Although cafes remains a popular business venture to this day, the number of players in the market are limited due to tight competition. With the exemption of established names in the industry, only few stand out from the crowd.
This led to a ripple effect that sent chills to other would-be coffee entrepreneurs, even those who didn’t exactly have cafes in mind. Some of them shelved their plans for the time being, while others completely scrapped the idea.
But while most entrepreneurs looked away, Lorenzo “Lance” Castillo decided to continue with his own coffee venture, which is now known as Candid Coffee. Armed with a carefully planned out strategy, Lance turned his attention to building his business outside the cafe mold.
Candid Coffee is popularly known as a mobile espresso bar that serves specialty, third wave coffee for a range of events like business conferences and weddings. To different cafes, it is also a supplier that provides 100% premium local, roasted coffee beans on demand.
“I have been in the industry for a relatively long time and I have observed that the coffee market is already saturated, especially in the city. My strategy was not to compete with cafes, but supply them. That’s why my main business is supplying coffee and roasting beans,” Lance says. “I do coffee catering simultaneously, because it is less on overhead and I’m able to branch [out] anywhere. Also, I don’t have to worry about day-to-day selling, because people just book and I serve.”
In terms of branding, Candid Coffee stays true to its name. During events, it gets a lot of attention thanks to its menu, which features hilarious product names and descriptions.
Lance says the witty and relatable wordings were derived from his personality: frank, straightforward, honest and comedic. This made content about his business shareable online, helping generate brand awareness for Candid Coffee on the Internet.
“I kind of intertwined that personality to my brand, because I wanted to bring third wave coffee to a lot more people in a relatable manner. […] I meet people from all walks of life. Some of them are interested in third wave, specialty coffee, but some people don’t and just want to get their cup. [Candid Coffee] can talk to both of those people,” Lance says.
As a sole proprietor, Lance admits that it was difficult generating leads for the first few months of is business, but that didn’t stop him from going for his goal. He researched, planned and strategized ahead of time in order to always be prepared for anything.
“I already anticipated most of the things I encountered in starting my business. It’s like chess; I tried to be five steps ahead and ready for any possibility. Careful planning leads to success. You have to balance your ideals with practicality and sustainability,” Lance says.
Now that Candid Coffee has hurdled some of the most challenging obstacles in its business journey, Lance is turning his attention to improving customer experiences and making operations more efficient. One of the steps he has taken is to employ the use of GCash.
GCash is a secure mobile money service that lets Globe or TM users buy load, purchase items, send and receive money, pay bills, and more using their handsets. It turns mobile devices into virtual wallets, eliminating the need to bring cash while elevating customers’ shopping experiences.
“I was manning the stall myself in one of the events I attended. GCash lessened the burden of having cash transactions. It’s more hygenic too, because I didn’t have to [handle cash as I was preparing drinks]. People were just scanning the QR and [paying]. It was definitely helpful, especially in making everything more efficient for me and convenient for customers,” Lance says.
Since then, Lance always provides GCash as a payment option for his customers wherever Candid Coffee pops up. GCash not only helps him business-wise, it also provides a secure, convenient option for his customers to pay with.
With the right research, plans, and strategy, any business can be a success, even when the odds are not in their favor. Like Candid Coffee, businesses targeting niche markets can definitely flourish, especially with the right tools on hand and the proper mindset.
Learn from Candid Coffee’s success and take the next step to improving your operations and relationship with customers. Discover how GCash can benefit your business by clicking this link.
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