A year since we set sail with Costa Coffee in Greece

By Savvas Petroutsos, Coffee Capabilities Expert for Greece and Cyprus, Coca-Cola HBC 

I joined Coca-Cola HBC in January 2020 to lead the roll-out of Costa Coffee in Greece as the Coffee Capabilities Expert. Having spent all my previous professional life outside of the corporate world, it was a very new experience for me, not to mention that it happened in the middle of a global pandemic.

When we introduced the brand in Greece in July 2020, I set myself two personal challenges. One was to develop the coffee culture within a company with more than 100 other leading brands, and the other was to support the successful launch of Costa Coffee in the field, working shoulder to shoulder with our customers and our newly created coffee teams.

It’s been exactly one year since the first consumers enjoyed their first cups of Costa Coffee, so it’s timely to reflect on three moments of my journey so far.

First, was the moment I met my coffee colleagues from around our Group. It is great to know that I am not alone. Alongside my fantastic in-country team, I have got to know coffee experts from multiple countries. We have established frequent communication routines and agreed on capability plans, products & recipes and undertaken virtual tastings with the Costa Coffee roastery team in London. It is fantastic to see the continual build of coffee capabilities across the organization and to be surrounded by experienced professionals who never compromise in quality.

The second was my first negotiation meeting with a potential customer in April 2020. Let’s just say I left the room with a whole load of learnings! My role was to lead the portfolio presentation & product demonstration. The moment I left that meeting, I knew that in the future I had to focus more on commercializing my specialization and knowledge in coffee to develop tailored approaches that would best serve the needs of different stakeholders. Same as in coffee, I thought, there isn’t one cup size that fits all brews in corporate relationships.

The third was my first professional equipment installation in a café in October. That was clearly the most emotionally intense moment of all! We adjusted the grinders, we set the machine, we delivered a startup training to the personnel and finally we were ready to hit the button for the first time!!! The first Costa Coffee “proud to serve” outlet was up and running and so was I!

I truly believe that each of these moments have brought us closer to our vision of becoming the best coffee partner for our customers. Starting with the fundamentals of the coffee business, then bringing in expertise and coffee knowledge, building a diverse portfolio, and dedicating time to train our own people and support our customers. And to my two challenges? We have built some fantastic customer partnerships by being both supportive and agile and one year down the line, I’m full of optimism for the future. As to a coffee culture, I’ve discovered that colleagues and customers alike can find room in their heart for their coffee alongside their Coca-Cola!


CCH_Blog_02 CCH_Blog_02