Last week, I took part in a one-hour lunchtime creativity workshop. The challenge was to create an innovative solution to three different business problems (seriously, in just an hour!). At first, I was a little intimidated at the rapid pace at which ideas were being fired off, and I didn’t offer much input during the first round of ideas. But by the 2nd round I had found my voice, and by the third and final iteration, I found myself on stage presenting my group’s ideas.
It was such a refreshing (and challenging) way to spend lunch, soI thought I’d share my idea from the first round that I was initially too shy to share.
Problem: How would you differentiate your local (or chain) coffee shop in a sea of competitors?
My Solution: Replace the traditional barista behind the counter with connected machines that can take and execute coffee orders from a smartphone.
Multiple machines would reinvent the typical store layout; instead of one long line at the front of the store that takes every complicated cappuccino, latte, mocha, and half-caf macchiato order, there would be numersou spots around the store where customers could create their perfect order with the help of their smartphone.
Thankfully, the machine to create a connected coffee shop already exists… but hasn’t yet been introduced in the US or used in a coffee shop setting. The Scanomat TopBrewer is a coffee machine that wirelessly connects to a user’s smartphone, allowing them to skip create their own perfectly customized coffee drink. Because users order from a connected app, they can create ‘favorites’ as well as create custom blends- milkier cappuccinos, stronger latte, it’s all possible. The best part? Every drink is made to precision, ready in 15-25 seconds… much faster and better than the average barista.
Watch the machine in action below:
Now imagine the sleek Scanomat TopBrewer at the end of numerous long, communal tables placed throughout the store. The multiple locations would eliminate congestion around the store’s entrance, purposely drawing people into the store and encouraging them to stay and enjoy their coffee after they’ve placed their order.
Customers could easily order and pay with their phones through the coffee shop’s app, eliminating the need for central cash register or even an innovative payment system Square. Think of it like the next generation Starbucks ordering system- payment, ordering, and loyalty card all contained on a smartphone. No extra cards to carry, no lines to stand in, and a perfect cup of coffee (however you take it) every time.
And think of the data! Stores could track and display popular custom drink orders, designate certain tables for different coffee types, or offer customized coupons and discounts to customers based on drink history.
I’m expecting a call from Howard Schultz any day now about my idea 😉
Although just a hypothetical creative exercise, it was great to stretch my mind beyond my typical work duties!