Meet the Monkey Awards Nominees – High Throughput Beverage

It’s the battle of the beverages (sorry, couldn’t resist!) for this category and so far it seems to come down to coffee versus cola. Is there anything else – we don’t think so. It’s the High Throughput Beverage category. So let’s look at the nominees and why they made the final.

First up it’s Prêt à Manger (UK). Prêt creates handmade natural food to take away in 225 stores (less than 5% of those are outside of London). Contactless technology was originally trialed in 7 stores across London, before the company took the decision to rollout the technology across all their stores by April 2009.

Prêt is a high profile brand name that got behind contactless payment right from the start, rolling the technology out across all their sites and is now the largest contactless customer for the acquiring bank.

Prêt tells us that the new technology improves the speed of transaction for the customers and that over 1400 contactless readers have been implemented within their sites. They also tell us that in terms of usage contactless currently equates to 5% of all card transactions.

Caffè Nero (UK) is up next. The company provides coffee and snacks and is the largest independent coffee retailer in the UK, with over 400 stores. They are a major Retailer in the beverage sector and have embraced contactless equipment, integrating contactless technology into their own Till Software. This contactless technology is now live across all their sites in the UK (780 readers). Moreover, contactless technology was implemented at the same time as Chip and PIN as part of an integrated system, to move away from cash. The company say that the average spend is under £10, meaning that this is ideal for contactless payments.

The company says contactless brings greater flexibility for their customers, who now have another payment method to choose from. Their payment processing partner Commidea provide a web portal where contactless transactions can be tracked on a daily/weekly/monthly basis and internal reporting is carried out by Caffè Nero per site.

Asked about frequency of usage, Caffè Nero told C-ITV that each location is different: the majority of usage is London, with Edinburgh and Northampton showing significant transactions. Canary Wharf is the store with the highest number of contactless transactions. The company has also noticed that contactless transactions are growing at a faster rate than Chip and PIN month on month and that the spend on card is significantly higher than cash.

AMT Coffee (UK) is another coffee house that have embraced contactless technology. The UK coffee chain expanding into Europe, focusing on Fair Trade produce and have 57 locations across the UK.

AMT Coffee previously did not accept credit/debit cards and decided to use contactless as an opportunity to introduce card payments, using the new GPRS terminal.  They have all sites now live with contactless and appear to be enthusiastic about the technology and are now looking into ways that they can promote the fact that they accept contactless payments.

All of their outlets are in key commuter locations, being mainly in bus or train stations, so is the ideal scenario where someone needs to grab a coffee quickly before their bus or train leaves. They have set up a Twitter site and received some positive comments: “I’m fed up of the ATM in Oxford station hardly ever working – I’m going cashless.  At least I can buy my coffee with payWave”  “The contactless payments are fab.”

After a 6-location trial AMT Coffee rolled out the contactless units to all of their 57 UK locations. The trial lasted 6-8 weeks and a number of factors were considered: speed of service not suffering, cash in transit, cost per transactions versus cash, usage of cards and the growth of usage and finally, average transaction value. AMT Coffee has shown that they were happy with the results and has implemented targets for the entire business to implement the card facility.  They will be introducing an offer for all customers who ‘wave-and-pay’ this May, with the contactless symbol clearly shown on signage in shops to encourage users.

Last, but not least, its one of the world biggest brands – Coca Cola, for their contactless vending during the 2010 Winter Olympics who are rounding off our nominees in this category. Coca Cola have worked to offer athletes at the Winter Olympics free access to Coca Cola products through contactless vending machines.

This is an innovative project within a closed environment, but utilizing large enough numbers to receive valid advice about contactless vending. The Canadian Olympic Project Team was looking for a unique solution to offer Olympic Athletes with a fast and convenient way to enjoy complementary Coca-Cola beverages throughout the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  The Coca-Cola Bottling Company assumed the role of project lead to assemble the necessary partners to implement not only a solution for this application, but also a program that would be repeatable in other vending channels across their business.

A contactless Coca-Cola Olympic Key FOB (credit card, in the shape of a Coke bottle) was attached to a key chain and issued to all the Olympic and Paralympics Athletes, to use on all vending machines in both the Vancouver and Whistler Athletes Villages.

The results were monitored electronically through USA Technologies’ server and through an on-line application called ‘USA Live’.  Both Visa and RBC were able to monitor the transactions based on the unique BIN’s number that was created for this program.

The Coca-Cola Olympic Key FOB program was activated on 60 vending machines located in both Athletes Villages in Vancouver and Whistler. 7,000 Coca-Cola Olympic Key FOB’s were issued to the Olympic and Paralympics Athletes, as well as selected VANOC personnel. There were also approximately 200 vending machines throughout the Olympic venues that were programmed for Visa exclusive acceptance for both contactless and magnetic stripe credit cards. At time of writing it is estimated that there will be approximately 80,000 beverages dispensed using the Coca-Cola Olympic Key FOB.

So that’s it. Beverages, coffee, cola and more – but always contactless. The winner will be announced on the 29th April at the awards dinner in London. Will you be there?X

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