Learning all about the creative ways our customers use print to help their business flourish is one of our favourite things to do! To get an even better idea of the innovative ways you use your print, we went to visit Foundry Coffee Roasters founders, Bidisha and Lee.
During our visit, we discovered Bidisha and Lee’s unique take on a specialty coffee shop (with an Indian twist), why print’s made such a big difference to their business and their top tips for making customers feel special.
- Tell us a little about your business – what makes it unique?
Lee and I started the business 6 years ago as we’ve always had a passion for coffee. I believe it was when we first went to San Francisco – about 20 years ago – it made us think, ‘there are so many nice places abroad where they do specialty coffee’. And also, nice quality things where there they use lots of different tastes and take them to another level.
At the time, we both worked for the NHS within mental health and so we’ve always wanted to help people – now, we do it by producing high quality, great tasting coffee for people to enjoy.
I brought in the Indian influenced food element as well to show people that Indian food isn’t just a Vindaloo. There are lots of different types of food – authentic Indian food with spices that you wouldn’t normally be able to buy here in the UK.
We started out selling coffee online, with a lot of people buying from the UK and different places in Europe too. We opened the café about a year and a half ago, so this was really showcasing the coffee that we already had an online following for.
The business has grown and grown, and we’re really building up the coffee shop now – with the help of the lovely print from instantprint. Our coffee isn’t instant; it takes time to make. Therefore, having print always helps show customers something visual, and something to look at whilst they’re waiting for their order!
- How much of an uplift do you feel you get from roasting the coffee beans yourself?
It’s really satisfying and fulfilling. Lee loves roasting coffee beans in the roaster, but it’s really hard work. We’ve had to work ridiculous hours constantly – so we’ve not really had much of a social life. But it’s worth it, you know. It feels different to working for someone because it’s your own business – it’s your baby; you do as much as you can for it.
- What is the process of roasting coffee?
Lee gets the raw green coffee beans from a coffee importer and it arrives in massive sacks from all over the world. We initially bought a small batch roasting machine from Germany and we roast the beans in our roasters in Nether Edge in Sheffield. Each roast takes about ten minutes.
It’s actually quite a scientific process: you have to tweak each batch because each kind of bean needs a different method to be perfect. We use computers to monitor and track the process of each roast which helps us to produce consistently excellent coffee – and I think Lee’s taste buds have sharpened as well! There are loads of elements you can vary that affect the taste such as the type of water – we use filtered Yorkshire water.
- What print products do you use and how do you use them?
We use banners, leaflets, business cards and lots of other print. At the minute, we’ve found that the banner has been great. We use this at local markets, and festivals to help sell our beans and coffee drinks. It’s got our most valuable information on like our logo and what we actually sell to ensure it’s bold and stands out.
- What made you choose these print products
We were attracted to the quality and particularly loved the velvet lamination on the flyers, cards and leaflets – they give a really premium feel without adding much to the cost. The double-sided A6 flyers are a great size. People enjoy reading them while they’re waiting for their take-out coffee and they’ll often take one away with them.
- What results have you seen from your print? Have there been any benefits for your business as a direct result?
Of course it’s always difficult to accurately measure the impact of printed materials without using unique discount codes and the like but we are confident that our customers find the information cards useful.
It’s all well and good having information available online but sometimes people visiting a coffee shop want a break from staring at their computer or their mobile phone. We’ve seen that people waiting enjoy having something, like a flyer, to read.
- How do you make your customers feel special?
It’s a lot to do with communication. In the café you have to make it feel warm, and welcoming – we’re really lucky with our staff who are all fantastic. It’s important to just be nice. People can learn skills and get trained up, but just being a nice person with the right attitude makes a huge difference.
We also get a lot of students and office workers as customers, and they can be quite stressed out with their work. We recently promoted to students via leaflets that were handed out by one of our members of staff who was also a student at the time. We’ve made it a really relaxing area and have free Wi-Fi and charging points so students can decide to work outside of the campus.
Lee’s very good with getting in touch with people. Whether that’s just updating them on our latest products or answering any questions, he makes sure he’s very responsive and helpful.
- If you could give any business starting out a top tip, what would it be?
Be organised. Plan way ahead; plan everything! You have to make sure you know as much as you can. There’s a lot to deal with and lots of unexpected things come up. I find my phone really valuable for planning; we use apps for reminders to ensure we know what we’re doing each day.
- What marketing do you do as a business?
Facebook has been really good, and we also advertised in a local newspaper when we first opened the café.
We also trialed leafleting to drum up local support from offices in the area, which was quite a nice opportunity to go out and talk to people and also leave behind something tangible. Leaflets are great because, even if the people you’ve handed them out to aren’t interested, they can decide to pass it on to someone else who might be.
- How did you find the whole instantprint experience?
instantprint is fantastic – really quick and easy service and great quality. Especially the business cards, which feel so nice. And because we’re a business that focuses on quality with high-end coffee, we want to show our customers that through the print that we use.
Your time is so valuable as a small business. That’s why we love that, when making your own design, instantprint’s platform is easy to use, easy to operate and flexible – it really helps!