Coffee Programs are the Class of 2021

Add automated, high-quality coffee dispensers to your university for a jolt of learning

Over the last few decades, high school students and teenagers have become bigger and bigger fans of coffee, consuming more and more as the years go by.

To the generations that grew up not knowing what it’s like to have corner coffee shops made famous by the likes of Starbucks, drinking coffee — especially premium coffee beverages like espresso and cappuccino — is second nature, much like “soda pop” was to those growing up in the 50s. And if teenagers’ tastes have changed, there’s an opportunity for our nation’s school nutrition directors to change with them.

Here are four reasons why coffee programs can provide great benefits in our country’s high schools.


Every school foodservice program must begin and end any conversation with nutrition. With school nutrition guidelines comes a focus on dairy and the nutritional value of milk. In addition, coffee also pushes out other types of caffeinated beverages like sodas and energy drinks, which can have negative nutritional consequences with their artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and flavors.

Couple the nutritional value that milk provides with the fact that milk consumption has steadily decreased over the decades, and you’ll find that many milk providers are doing whatever they can to encourage coffee consumption in our nation’s high schools, including providing money to purchase machines.


For many school districts, high school students are allowed to leave campus for lunch. This means students are free to find the things they want just across the street if they can’t find them in the halls and cafeterias of their own schools.

As we all know, school nutrition programs thrive on student participation, and while a coffee bar won’t necessarily fulfill those needs in the traditional sense, they will help keep students on campus, which is a major goal. From reducing neighborhood traffic to keep students out of trouble to making purchases, it just makes sense to do whatever possible to keep students on campus.


Having an on-campus coffee bar and the accompanying program it takes to operate it can be a great opportunity for teaching. Just think about it from a business perspective. If high school business ed classes use a school coffee bar as a teaching tool, those classes can learn about the basics of supply and demand, inventory, marketing, finance, and so much more.

Who knew a high school coffee program could be more than just a way to keep students awake?!


When you keep students on campus purchasing items sold by the school, the potential for revenue is vastly increased. In the more successful high school coffee programs, those numbers can be significant, turning an unwanted hallway between the gym and the front office into a gathering place that generates revenue, period after period, year after year.

Coffee is just one way to provide benefit to a school nutrition program. For innovative solutions and the requirements to make them happen, schedule a free K-12 Foodservice Consultation with Middleby.

Topics: Beverage, Foodservice Industry Trends, K-12