Now we have a world full of trained baristas operating our of bars, restaurants, bakeries, carts, McDonalds, car washes and vans on the side of the road. There have been times in my runs on the corporate treadmill where I have thought, wouldn’t it be great to buy a franchise in a business like The Coffee Guy.
Now a lot of the things I thought of doing, these guys are doing and I’m sure some of their competitors are pretty smart too. Things like having drive through cafes, selling at events (I don’t know how I would have survived without them in my Relay For Life all-nighters). One thing I haven’t seen yet (it might be illegal) was to have flat whites (Latte for Americans) to sell to rush hour motorists who aren’t rushing because they are stuck in the gridlock trying to get onto our motorways in the morning.
So yesterday I was driving to Cafe e Cuccina in Albany for a breakfast meeting with my friend Clive who owns GPS Logbook and saw 3 guys at a Coffee Guy van, only just because they were obscuring it and I almost missed it (which didn’t matter as I was going to a cafe). I don’t know what they were doing but maybe they weren’t looking for business, or were training a new franchisee or something.
Anyway I got to thinking. I know they have a Twitter site, they don’t seem to do much on it, but they have one. They have a Facebook page with over a thousand likes, which is pretty good. What they don’t do is make it easy for people to find them. When I used to be one of those lonely commuters there was a guy on East Coast that was there most days, but I only knew about it because I saw him.
I know the Coffee Guy company actively encourages franchisees to do circuits to business areas, they can be found on the beach in summer and at trade shows and expos. Pretty good score card. But there is another big market using location based services. I checked Foursquare and found that several people have checked in at locations where there was a Coffee Guy, but there didn’t seem to be any outgoing marketing from the people themselves. Like most retailers, they probably don’t know it exists.
I’m not going to go into details of how to do it, but there seems to me to be a great opportunity for companies like this to continue to innovate, taking advantage of the huge number of people who have iPhones and other smartphones with GPS that know where they are:
- Have a coffee club where loyalty customers are notified when there is a Coffee Guy near them.
- Track what time of day they normally buy coffee from them and see if they have bought today yet. Profile and context customer management.
- Run loyalty rewards programs straight from the mobile, i.e. no need to carry a card.
- Prepay for 10 coffees, pay for 8 so they don’t have to worry about cash.
- Allow them to pre-order when they are on the way, so they don’t have to wait.
- Check them in so that there are analytics of when and where they buy coffee.
- Offer them deals.
- Deliver to people based on their GPS location, which could be on a beach or in a park, or at a sports ground.
- Engage them with social media by location. Facebook check-ins.
- Buddy finder, who is in the area they might like to have a coffee with. Coffee was of course social to start with wasn’t it?
I have lots more ideas, but the thing is these things can be done. If I had a coffee cart, I’d be doing them.