that the overall sale of candy and chocolate has gone up 3.8 percent since March 2020. Chocolate sales increased by 5.5 percent and premium chocolate sales jumped by 12.5 percent during the same time period. Compared to a decrease of 1.3 percent from 2018-2019 for all chocolate and an increase of only 0.8 percent for non-chocolate candy, this year’s numbers are a big deal.

Whether an Auburn consumer’s preference for a sweet treat is candy, chocolate, or even something healthy, employers have an opportunity to offer their employees some stress relief via the break room. Providing a variety of options in the break room also encourages employees to stay on-site instead of leaving during the workday.

Snacks

Creating a customized menu with traditional snacks like candy and chocolate as well as better-for-you snack options makes sure that there is something for everyone. It’s not unusual for the same individual to choose a cookie or bag of potato chips one day and a protein bar the next. Snacks also help to provide an energy boost until the next time an employee can grab a meal.

Candy on Auburn Break Room Menu

Hot and Cold Beverages

A well-rounded beverage menu should include a selection of both cold and hot caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages. Caffeinated options such as coffee or soft drinks can provide a quick energy boost for those who need it while bottled water and hot or iced tea help Auburn employees stay properly hydrated.

Fresh Food

Since many Auburn individuals, especially Millennials, prefer to snack on multiple mini meals throughout the day instead of eating the traditional three meals per day, access to fresh food is especially important. Without on-site options, those employees are likely to spend extra time off-site purchasing fresh food.

Automatic Food Service is here to help your organization customize the best refreshment option for your employees especially in the time of COVID-19. For more information about our traditional and healthy snack, beverage, and fresh food options, vending and micro-market services, and our office coffee service, please contact us at (334) 264.7336. We would like to help create a refreshment menu that helps decrease everyone’s stress levels.