EMMAs

Meet The App That Orders Your Coffee

David Murphy

Urban Coffee Company, an independent coffee shop located in the heart of Birmingham’s business district, has launched the UK’s first iPhone app which allows customers to pre-order their drinks so they are ready when they arrive.

The app will allow customers to spend more time enjoying their coffee and less time queuing for it. Busy professionals from the surrounding Colmore Row area can order a round of coffees for the whole office and have it ready to take away with much less waiting time.

“It’s no secret that making a fantastic cup of coffee takes time – we brew our speciality filter coffees freshly for each cup, which means a short wait is inevitable,” says Urban Coffee Company founder, Simon Jenner. “We found that more and more customers started calling the store to pre-order their drinks – especially for large or complicated orders – so we decided to devise an online ordering facility to speed the process up.

"Our customers are a tech savvy bunch, and from day one we’ve used social media such as Twitter to communicate with them. With that in mind, creating an iPhone app seemed like a logical step to take. We believe this is the first coffee-ordering app in the UK, as apps available from other coffee shops concentrate on explaining menus, translating ‘barrista speak’ and locating stores, rather than simply being able to order a coffee before you get there.

The app was developed by Birmingham-based open source software developer Scott James Remnant, himself a regular Urban Coffee Company customer. He says: “From the start, Urban has been used by people working in the digital and creative industries to meet offline to bounce ideas together – we’re all made to feel part of the family. Because of that collaborative spirit, I volunteered to build the iPhone app free of charge as a way to offer a little something back. It’s great to see customers now embracing it and using it daily to place orders.”

Since the app launched on iTunes three weeks ago, 200 users have downloaded it and over 100 orders have been placed via the app.

Neil Rasga, a regular Urban Coffee customer and local web developer/blogger who has used the app says: “Too many companies develop pointless applications that don’t add anything to the experience of a brand, mainly because there’s a misguided belief that everyone needs to be doing ‘something digital’ these days. It’s pleasing that Urban Coffee seems to have taken a sensible approach – identifying a real issue and implementing a solution which actually offers something useful to its customers.”

Urban Coffee Company is renowned not only for its drinks, but also as a social hub which hosts a diverse range of groups and activities – including a book club, a blogger linkup session, live music, muffin Mondays and even a knitting circle. The second Urban Coffee Company outlets is due to open in December this year, based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.