Is Crem about to rise to the top?

Is Crem About To Rise To The Top In The UK?

In the first installment of a major two-part article, we discover how its acquisition, by US catering giant Welbilt, has impacted upon its plans to develop its business in the UK and ask, ‘is Crem about to rise to the top?’

Part One: Crem and Welbilt – ‘The Perfect Fit’.

Anders Bäckström was living in Shanghai, working hard to build the Crem business in China, when the call came for him to up sticks and move to the UK. It was a leap into the unknown: he wasn’t sure how the major Crem brands – Spengler, Expobar and Coffee Queen – were viewed by the British market and what’s more, he’d never heard of Burnley.

Upon his arrival in South East Lancashire he found a glass half full. In Lee Rushton, he had a colleague who would be in any aficionado’s ‘Who’s Who’ of the UK coffee market. Additionally, he was delighted to discover that he could call upon the support of a well-established, ultra-professional team.

Is Crem about to rise to the top?
Crem and Welbilt: ‘It’s the perfect fit.’ Anders Bäckström

‘Two things happened in the first couple of weeks that convinced me that our goals were achievable’, Anders said. ‘First of all, an e-mail arrived from a customer saying how happy they were with our products and our services and straight after that, we received the results of a large-scale customer satisfaction survey and they were very, very positive.’

And yet, even after 10 years in this country, Crem remains a peripheral player amongst the UK’s coffee community., at least in terms of brand awareness.

‘…we received the results of a large-scale customer satisfaction survey and they were very, very positive.’

‘I think the reasons for that can be traced back to the early days of Expobar in the UK’, Lee said. ‘‘In the early days, the machines were aimed strongly at the Spanish market only, although using major brand components in the manufacturing process, marketing and aesthetics was often overlooked, so they lagged some way behind the competition from a brand perspective.

‘When you look under the skin of the machines, Expobar equipment rivals anything on the market today’, Lee said. ‘Ask any professional coffee machine engineer and I promise you, they’ll agree with me. Our range is designed to make maintenance easy and to make total cost of ownership less across the lifespan of the equipment and this is down to using the same main components as some much better marketed and more expensive brands that could be mentioned.’

Is Crem about to rise to the top?
‘Expobar equipment rivals anything on the market today.’ Lee Rushton

Is Crem about to rise to the top?

The mood in the camp, then, is that there’s no problem with the quality of the products on offer and – as Anders has already discovered – there’s nothing lacking in terms of the quality of the service enjoyed by customers. What’s for sure is that marketing will play a central role in Crem’s strategy for the future and just as the launch of the Fabia changed attitudes to Skoda, so the launch of Spengler brand, scheduled for early 2019, will revitalise Crem in Britain.

‘Spengler has been around in the UK for a few years now, but there’s been limited availability, there’s only ever been a soft launch’, Anders said. ‘What we’re planning now, for the first time in the UK, is a major introduction of the Spengler brand that will ensure all our potential customers are made aware of the considerable features and benefits the range has to offer.’

Whilst the theme in this country is creating a foothold in the marketplace, worldwide, it’s a different story. Crem International globally is a leading manufacturer of professional coffee machines, with more than 50 years of experience in the market and sales in more than 80 countries. HQ is in Sweden, there are three manufacturing sites, in Sweden, Spain, and, China; there are three R&D centres and six sales offices. The range embraces just about every type of professional coffee machine, including manual and automatic espresso and filter coffee machines as well as instant and liquid models.

Is Crem about to rise to the top?

Crem’s acquisition by the huge, US based professional kitchen equipment supplier Welbilt, which was completed earlier this year, looks set to bring to Crem the advantages that Skoda enjoyed when VW came into their picture, namely global scale, additional sales channels; broader access to technology and additional financial backing – a vital factor if the marketing battle is to be won.

Is Crem about to rise to the top?‘It’s the perfect fit; the synergy between the two businesses is complete’, Anders said. ‘Welbilt is the ultimate one-stop-shop for the creation of a top quality professional kitchen, offering everything from walk in refrigeration to ovens, grills and ranges, prep stations, steamers fryers and now, of course, every type of coffee machine. A major benefit for us in the UK is that we now have access to Welbilt’s sector leading Aftermarket service, ‘Kitchencare’ and its extensive team of field based service engineers. We’re primed, prepared and we’re ideally placed to make serious headway in the UK.’

Is Crem about to rise to the top?
L-R Kurt Wood, Lee Rushton, Cindy Macdairmid, Emily Taylor, Thomas Swierkowski, Anders Bäckström, Geoff Sampson


NEXT TIME: With the clock ticking down to the arrival of the long-awaited Spengler range of machines to the UK, we’ll look at the history of the brand and discover the features and benefits that Crem believes will set a new benchmark in the UK coffee industry.

More? Find out about the Welbilt Group, HERE
Ready for Part Two? ‘History, Experience And Design: Spengler Offers It All, In One Package’, is HERE




Visit Planet Vending, HERE

Is Crem about to rise to the top?

Is Crem about to rise to the top?
Is Crem about to rise to the top?











About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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