Move over Starbucks. CUPS is a worthy rival in New York City! The year-old start-up wants to meet the needs of coffee lovers and independent coffee shops with a pre-paid subscription, ranging from $11 to $120 per month. There are now 170 independent coffee shops in New York City participating in the CUPS program, reports TechCrunch.
Here’s how it works. Coffee and tea lovers download the CUPS app from the App Store or Google Play. After downloading the app, users sign in with their Facebook or Google accounts to get a free cup of coffee. When they are ready to subscribe, they choose the price and plan that best meets their needs (see graphic below for plan details). Then when they visit a participating coffee shop, they pull up the CUPS app, and the cashier punches in a code on the app. Easy peasy.The benefit to coffee lovers is they can get unlimited coffee and save up to 40% on coffee by paying in advance, they don’t have to carry cash to the coffee shop, and they get the opportunity to discover new coffee shops while supporting locally owned businesses.”People love the notion of unlimited coffee and empowering independent coffee shops,” said Gilad Rotem, one of the app’s co-founders, in a New York Times article.According to TechCrunch, the goal is to allow the independent coffee shops to retain their personality but provide them with backend support that is typically only available to stores that are part of a larger chain (e.g., Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons, etc.).”There are so many things we can offer independent coffee shops or even independent businesses by simply uniting them,” said Rotem.
Insider Take:What can we say? We LOVE this concept, and not just because we are addicted to caffeine! We love the innovation and ingenuity of bringing smaller businesses together using a subscription business model. It is similar to ClassPass which we wrote about in June. One company creates the overarching concept of bringing new customers to existing, locally-owned businesses, while sharing the revenue.In addition to the concept itself, CUPS is big on personality. Check out their Room for Milk blog to see what we mean. These people really love coffee and the whole vibe that goes along with it! CUPS is also big on customer service. They offer a free cup of coffee at any location, so potential subscribers get the chance to try before they buy. They also have social media accounts to interact with fans and customers and an online chat feature on their website to answer questions during business hours.If only they would expand beyond New York City…
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