Will & Co on how it collaborates with customers to find their creative rhythm

Will & Co

Will & Co Director Josh Passaro shares how the Bondi roaster collaborates with its customers to find their creative rhythm.

The only constant in the coffee world is change, and Will & Co Director Josh Passaro believes innovation is now the driving force of the industry.

“We’ve seen a surge of creativity recently. It’s been great to see cafés continue to elevate the coffee on offer, going beyond the standard espresso menu,” he says.

One innovation that has caught Josh’s attention is the pivot towards extended opening hours, with cafés keeping their doors open longer to serve cocktails, wine, and beer alongside caffeinated drinks.

“We’re seeing more crossover between coffee and alcohol, with a lot of cafés already doing great work in this space. For example, our partner Sammy Jnr in Sydney is blending the two worlds together,” he says. “It’s a trend we believe will continue well into the future. We’re collaborating with local brewery Curly Lewis to launch a coffee stout beer and Naked Bondi to create a coffee kombucha.”

Josh adds that café equipment is a big part of the innovation movement, with technology continuing to advance.

“Automation is constantly evolving, while equipment like batch taps are becoming more common in cafés,” he says. “Our clients have gravitated towards these custom taps as they help staff serve customers quickly and efficiently. Plus, the sheer sight of them invites customers to ask questions about ‘what’s on tap’, ultimately making alternative coffee beverages more approachable.”

For Will & Co, creative assistance is a unique service offering for its café partners, which Josh says helps build long- term relationships.

“There are so many factors that go into a positive coffee experience,” he says. “Customers enjoy immersing themselves in all elements of a multisensory café, with the interior and design playing a big part in this.

“We aim to connect café partners with local artists to help with everything from brand development to general aesthetics and more. There could be opportunities for internal or external murals, or something as simple as handmade ceramics from local artisans.”

To further grab the attention of visitors, Will & Co offers customised espresso machines to make a bold welcoming statement on the bar.

“We aim for the equipment to fit the venue’s aesthetics through custom art, painting, and unique panel designs,” says Josh.

While the company celebrates collaboration, the team believe a café owner should lead the creative exploration while working alongside an artist to realise their vision.

“When working with a new venue, we want to learn more about them to see how we can best support their goals,” says Josh. This includes concerns beyond coffee, such as navigating the early days of a new business.

“One of the questions we get asked frequently is how to launch new venue properly and then future-proof it for success” says Josh. “We’re constantly looking for new ways to help our café partners grow.”

This includes crafting marketing campaigns and reconfiguring workflow or equipment, which Josh says is all part of the Will & Co experience.

This hands-on approach extends to helping café partners navigate the industry’s latest trends. Josh believes a café’s core identity should always be discovered and celebrated when making changes.

“Trends come and go. Venues shouldn’t adopt every trend that comes along – it has to be right for them,” he says.

Will & Co’s own creative innovation usually takes place at the tasting bar of its Bondi headquarters. The team are currently experimenting with cold brew tonics, reserve coffees, pour overs, coffee shakes, and on-tap oat-milk cold brew.

“We create all our drink recipes in house at our HQ, and we’re very fortunate to have a great team that’s passionate about the coffee industry,” Josh says. “If we think a new idea would benefit a particular café, we’ll bring it straight to them.”
This level of care is one of the founding principles of the company.

“One way we try and differentiate ourselves is by going beyond simply supplying the beans,” he says. “It has always been a part of who we are — and always will be.”

For more information, visit willandco.com.au

This article appears in the April 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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