Franke’s new wave of automation

Franke automation

Franke’s Sales Director for Oceania, David Downing, discusses the value of automation and how its A300 fully automatic coffee machine is the next step in delivering customer satisfaction with a consistent, quality product.

Australia’s hospitality industry has shown great resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. From reoccurring border closures to reduced dine-in service, the industry continues to adapt and evolve with innovative solutions.

With more people looking for easy access to high quality products, David Downing, Sales Director for Oceania at Franke Coffee Systems, says automation could take on a whole new meaning, with the ability to enhance a café’s daily operations in a safe and efficient way.

“Technology really has changed a lot. How the customers and staff interact with the coffee machine has also changed. I think [automation] is no longer viewed as a second-best option for coffee lovers,” says David.

Business success with Franke Solutions

Helping to drive this positive reception is Franke’s devotion to advancing technology, as seen in its A300 fully automatic coffee machine which, David says, produces consistent in-cup quality, all at the touch of a button.

“The A300 doses milk-based coffees on volume instead of time, resulting in a more accurate amount of liquid per cup,” he says. “And thanks to our patented thermal heating cartridge system, our FoamMaster technology can instantly heat coffee, tea, and hot water.

“The cartridge will sit in energy saving mode but as soon as you hit a button, it will energise the entire heating system to the pre-set temperature so when it’s dispensing the coffee and the milk, both ingredients are the exact temperature you require.”

David Downing, Franke’s Sales Director for Oceania.

David says this technology is a result of Franke’s consistent focus on and refinement of its coffee technologies. Also improved is the machine’s ceramic burrs, which have been selected based on its consistent precision when bean cutting, and the material’s resistance to heat.

“Every time we test coffee bean grinding, we confirm that our ceramic burrs grinding proves higher durability, allowing us to have thousands of cycles before the blades would have to be changed,” says David. “Tests also show that the beans are heated less from friction, as compared to titanium or metal blades.”

This preserves coffee bean integrity and results in a high-quality grind as well as more accurate dispensing of coffee grounds into the A300’s brewing chamber. The A300’s innovation is also evident in its compact size.

“Just the size of the system is certainly a step forward in innovation. It’s proof that you can retain high in-cup quality, while still being a compact fully automatic coffee machine,” David says. “Regardless if you’re in a hotel environment, a restaurant, or a bar, space in the service area is at a premium and business owners want to maximise the impact of their service and offerings accordingly.”

Plug-and-play for high functionality

The A300’s modularity and aesthetic appearance have also been recognised, winning the 2021 Red Dot Design Award and 2021 iF Design for its sleek and premium design in a unique size.

“You can place it anywhere and it will always have high visual appeal. It also has five modular components, and we can even swap these components from the similarly designed portfolio of bigger units we offer,” says David.

The fully automatic A300 provides staff with the ability to cater for customer demands during higher peak periods by offering one or two bean hoppers and optional powder products.

With demand and variety of milk types ever growing, Franke has also made the A300’s milk steaming capabilities modular.

“Due to its size, the A300 fits one type of milk within its system for automatic steaming, but for consumers who are vegan or prefer alternative milks, rather than swapping the milk in the system, you can use the exchangeable steam wand to cater to any customer request,” says David.

“What’s truly remarkable is all this performance power is available in a standard household electricity profile, adding to its plug-and-play appeal. A300 users can also choose between a water drip tray or a direct connection to the under-counter wastewater hose.”

David says Franke has fitted all the necessary components needed by a business into the machine, while still maintaining its small size and high productivity of about 80 to 90 cups a day.

The A300 programs 100 different styles of beverages, with an ability to include different milks and powders to accommodate user preferences. This also includes programming specific beverage temperatures that are perfectly calibrated for any variation, from espresso through to water for brewing various teas – all made possible thanks to the patented heating cartridge.

“What we can also do for our clients is, given we know which beverages are popular with their demographic, we can design a specific menu for their business,” says David. “The process of customisation sees us offering different solutions and passing on our technical expertise and experience to best assist Franke customers.”

Telemetry for business productivity

Understanding a business’s demographic is also made easier with the A300’s IoT solution which allows Franke’s clients to measure equipment efficiency and to manage inventories. And, when customers opt to interface their cloud to Franke Digital Services, productivity and efficiencies can be enhanced.

“I think for Franke, also being proactive to any issues we foresee with the equipment, rather than being reactive, is a huge benefit for our clients,” says David.

“To enable Franke services to contact our customers before they have to contact us, is a positive step forward with the relationship between the manufacturer, the distributor’s service company, and the customer.”

Through a connected IoT system, Franke can also create and update new menus and profiles remotely, and in real time.

“The A300 enables Franke’s Touchless Ordering so coffee customers can even order their drinks using their smart device yet without the need for an app or registration,” says David.

“At Franke, we developed our own solution, Franke Digital Services, which supports all our coffee systems, and represents our drive to constantly evolve and provide best-in-class solutions.”

Franke’s A300 screen is also designed to communicate with its users. It displays drink orders as they are entered, helps staff with operations prompts and can be used to display brand messages or a promotional offer to customers in a self-serve environment using Franke Digital Signage.

David adds that this touchscreen menu also alerts staff of any upcoming tasks, like the automatic cleaning program, and practical prompts for refilling hoppers, powders, or water.

“This in itself can provide staff with a peace of mind because they’re not always worrying whether they are doing the right thing or how much stock they have left,” says David.

“It also assists with keeping track of maintenance such as descaling.”

Descaling is the process of flushing out limescale deposits that can damage coffee machines. Limescale builds up in a coffee machine due to water that contains high amounts of calcium. To ensure machine longevity, the A300 automatically descales, or flushes out the machine’s systems with a mix of water and Franke specific descaling cleaner once every three to four weeks. This adds just a few minutes to the regular automatic 10-minute cleaning process.

“Once the cleaning and descaling process happens, depending on the water connection, you might just need to refill the water tank or empty the drip tray, and you’re done,” says David. “We designed it to be as user-friendly as possible.”

Opportunity for further growth

Once borders open and people begin to travel domestically and internationally again, David predicts the hospitality workforce will shift and become more transient, celebrating quality coffee at a more convenience-oriented level.

With this in mind, the A300’s touchscreen menu can also be set-up for self-service operation.

“At Franke, when we recommend a self-service menu, we also offer services to customise the menu, so it is immediately associated with the owner’s brand and is understandable to their guests,” David says. “We work with our clients to create a consistent, supportive menu flow that is easy, simple, and fast.”

The key, David says, is to increase customer familiarity and attachment to each business.

“This means the customer – whether it is staff operators or self-service – understands the touchscreen. They see it’s a Franke fully automatic coffee machine and they know that they’re going to get a consistently high-quality cup of coffee at the touch of a button, which for us, is the [ultimate goal],” says David.

The world may still be adapting to this COVID era, but David is confident that automation will be the foundation to help support and strengthen the Australian coffee industry in its next steps forward.

“Human interaction will always be a part of the coffee experience. What the A300 does is augment this transaction and provide high-quality, customisable coffee experiences during today’s challenges,” he says.

“At Franke, we’re really bringing automation to a new level. I think at the end of the day, what everyone in this industry wants is a consistent, good coffee with a positive, individual experience, and this is something that automation, and the A300 can provide.”

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This article appeared in the October 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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