In Focus
MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Australia

Here's how Mug Life Cafe is bringing back the art of exceptional customer service through digital initiatives

QSR Media reached out to Kristy Bannister, director of Mug Life Cafe, to discuss the brand’s Prepaid Coffee Membership program, as well as its local collaboration initiatives.

With two stores so far, Mug Life was the first specialty beverage café in Sydney to offer specialty coffee delivered through UberEATS. It is outgrowing its sites and will be expanding.

QSR Media: Tell us about Mug Life Cafe. What makes the brand unique?

Mug Life is a specialty beverage café. We, of course, specialize in mastering the perfect cup of coffee, but we also partner and collaborate with local and small business to offer a range of unique beverages. We are the home of Dr. Dough Donuts which is one of the fastest growing donut brands in Sydney.
The first Mug Life opened in November 2016 and soon after the Potts Point site opened in January 2017 with plans for expansion this year. Mug Life also has a huge presence with delivery across Sydney. Mug Life was the first in Sydney to offer specialty coffee delivered through our delivery partners UberEATS.

QSR Media: What prompted the decision to launch the Prepaid Coffee Membership?

Prepaid coffee membership was a mechanism to give back to our local and loyal customers. We want to be on the forefront of providing great value to our customers. Not just through price, but with experience and convenience. How great do you feel when you walk into your local cafe or local bar and the staff automatically know you, they know your order and prepare it immediately when they see you, but even better you don’t need to pay each time. Just walk in, get a great coffee fast, and you are on your way.

QSR Media: Can you tell us how the Prepaid Coffee Membership works?

Our offer is for customers to prepay their coffee intake for six months or for one year. Customers make one upfront payment and then can redeem up to three coffees of their choice per day, every day. The savings for the customer are massive. Our customers love this offer, the response from locals has been overwhelming, all of the memberships were sold within two weeks.

When a customer takes up a membership we give them a unique custom Mug Life lapel pin that they can stick onto their phone or wallet to identify that they have a prepaid coffee membership. The membership is valid across any Mug Life site.

QSR Media: What opportunities do you see with this initiative? How does it help the business?

This has helped our business because it further enhances the relationships that we already have with our customers, our customers know that we are serious about looking after them and providing great value. It speeds up service and operational efficiency without the need for ordering or payment. The initial payment for the membership allows us to reinvest cash back into the business. We are continuously evolving our cafes towards what our customers tell us they want.

QSR Media: What can you say about the present coffee industry and its consumers?

Consumers want to be well looked after and they want value. Exceptional coffee and food offerings are simply the minimum consumer expectation and they should be able to get that anywhere. Customers are seeking ‘above and beyond’, through experience and trying something new, they want to feel good and proud about the brands that they associate with.

We strongly believe in the lost art of exceptional customer service and customer convenience. Customers just aren’t putting up with bad service and inconveniences such as cash only, no split bills, minimum card payments, surcharges etc, anymore. We feel strongly about moving with the pace of the customer and operating on their terms which is why we also offer the convenience of delivery. It is not uncommon for a customer to order just one coffee at a time on delivery.

Consumers are looking for value to drive their dollar further. Sydney is an amazing city to live in, but the cost of living is rising drastically faster than incomes are rising, particularly in the inner city, so we will continue to offer value. We are so thankful for each and every customer that walks through our doors which is why we aim to be innovative with our offerings and ways to keep our customers coming back.

QSR Media: Any big plans for the year?

Mug Life is outgrowing its sites and will be expanding. We will be announcing some key collaborations this year. We have just launched our latest collaboration with Nahji Chu; creator and former owner of Miss Chu. We proudly sell her new brand; Lady Chu, exclusively through our cafes. Customers can also expect to see a lot of new donut flavours and new products from sister brand Dr. Dough.

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