Cape Town entrepreneur builds coffee delivery app for SMEs

The Barista Go app makes it easier for customers to order cofee from their favorite coffee shop. Picture: Pexels/Chevanon Photography

The Barista Go app makes it easier for customers to order cofee from their favorite coffee shop. Picture: Pexels/Chevanon Photography

Published Mar 8, 2023


Johannesburg – Here’s a scenario many coffee lovers are familiar with: You are running late, but you need your daily caffeine fix, so you pop into the coffee shop on the way to work, and as fate would have it, the queue snakes around the store. Now you are one person from the counter and the person in front of you takes forever ordering a drink that sounds like some magical caffeine elixir.

Tedious isn’t it? This is the problem Sive Mwanda and his team at Abantu Digital are trying to solve with their Barista Go app.

“All the office parks I have worked in, in most cases, have a coffee shop close by, and the coffee shops didn’t have a convenient way for customers to place a coffee order, specifically at peak times, like in the morning and at lunchtime.

“For many coffee shops, order-taking is the slowest part of the process. If we take the orders and payment on their behalf, they can focus on the stuff they enjoy, making you a great cup of coffee,” said Sive.

Sive Mwanda (31), software engineer and co-founder of Abantu Digital. Picture: Supplied

Sive saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the market by using technology and existing infrastructure to create an app that links coffee stores to customers in their immediate vicinity.

“I realised that everywhere I went, the non-franchise coffee places didn't have one central spot for us coffee lovers to access their coffee offerings.

“Mainstream delivery services are not feasible as an option to deliver coffee because you compromise the integrity of the product. Is it hot? Is it cold? Did it spill? These are all factors to be considered,” said Sive.

“So what we did is build an app that locates where you are and then shows you coffee shops within a 500-meter radius.

“We made it such that the radius is close enough for you to walk to the coffee shop to pick up your coffee but also that in the event that a coffee shop wants to offer a delivery service, there is no need for the motorbike aspect. So one of the waiters or waitresses can just walk across to the building and drop off the coffee at reception or whatever the customer prefers,” he added.

The Barista Go app finds coffee shops close to where you are. Picture: Supplied

Sive highlights the importance of cutting out some of the costs that are involved with delivering food or coffee using traditional food delivery services and apps. He explains that conventional delivery services take a large percentage of every sale, which leads to sellers marking up their prices significantly.

“So, it was important to be very competitive when it came to the fee structure and cutting out the driver aspect played a big role in that. We realised that we are dealing with fine margins when it comes to a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee can range from anything from R25.00 to R45.00, so if a delivery service takes up to 30% of each transaction, how much are you really making?” he said.

The Barista Go app is built to add value to both coffee drinkers and coffee shop businesses.

“So, the beauty of this is that it allows you to come onto the app as a buyer, which is the customer, but you can also, using the same app, be a seller.

“So being a seller means that you’ve gone onto the app and registered your coffee shop and loaded details about your store and your offering. What that does is to give you the ability to manage your store.

“What managing your store means is that, for example, you could add a cappuccino and configure it such that an individual can select their preferences. Whether it be extra sugar, milk and whatever other intricacies might be involved in achieving the desired beverage,” he said.

Sive has big dreams for the growth of Barista Go and hopes to see it grow exponentially in the future.

“The idea is to have Barista Go deployed at all office parks and shared workspaces, coffee shops and malls. It would be great if we could have it deployed to about 50 coffee shops by June. This is why we have incentivised the first 20 to have no fees charged and the subsequent 30 to get a free three-month trial,” said Sive.

The app is available on Play Store and on the iOS App Store.

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