If I Had a Coffee Cart

We have come a long way from getting a cup of Nescafe at the local coffee shop, or perhaps in a really good cafe, filter coffee that hadn’t been bittered and burned on the element for too long. coffee

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.

Coffee GuyI have no relationship with this or any coffee company other than as a customer. But I’ve often had thoughts of “If I was one of those guys I’d…”

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.

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About Luigi Cappel

Writer for hire, marketing consultant specialising in Location Based Services. Futurist and Public Speaker Auckland, New Zealand
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12 Responses to If I Had a Coffee Cart

  1. techano says:

    I like the way you think!

    Like

  2. decibelplaces says:

    In NYC (which is partly fueled by caffeine) there are many coffee trucks – and I have an Android app that reports the location of participating food trucks.

    Like

  3. Pingback: If I Had a Coffee Cart | Marketing Your Home Based Business with Rex Harris

  4. rexharris says:

    Looks like a consulting gig waiting to happen. Why don’t you contact them to share your ideas if they aren’t getting an traction? You’re ideas are spot on… if I had a coffee cart, I’d listen to you!

    Like

  5. Greg H says:

    I’ve seen the Coffee Guys on the Greville Road onramp between 7am and 9am most mornings. Also located at other selected locations were queue’s are quite hefty for getting over the bridge and then many of them have distinct routes around the business parks like in the Albany Basin. I know in the UK you have to pay the council a hefty fee for using layby’s but not sure of the rule here in NZ. I agree they should be making better use of technology. The Coffee Guy at the netball down at Pinehurst during the season has a non-stop line from 9am to 2pm every saturday – starts this weekend!

    Like

    • Luigi Cappel says:

      I drove past the Coffee Guy on the Albany Highway today and he now has a couple of signs on the road before you get to him which is smart. I would have stopped but was on my way to a meeting at a cafe:)

      Like

  6. Pingback: 8 Ways to Grow Your Business with GPS | SoLoMo Consulting

  7. Jason Mumby says:

    I have an app that does exactly what you have said here.

    1. Integrated rewards system based on the traditional card and stamp http://smartorder.co.nz/integrated-coffee-card/

    2. An app with (Android) that lets you accept, reject or alter the pickup time of any order. Also geo location that lets you push your location to social feeds such as twitter and facebook.

    3. Prepay system where you actually pay forward in cash and it is deducted each purchase. http://smartorder.co.nz/beta-product-codename-cafecredit/

    Plus many more check out the full site

    Like

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