At the end of February, before pandemic hits Jakarta — when we all thought that everything was just fine — a coffee chain contacted me. They’re the newly anticipated brand in the rise of tech-enabled coffee chains in Indonesia, following the success of China’s Luckin Coffee. They told me they were going to build an app and looking for a freelance UI/UX designer to help them.
I met with the head of engineering and their founder the next day (yes, they said they’re in a hurry). We talked about things like my design process, their business, and the market. I’ve been reading tech startups news for a decade and their business group is one of the most interesting to follow. At the end of the meeting, they asked me to throw a few ideas that will differentiate them from the others. They told me to send it with a quotation the day after (they really were in a hurry, I guess).
Long story short, we didn’t have a deal. Their app was still not available yet when this was published and I don’t know why. But one of the ideas that I came up with back then still sticks in my head because I really love it. It’s what I think has been missing from current tech-enabled coffee chains’ ordering process and how I try to bring it back.
If you’re not familiar with ordering a drink from a tech-enabled coffee chain, let me walk you through. These beverage startups enable you to make an online delivery or grab-and-go order from their own app. The latter is really convenient for people who is too busy or avoiding queue. Customers can select a nearby store from the app, place their order, choose ‘self pick-up’, and pay using preferred method. The app will tell you when your drink is ready, then you can come to the store, get your QR scanned, and pick up your drink. Really that easy.
When an online order is placed, system at the store automatically prints a label to indicate the order number and customization of the drink. Here is a photo that I could find on the internet about the label (credits to the owner).
Using printed label isn’t something new, it’s already common even before these startups arrived. However, their biggest coffee chain competitor, Starbucks prefers not to. Of course Starbucks can do it with all of their resources (they actually do on small number of stores), but why do they keep writing their paper cup using marker?