Newbeans Customer of the Month: McLaren Vending

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Newbeans Coffee allows customers and consumers alike to create their own customized blend of coffee online, or even over the phone, without having to visit a commercial coffee roaster.  The beans are bought in their green state from the commodity market, and roasted only upon ordering. This convenience and quality gives a myriad of benefits to our commercial and individual partners.

Just how beneficial are Custom Blend Coffee and Coffee Subscription to one’s business? Every month, Newbeans Coffee features one of its prized partners to explore the advantages and results that working with a dedicated coffee partner brings.

Our chosen partner for February is McLaren Vending, a company that has been in business since 1963 and  provides high quality vending machines to customers all over central Scotland

Here, second-generation businessman Paul McLaren talks to us about how the business has evolved through the years, to adapt to the ever-changing business landscape in Scotland.

How did McLaren Vending come about?

“McLaren vending is a family owned and run business, established by my father and his brother in 1963.  It was originally a wholesale cash and carry which delivered groceries, confectionery and tobaccos to businesses in Glasgow,” explains Paul.

From the start, the business adapted to customers’ changing needs which led to the business’s entry in tobacco vending in the late 70’s. The business spent the next 20 years growing  to become one of the largest cigarette vending businesses in Scotland. That was all about to change in the 90’s and they adapted once more.

“Changing attitudes to tobacco and further legislation meant that the company had to adapt. During the 90’s the business branched out into can, snack and hot drink vending.  Over the past 25 years this part of the business has grown and now accounts for 99% of company turnover,” Paul said.

Why did you decide to join the family business, instead of embarking on a new career?

“I joined the business part-time in 1988 at the age of 18 and helped out while I studied at a local university. After graduating from university I decided that the family business seemed to be a more exciting opportunity than any other career. I was instrumental in starting the can and snack vending business as I could see a need to diversify away from the licensed trade and tobacco sales,” explains Paul.

There were highs and lows as with any business,  Paul explained.

The constant onslaught of anti-tobacco legislation and the worst recession in years is an obvious low and would make most people pack up and walk away. I know a number of business colleagues who did this but I managed to steer my business through these challenges and today have a successful business that I hope will continue to grow for years to come.  This achievement on it’s own is something that I am very proud of and makes it all worthwhile,” Paul says with conviction.

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Being attuned to his customer’s changing needs, Paul realised the need to improve the quality of the coffee served by McLaren Vending. He met Mark Wilson, Newbeans Coffee’s founder at a trade show, commencing a partnership between McLaren Vending and Newbeans.

“At the time I was having some complaints from customers that the coffee beans we were using were not as strong as they could be. I got some samples from Mark and tried them in the vending machine that we most commonly use. The machine grinds the beans and brews them quite quickly so the bean has to be strong without being too overpowering,” Paul explains about their needs.

To address this need, McLaren Vending went through a process of testing different blends in the vending machines that they use. Of course, the customer’s opinion mattered – they tested a number of beans for a number of weeks and gave out samples to anyone who came to their office.

“This helped us weed out the blends that would not work. Too burnt, too weak, not quite right with milk in it,” Paul continued.

They went through as many as 20 different beans until finally, Newbeans Coffee created a Custom Blend that hit the sweet spot.

“It tasted good as a black coffee, when the skimmed milk from the vending machine was added for a white coffee you could still get a nice taste of coffee and when a latte was made there was still a good coffee flavour cutting through the milk. We had our blend. I am by no means an expert I just know what I like and feedback from my customers is that they like it too.”       

Newbeans Coffee developed the Coffee Tasting and Profiling System (CTAPS), which allows you to better understand the roast profile of the coffee – showing you the attributes of its taste, roast, aroma and acidity, and taking the guesswork out of making a blend. This information was traditionally available only through commercial roasters, but is now readily available online through Newbeans. Moreover, the service also allows you to order online – and have the coffee delivered quickly in most cases the next day, ensuring its freshness!

Following the creation of their Custom Blend, Paul now orders regularly, and being able to order through the web is just one of the many benefits.

“Online purchase is simple but knowing that you have a unique product that you designed adds to the speciality of the product. There may be other roasters online but new beans go that extra mile to get the right beans for the right customer,” he explains.

“I like to convenience of ordering one day and getting it delivered the next.  Service is really fast and simple. How this is possible when I am ordering a bespoke product is truly amazing,” Paul concludes.

The McLaren Blend (CTAPS 159) is a delicate mix of Arabica and Robusta coffees roasted to an Italian style, perfect for espresso style coffees. We engineered the blend based on the customer tasting, and used a combination of Guatemalan, Brazilian and Ugandan beans. The result is a cup with a  strong dark chocolate body, balanced with a mild acidic taste, finished with a winey aftertaste, and hints of grass, nuts and herbs.

Having found the perfect blend of coffee for his business, Paul is now a regular customer of Newbeans Coffee. With high quality service as their trademark, McLaren Vending found a worthy partner in Newbeans Coffee.

You, too, can create your own unique blend for your café, restaurant, hotel or vending business, or even for your own home – and have it delivered fresh and on time. Get in touch with us at sales@newbeans.co.uk.

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