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Breakfast with Tiffany: Adam Theobald from Beat the Q

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Smarter’s News and Digital Editor Tiffany Loh sits down with Adam Theobald, co-founder and CEO of Beat the Q, and grills him for innovative strategies to entice customers to purchase more than their standard morning pick-me-up.

Launched in 2011, Adam Theobald’s app for time-poor cafe-goers has now generated more than a million orders. The mobile and web-based order and pay ahead tool, Beat the Q, has sold over 250,000 litres of coffee and estimates to have saved customers 42-working years in waiting time.

Smarter Business Ideas asks Adam to tell us what you need to get right to beat the competition:

Breakfast with Tiffany: Beat the Q

Tiffany Loh: Hey Adam, thanks for having breakfast with me. 

Adam Theobald: Fantastic, thanks for having me.
 
Tiffany: How did you initially finance Beat the Q?

Adam: After being at a Jack Johnson concert, we waited for 45 minutes [in a food queue] and decided we had to build an app to solve this long wait and pain point for both the retailer and consumer.

Tiffany: That’s really cool, you obviously have very nice family and friends. So you’ve seen phenomenal growth, can you tell me a bit about that? 

Adam: We’ve been doing this now for nearly three years. We did the numbers the other day and if you were to stack the coffee cups back-to-back, since the start of Beat the Q, you’d get the international space station three times over, so that was really exciting for us. 

Tiffany: How many coffee orders is that?

Adam: We’re fast approaching a million orders, which is something that we’re so excited about. 

Tiffany: So what do you think are the big issues affecting the hospitality industry and particularly cafe owners?

Adam: Something we’re consistently hearing from our cafes is that there’s a huge competitiveness in the cafe sector right now. A couple of years ago there might have been about seven or eight thousand cafes, we’re seeing well over ten thousands cafes today.

Our friends and family were hugely supportive of the Beat the Q idea and saw a real need in the marketplace, and they helped us with the initial investment round.

- Adam Theobald, Beat The Q

Tiffany: So what’s been the most amazing customer experience you’ve seen so far?

Adam: My very first Beat the Q cafe is in Balmain, The Little Marionette and people there actually order on their phone and have it delivered across to them in the park. 

Tiffany: What are the key human challenges facing the hospitality industry?

Adam: A big one is finding and retaining high quality staff that is customer focused; huge challenge, and one area that is a big focus for successful cafes.

Tiffany: And what’s the solution to that?

Adam: Some of the options include flexible working arrangements, having relationships with universities nearby; these will help get and keep your high quality staff, and introduce new people.

Tiffany: What other technologies are being used to help improve cafe efficiency?

Adam: Where in yesteryear a lot of the cafes operated on a cash tool, today they’re operating on brand new point of sale systems that are delivered by an iPad or other ways.

Tiffany: Do you think those trends will continue over the next few years?

Adam: In a venue that offers all other payment methods; cash, credit card, Eftpos, and tap and go, we see that we have a very high percentage take up in those cafes because it’s not just a payment benefit, it’s ordering ahead – time is valuable. 

Tiffany: Thanks for coming along Adam.

Adam: Thanks for having me, it’s been a lot of fun.

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