Peter Wolff dives into the future of coffee convenience

Wolff Coffee Roasters

Peter Wolff dives into the future of coffee convenience, emphasising the importance of accessibility in an increasingly fast-paced world, and why we shouldn’t fear technology advances.

Imagine if artificial intelligence could scan motor vehicle number plates as they pulled into a café’s carpark or its proximity, immediately alerting baristas that “Joe” was arriving.

Suppose, based on pre-saved order history, the customer received a prompt text message asking: “would you like the usual”? The barista would begin preparing Joe’s flat white. Then, upon reaching the café’s counter, Joe retrieves his coffee and departs, his payment handled effortlessly via details in an online app. A swift, seamless experience. What if I told you that Wolff Coffee Roasters is already exploring this technology, aiming to bring this vision to life soon? Intriguing, isn’t it? We believe this anticipatory service can simplify the ordering process, accelerating the experience for our customers.

This concept stems directly from our conversations with patrons and their expressed inconveniences.

Our current initiative involves beta testing within our facility’s boundaries. Sure, some pizza chains have ventured into similar territory, and we’ve all seen the success of drive-throughs, pick-up apps, and subscription models – primarily due to their sheer convenience. However, our ambition stretches further, aiming to discover the next level of customer convenience.

This initiative isn’t just about customer service; it’s also a strategic business decision. The number of available parking spaces directly impacts turnover at the counter.

If I can expedite the turnover in the parking area, why wouldn’t I? I’ve witnessed cars approach, see a full parking lot, and simply move on. That’s a business challenge I must address.

Many worry that automation could compromise product quality or diminish valuable barista-customer interactions. My response? Those seeking the traditional café experience will always have it. Our goal is to merely extend our services to the pavement, providing options and not making assumptions about customer preferences.

Consider our regular, Maryanne, a loyal customer of 13 years. I always believed she valued casual banter. Yet, when we introduced the Skip app, allowing her to pre-order and pay, she lauded it our best addition. It was a revelation that she would prioritise convenience over friendly banter.

I envision a future where our point-of- sale system communicates directly with an automatic coffee machine. This would bypass the need for paper dockets, reducing delays and waste. With declining interest in hospitality jobs – a consequence of factors like COVID-19, changing job landscapes, and alternative earning options like Uber – we must consider innovative solutions. We remain committed to delivering a quality product, honouring our supply chain, and ensuring fair practices.

The evolving industry landscape demands adaptability. Café owners often lament about dwindling profits in the current environment. Margins are shrinking. Yet, like the ratchet of the industrial revolution, we must evolve, optimising systems and procedures. This evolution ensures customers receive quality products without increased costs.

So, what’s on the horizon? Drone delivery? It’s closer than we think. Our neighbouring Brisbane suburb, Logan, already employs drones for food and beverage deliveries – albeit due to unique airspace conditions. Regulations remain a hurdle.
Another ambition of ours at Wolff Coffee Roasters, is a daily coffee subscription, akin to a gym membership. Instead of monthly commitments, customers could pay a weekly fee, enabling them to enjoy our coffee as frequently as desired, regardless of location.

Additionally, we aim to cater to the rising population in Australia’s regional areas by installing vending machines stocked with our coffee beans. Our current project includes 10 vending machines equipped with our beans, V60 filter papers, hand grinders, and a refrigerated section for beverages like cold brew coffee, and tea.

Thanks to a collaboration with a regional shopping centre group, these machines will be dispersed through rural towns, our roastery in Hendra, Queensland, and some partner venues. This vending venture will initially run for six months before undergoing a review.

The future, with its technological advancements and evolving consumer needs, awaits.

For Wolff Coffee Roasters, this means forward-thinking and innovative solutions. And we’re already on it.

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This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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