Exploring the popularity of takeaway coffee delivery apps

JP Blignaut
March 17, 2023

Coffee culture, combined with the expanding digital economy, has enabled both brands and customers to leverage automated systems.

These systems help improve customer experience and provide convenient access to a wide variety of products and services. This was particularly useful during the social restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For instance, in 2020, online retail sales alone surged to over $26.7 trillion. Additionally, the sales of takeaway coffee ordered through a mobile delivery app grew by 46%.

With pandemic concerns now in the rearview, coffee businesses are able to use these automated systems as an opportunity to tap into a new marketplace of consumers.

To learn more about how takeaway coffee delivery apps can increase sales, I spoke with Ashleigh Nestadt, the co-founder of Coffee Monster, a South African-based pick-up platform for the food and beverage industry.

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Takeaway coffee orders through an app

While the popularity of ordering coffee through online and mobile platforms is currently high, demand has fluctuated over the years.

According to a survey, only 24% of respondents claimed to have ordered coffee through an app – a decline from the 27% recorded in 2019.

However, this decline may be attributed to the pandemic having forced the majority of popular coffee shops and cafés to close temporarily.

That said, it seems convenience remains a stronghold for both consumers and businesses. Mobile coffee ordering platforms, such as Coffee Monster, provide real-time access to available offerings while enabling customers to browse through menus, order and pay ahead of time, collect loyalty points, and rate their experience.

“We’ve tailored the app to local coffee trends,” explains Ashleigh, who came up with the idea while studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. “Coffee Monster is about convenience and efficiency, and those are priorities in the takeaway coffee sector.”

The app was developed to address pain points Ashleigh faced as a coffee consumer. “I struggled to find parking in order to pick up coffee from my favourite coffee shops on my way to campus in Cape Town.”

“This meant that getting my coffee was completely dependent on the availability of parking, which is relatively limited around many coffee shops and cafes in the area,” Ashleigh adds. “When I came to Johannesburg, I would often text a cafe and they would bring my coffee to my car.”

This sparked the idea for Coffee Monster. The app uses location services to notify baristas when to have a customer’s beverage ready so they can pick it up – or have it delivered to their car or office. 

“Coffee Monster plays on the trend of bringing coffee to your car and delivering within local precincts,” Ashleigh says.

She explains a growing number of customers prefer ordering via an online app, but may resent having to download an app for each store they visit.

Platforms such as Coffee Monster allow them to browse several coffee options while using one app to order and pay.

While coffee order apps are still a maturing market, they provide all parties involved with convenient, on-demand access to desirable products.

An image of a smartsphone screen displaying several takeaway coffee delivery apps, such as Starbucks, Luckin Coffee and Dunkin in an article on exploring the popularity of takeaway coffee delivery apps

How coffee shops can benefit from takeaway coffee apps

The majority of mobile apps look at improving the customer experience.

However, the other side of the coin presents several benefits for the businesses and organisations that use this technology.

Instead of customers browsing menus and promotions via social media or search engines, mobile takeaway coffee apps provide real-time access to updated menus and prices.

A 2019 survey found 70% of consumers say the speed at which a website page loads impacts their willingness to buy from a particular retailer.

Within the scope of takeaway order apps, these platforms provide seamless, and often faster access, from opening the app to finalising the order at checkout.

Ashleigh explains takeaway coffee apps can help improve in-store efficiency. “Baristas are able to manage their time and inventory better when orders are received ahead of time.”

Some coffee-ordering platforms allow brands to showcase other consumable options, such as food, merchandise, and bags of roast coffee. This is a highly effective way to increase sales and customer engagement.

Takeaway apps also provide seamless transactions that can enhance the customer experience and minimise the time needed to confirm orders.

Mobile coffee orders can also help reduce operational costs for cafes. These include logistic and transportation costs, as well as measuring stock and inventory levels.

More importantly, online ordering platforms may reduce wait time for in-store clients, as a portion of customers can order online and collect at the store without having to wait in queues.

In turn, this helps to alleviate pressure on staff during peak rush hours. Instead, staff members will be able to deliver orders more efficiently and reduce queues.

An image of a barista packing a takeaway coffee cup into a paper carrier bag as a takeaway order placed through a takeaway coffee ordering app  in an article on exploring the popularity of takeaway coffee delivery apps

What should coffee shops consider before joining a takeaway coffee delivery platform?

Whether going at it alone or investing in a third-party app, it is essential for brands to do their research, as there are several factors to consider.

Partnering with an already established app can be highly beneficial, as the majority of the work is already done.

“Our clients enjoy partnering with Coffee Monster because they don’t have to deal with the technological side of owning and operating an app,” Ashleigh explains.

“They really enjoy the ease of use. We get them up and running within a day of signing up, provide them with marketing materials, and make the entire process very simple from the start,” she adds.

Regardless, brands will need to ensure their takeaway coffee offerings are packaged properly.

For instance, takeaway coffee cups will need to be durable enough to withstand elements that are outside of the brands’ control, such as transit and delivery.

Coffee cups will need to have insulated lids that can help keep beverages warm and prevent spills.  

Additionally, food offerings will need to be transported in sealed, hygienic packaging that is cost-effective and functional for staff members, delivery drivers, and customers. 

Aside from standard packaging such as cups, lids, and takeaway boxes, coffee shops will need to invest in additional items, including cup trays, disposable utensils, serviettes, and carrier bags.

These are essential for transporting products but often come at an additional cost, which will need to be calculated into item prices.

Investing in sustainable packaging materials made from renewable resources is a cost-effective and in-demand alternative to traditional plastics.

Sustainable packaging can help minimise a brand’s carbon footprint and help them appeal to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers.

MTPak Coffee can provide you with sustainable, custom-printed coffee packaging, takeaway coffee cups, cup sleeves, and takeaway packaging made from sustainable materials, such as kraft paper, or PET with a PLA lining.

In addition to being 100% compostable, our cups are strong, waterproof, and lightweight. Our design team is also able to work with you to custom print your takeaway coffee packaging to your specifications.

At MTPak Coffee, we use innovative and eco-friendly digital printing technology with sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are highly resistant to abrasion, heat, and water.

Our range of cups is available in different sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz. Each one is available to order as either single or double wall, while customisable sleeves are available for all three sizes.

We also offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options. This means you can order as few as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information on how to customise sustainable takeaway coffee packaging, contact our team.

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