How joe's coffee-specific technology help owners keep up.
A Letter from the Founders | June 2022
An open latter from joe founders about how joe has evolved to better serve small business coffee owners.
A lot has changed these last couple years since the pandemic first hit. At joe, we have had to reimagine what it means to give shops the technology they need to thrive at a time when customers demand hyper-convenience. As we continue to hammer away at new products and features based on feedback from our 1000+ partners, it’s important to share some insight into our journey at joe and how we’ve reinvented ourselves over the last year to help coffee entrepreneurs thrive in today’s “new normal”.
joe Co-founders, and brothers, Nick and Brenden Martin
Where we started
We started joe on the premise that by making it as convenient and rewarding for coffee-lovers to order ahead at independent shops as it is at Starbucks, people wouldn’t settle for corporate. When choosing local is hyper-convenient, small business thrives.
That vision began coming to fruition beginning in 2019 when we launched 200+ shops in Seattle. In areas where we had multiple shops within a zip code, we saw customers spending ~300% more than customers in areas with just a single shop. Shop owners saw their revenue jump by 50% as regulars ordered more often (by about 85%) and they gained new customers through the network.
Where did the lift come from? The average coffee drinker consumes 3+ drinks per day from morning to night. Most of those “on-the-go” purchases are lost to corporations. But when choosing local is as convenient and rewarding as settling for corporate, 70% of people that order ahead at Starbucks say they will make the switch*. Step by step, our little startup was proving what was possible for small business with purpose-built technology tailored to their needs.
How the pandemic re-shaped the
When the pandemic hit, we went from serving Seattle to serving shops across the entire U.S. virtually overnight. We saw a 1000% increase in volume and reorganized our entire company to meet demand. It was all-hands-on deck to maintain what we already had in place.
As the pandemic continued, we began seeing a shift in the pain points coffee shop owners were experiencing. We were learning that the future for coffee shop owners was being reshaped. Life during the pandemic was complicated, but running a coffee shop afterwards was going to be forever changed and we knew it. We began seeing a few key themes emerge with very similar stories as we spoke with hundreds if not thousands of coffee shop owners.
Impact of digital ordering adoption
As digital orders made a greater share of business, coffee shops benefited topline with higher sales volume, but it added pressure to workflow. It is one thing to manage expectations with in-person customers, but the ability to communicate with customers about inventory and estimated wait times was a new challenge for high volume shops.
Staffing challenges amplified pain points
Barista churn is a challenge for coffee shop owners as old as the industry itself. The pandemic exacerbated that challenge putting even more pressure on having a streamlined workflow that harmonizes in-person and digital orders and boosts tips for baristas to make the profession more competitive.
More fires = less time for owners
Coffee shop owners already spend 70% of their time putting out fires and making sure their shop is operating on all cylinders. When faced with new challenges posed by the new normal, finding time to create compelling marketing campaigns with generic tools seemed out of reach.
How we reinvented ourselves
In late 2021, we began building joe to suit the needs of coffee shop owners in the “new normal” with a focus on taking the pain out of operations. We focused on a few key areas where we believed we could make the biggest impact:
- Streamlining workflow across in-person and digital
- Loyalty marketing
- Lowering costs
- Improving barista satisfaction
Since then, it’s felt like a whole new world at joe. Our vision to bring purpose-built technology for independent coffee beginning with the best customer and barista experience in the industry is becoming a game-changer for our partners.
Shops that integrate on Square and power their digital menus with joe are seeing a massive lift to their online ordering that is adding much needed revenue and improved profitability at a time when margins are squeezed by an increase in cost of goods.
Our partners running on our new point-of-sale product are averaging 30%+ growth in revenue with ease as joe takes care of converting in-person loyalty to digital orders. As a result, we’re seeing that loyalty customers are spending 85% more per month within 6 months on the joe Point-of-Sale!
We never slowed down development on our industry-leading app, which gets better every day at analyzing customer behavior to provide people increasingly personalized messages and incentives to keep local coffee top of mind at the very moment they are most likely to make a purchase.
The job isn’t done yet. Our mission to give independent coffee shops the tools and technology they need to thrive in this “new normal” is really just beginning. At a time when corporate giants like Starbucks are seeing 70% of their sales come by way of digital ordering and drive thru, making it hyper-convenient to discover and support local coffee has never been more important.
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken a look at joe, I invite you to see how we’ve changed to keep pace with the new realities for coffee shop owners. If you have questions about what’s to come, I’d love to connect with you personally to share what’s ahead. Feel free to grab time on my calendar to chat or reply to this email with some times that work for you.
The Martin Brothers (Nick & Brenden)
Co-Founders of joe