Many African tech startups are solving life and death challenges on the continent, in areas as diverse as health, education and income equality. But sometimes, getting hold of a good cup of coffee can feel just as important. And inevitably, in South Africa, there is an app for that.
Launched in April 2019, Coffee Monster lets users order and pay for coffee and grab-to-go snacks from any one of more than 180 coffee shops listed on its platform. By equipping coffee shops with a mobile ordering solution, the app allows customers to discover new spots, order and pay ahead of time, and collect loyalty points.
“The app is specifically built with a focus on coffee. Our intelligent curbside pickup option is location aware and estimates how long it will take you to reach the coffee shop. We have options for both driving and walking. The barista is alerted when you are a few minutes away to start brewing your coffee at the right time, ensuring it’s the perfect temperature as you arrive,” co-founder Ashleigh Nestadt told Disrupt Africa.
Using Coffee Monster, customers – or “caffiends” – are able to discover new stores nearby or in a particular area, order and pay, select their preferred method of collection, choose a delivery time, collect loyalty points, and rate their experience. Coffee merchants – Monster Spots – are able to provide a convenient, contactless service to customers, expose their brand to the app’s coffee community via a live map and list, and offer a transparent and accessible loyalty programme to customers. They can go live within 24 hours.
Coffee Monster already has more than 20,000 downloads, with Nestadt saying it was filling a big gap.
“Coffee shops are moving toward a mobile and customer-centric experience. However, apps are difficult for merchants to build and maintain, and users don’t want to install an app for every coffee shop they may visit, or shops they may only visit once or twice. Therefore our approach has been to create one large coffee shop community all under the same app,” she said.
The self-funded startup continues to see huge growth in coffee shops joining, particularly since it offered a contactless solution during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Customers are growing steadily too and we continue to receive positive feedback on the service and concept,” Nestadt said.
“We aim to keep growing our footprint of stores and are doing so daily. While we grow our stores, we also aim to grow our user base and have an exciting referral programme for our users that will be launching soon.”
Coffee Monster charges a small transaction fee on each order placed, but there are no fees for signing up.