Bad Ass Coffee is miles from a sterile, coffee-as-fuel type of concept. The name alone should illustrate that. But if doesn’t, the “aloha” greeting you get walking in and the bright vibe will.
“When you’ve got an experiential brand, like Bad Ass Coffee, where you’re not just walking into another dark industrial coffee shop, you’ve got all sorts of reminders and influence of the Hawaiian culture, and colors and sounds where you feel welcomed,” Snyder says. “That’s another part of it, too, I think. I think in our reaction to solve the issues of COVID, I think we also missed an opportunity for that human exchange.”
To put it plainly, Bad Ass Coffee never thought the café was done and buried. But there’s no lone path left to take, either.
When the company acquired Bad Ass Coffee a year before the crisis hit, there were a lot of growth areas to tackle that would ultimately support today’s transformation. There was no mobile app. Guests couldn’t order ahead. They were very few drive-thrus. That’s all changed. The company is now working on a national third-party delivery program. This past year saw the implementation of Bad Ass Coffee’s first loyalty program and online/mobile ordering system. It rolled a fresh, comprehensive online learning platform for franchisees to streamline communications and training. The company instituted a single POS across the system.
And, uniquely, Snyder and his team were able to be thoughtful about each step and mold systems to where the brand wants to go. It could plan and execute instead of work in reverse.
Most of the Bad Ass Coffee stores being built today boast drive-thrus. “Those are important. Those are important for throughput. Those are important for volume. But I think it comes down to do people have a choice,” Snyder says. “If you’re back to the old grind and your stop to the coffee shop on the way to work is part of your routine, by golly, we’re going to have a drive-thru to make that available to you. If you order ahead and we’ve got the ability to bring it out to your car, you’ve got the ability to run in and run out real quick, that’s fine, too. We’re going to make that available to you.”
Additionally, no matter which avenue guests tap, they’re “still going to get a big aloha when they pick up their drink,” he adds.
That latter point isn’t one to gloss over, Snyder continues. It’s a gap he’s seen form in some concepts as they shifted focus to match digital growth. Along the way, they might have mistaken the demand for convenience as a desire to be treated without hospitality.
An example for Bad Ass Coffee was the rising number of consumers who order ahead but still decide to sit in the café. They want to skirt the line, but not necessarily avoid people altogether. Whether it’s for pickup or at the drive-thru, Snyder says, Bad Ass Coffee trains on making sure its experience translates through the omnichannel. Every guest is going to get the “aloha” greeting and smile that kickstarts their day off right.
In late summer 2022, the brand explored a double drive-thru build that’s become the inspiration for two new prototypes. One is a freestanding drive-thru with a full café that spans roughly 1,650–1,800 square feet. The second is a double-drive thru that’s 500–740 square feet with a pickup window and no interior seating.
It brought Bad Ass Coffee’s suite to five main options for franchisees to choose from: traditional inline, endcap drive-thru, freestanding single or double drive-thru with no indoor seating, freestanding drive-thru with full café, and nontraditional kiosk (grocery, shopping malls, airports, transportation centers, etc.)