WENATCHEE — The software bugs are (mostly) worked out, the app is published for both iOS and Android, and Foray Coffee is officially open to the public.
The coffee stand only takes orders and payments through its mobile app — no on-site card payments or cash of any kind accepted. After several months of beta testing, it had a soft public opening about four weeks ago.
After downloading the app and creating an account, users can order from anywhere and their coffee will be ready right when they arrive at the drive-thru, which is on North Wenatchee Avenue near Grocery Outlet.
The app tracks the user’s location and calculates how long their order will take to make. Then, it alerts the barista at the right moment to begin preparing it, said owner Kyle Hendrickson, who also runs Cafe Mela on North Wenatchee Avenue.
“One of the big values is you can just place it and you never think about it again,” he said. “You’re doing whatever you want to do — you’re at home, you’re at the office getting distracted — and you don’t have to worry about when to time it. You just come when you’re ready and we have it ready.”
There hasn’t been a big marketing campaign yet, but the app has had around 1,000 downloads so far. Foray is also offering a recruiting and sign-up bonus for users, which has helped with growth, Hendrickson said.
Drive-thru hours were expanded right after the launch: It’s open weekdays from 6 to 11 a.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to noon.
There’s been a learning curve, but most customers figured out the process quickly, Hendrickson said.
“We have this big Foray tent and we thought we would have to set it up here to tell people ‘Go over there and we’ll help you download it instead of sitting in the lanes,’” he said.
Despite the national concerns with the use of location and data privacy, most customers have been comfortable using an app for coffee orders, Hendrickson said.
“We’re not trying to sell data; we don’t really have any data to sell,” he said. “Just trying to get that coffee ready is hard enough.”
It’s part of changing consumer habits across the economy, Hendrickson said. Most retailers store some kind of personal data, including credit card information. Starbucks also offers mobile orders through an app.
“I haven’t heard a lot of concerns about this, but there are people still concerned about their credit card information being online,” Hendrickson said. “But Amazon seems to do OK not taking cash. And it’s new for people, so the big thing is just communication.”
In addition to streamlining the payment and ordering process, the app allows Foray to see trends in its consumer habits, Hendrickson said.
The time between when a user makes an account and when they first order, for example, is one dimension they’re analyzing.
“Those are some of things where we have no idea; it’s just learning all of it as we go,” he said.
But that data analysis can be both a blessing and curse, Hendrickson said.
“You know how people say ‘Don’t look at your stocks every day because you should invest for the long term,’” he said. “It feels like I’m looking at the stocks every day because we’re like ‘Oh we’re up, now we’re down. Then we’re up and we’re down.’”