If you want to add convenient payment and frequency rewards to your restaurant business, look no further than your phone – there’s an app for that! In September 2014, program restaurant Kahwa Coffee launched their own app that lets customers earn credits and pay through their phones, and the app has already proven to be a successful business tool that is helping Kahwa grow.
Husband-and-wife team Raphael and Sarah Perrier opened Kahwa Coffee in St. Petersburg in 2005 as a wholesale business and moved into retail with the first store in St. Petersburg in 2008. Since then, Kahwa Coffee has expanded to six Tampa Bay area locations and is looking to open two or three more stores in the area over the next year.
With this rapid growth, the Perriers knew Kahwa Coffee needed to find a way to compete with the coffee shop Goliaths. “Our main competition is Starbucks,” said Raphael, “and the only way to compete with them is to create an app for payment.”
The convenience factor is one of the biggest reasons apps bring success in the restaurant industry, especially for drive-thru business. “It’s easier to scan your phone, especially for coffee shops like we are,” said Raphael. There is also a benefit of increased customer spend. “People spend more on their phone than from their wallet,” Raphael explained. “You have that impulse to buy on your phone, and that’s known in the industry.”
Taking the lead on app development, Sarah worked from scratch with Level Up on how to design the app. Intensive planning and development was required, and the whole process took about three and a half months. “Even though you’re working with corporations that know what they’re doing, it takes a lot of time, especially when payment is involved,” Raphael explained.
As a partner in the development process, Level Up helped with the user sign up and initial rewards processes, as users receive a $3 credit to use through the app when they download the app and register.
In addition to convenient mobile payment, the app includes a credit/reward feature, which tracks how much a user has spent on the app and how much they’ve earned in credits to use at the store. Kahwa’s app users earn $3 in credit for every $50 spent through the app. Users also earn a $3 credit when someone they referred also registers on the app.
As of the end of November 2014, there are over 1,700 users on the Kahwa Coffee app and numerous 5-star ratings on iTunes and Google Play. Since launching the app, Kahwa Coffee has seen a 16% increase in overall sales. Though this could be attributed to the growth of the business in addition to the app, it’s a significant amount in this short timeframe.
Already seeing measured success, Raphael and Sarah are looking towards app developments to add even more convenience. This includes pre-ordering, which would allow users to place an order in advance. When their phone comes within 400 feet of the store, a signal sends to that location to start processing the order. Customers only need to pick up the order, since they’ve already paid on their phone. “Convenience is key and we work very hard in this country every day,” said Raphael. “If you have kids, you have work, and you can shave minutes off your day with something like this, you’re going to do it.”