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Suspended coffee - Pay it forward at a cafe level

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  • Suspended coffee - Pay it forward at a cafe level

    Article in The Age today (I'm sure it's on all the fairfax sites).
    The idea is essentially to pre-pay a coffee for someone who cannot perhaps afford it themselves at participating cafes.
    These cafes will then dispense any 'suspended coffees' to people who come in and ask.
    Not sure about the finer details of eligibility to redeem, but I still like the idea.

    This has been discussed here before, but I thought it was worth mentioning again as it seems there might be a bit of groundswell behind this one.

    Have a coffee and buy one for the needy

    Brett.

  • #2
    Oh dear, the cynic in me sees this as another attempt by cafe owners to boost sales, no altruistic motives here, the cafe's involved are taking money for services/products not yet provided, good idea.
    Retailers are always coming up with idea's to winkle an extra dollar out of the customers pocket, at least this one is original, and, of course it plays the emotional trump card (help someone less fortunate than yourself)

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    • #3
      Customer - Spend a few bucks to feel better about yourself? Not a new concept and if people want to do that I'm not gonna argue.
      Cafe - Increase sales and get people to pay money in advance for a product that may or may not be claimed (however unlikely it is that supply>demand for free coffee)? If people will swallow that, I'm not gonna argue.

      I would make the point that in a country with an attitude of middle-class welfare you're unlikely to end up helping the needy.

      Whether or not coffee is the best use of funds directed at the needy is another argument, but I wonder if it wouldn't be more effective to just have a fundraising box that goes towards a coffee-machine and coffee at the local drop-in centre.

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      • #4
        Well, it's hardly original. As the article states, it is based on an idea that started in Naples 10 years ago.

        I fully understand that people may be cynical about the motives, the execution, the logistics etc. , but how about we actually try something like this before we condemn it?

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        • #5
          The concept of Caffè sospeso is not a new idea and appears to have originated in Naples..

          If it means that someone who can't afford one receives one, it's a good thing for both cafe owner and the purchaser.

          Much too much I'm alright bugger you Jack these days....

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          • #6
            Originally posted by fatboy_1999 View Post
            I fully understand that people may be cynical about the motives, the execution, the logistics etc. , but how about we actually try something like this before we condemn it?
            Would you say the same thing about an open-lid donation jar into which people could give and out of which people could take? Potential flaws don't need to be demonstrated before they're noted.

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            • #7
              I don't know whether it is the most effective way to help people, but I sure as hell won't criticise anyone who is actually having a go.....we do what we can I guess.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dragunov21 View Post
                Would you say the same thing about an open-lid donation jar into which people could give and out of which people could take? Potential flaws don't need to be demonstrated before they're noted.
                I'm not saying there are not potential flaws, I'm saying that if you go in thinking it will fail, then it WILL fail.

                The concept of an open-lid donation jar does exist to a small extent in the USA. They call it a 'Leave a penny, need a penny'.
                The idea is that when you need a couple of cents to stop you getting a pocket full of change, you can grab some and if you have a few you don't need, then leave them behind.
                I know this suggestion is larger scale, but I cannot see why, as a society, we should not at least try to do something that could just be considered as 'nice'. It's not going to turn people's lives around, but for the cost of one cup of coffee, you might make a miserable day for someone a bit more bearable.

                I'm at least willing to give it a go if I am in a participating cafe. If I lose ~$4 to someone who is 'not worthy', then so be it.

                Brett.

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                • #9
                  Cynical about it or not to me isn't the issue here....

                  If the Cafe does boost sales due to adopting this idea so be it.. Boosted sales and profit aside its doing something for possibly someone who maybe less fortunate than many in this world.. I have heard this before and i still think its a great idea. Thanks for posting it

                  Do we question people who market their business by offering a percentage of profits to much needed organisations? ?

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                  • #10
                    FWIW, I'm not telling anyone not to do it; it's a personal choice and just because I don't believe it is the best use/administration of charitable funds doesn't mean I expect anyone else to base their decisions on that.

                    Personally I'm more inclined to offer a cup of coffee to someone who looks in rough shape on a cold day, but once again, that's just my choice.

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                    • #11
                      coffee, at least at the prices paid in this country, is a 'luxury' item. i'm not sure that buying luxury items is the best form of charity.

                      you know what I kinda want to do? roast a few kgs of beans, get an ok grinder, and try to upgrade the coffee served at driver reviver rest stops.

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                      • #12
                        Weirdly, my wife and I were at the pub for lunch and she brought this up. She is an author and also works online and it came up in one of her searches.

                        A smart cafe owner would put up a board and mark up suspended coffees versus coffees given. Anybody purchasing would mark up their suspended coffee and those receiving could mark off the one they got. This would add to involvement of the patrons.

                        As for giving coffees to the poor and needy - much better some nice coffee than another fanta mixed with metho...

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                        • #13
                          Suspended coffee - Pay it forward at a cafe level

                          I'd buy into the altruism of the cafe owners a lot more if the suspended coffee was at or close to cost. (Maybe it is?)

                          Why should the cafe owner make her margin on the suspended coffee? I'm not asking them to subsidise it, and I'm happy for them to include wages, rent, etc in the cost, just don't add the $1 or whatever of owner's profit in the price.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jonathon View Post
                            I'd buy into the altruism of the cafe owners a lot more if the suspended coffee was at or close to cost. (Maybe it is?)

                            Why should the cafe owner make her margin on the suspended coffee? I'm not asking them to subsidise it, and I'm happy for them to include wages, rent, etc in the cost, just don't add the $1 or whatever of owner's profit in the price.
                            Very good point Jonathon.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jonathon View Post
                              I'd buy into the altruism of the cafe owners a lot more if the suspended coffee was at or close to cost. (Maybe it is?)

                              Why should the cafe owner make her margin on the suspended coffee? I'm not asking them to subsidise it, and I'm happy for them to include wages, rent, etc in the cost, just don't add the $1 or whatever of owner's profit in the price.
                              I agree with the sentiment however its not as easy as you think it might be as there are roll on effects that will affect the owner beyond the obvious. The first one and to me most important from my perspective would be the impact on their P&L's. Without wanting to start an accounting thread the value in their business is dictated by the profitability as shown on their ledgers. Effectively they would be showing increase Costs of Goods sold without increased (Profit ) revenue decreasing their profit ratio's and hence impact on the value of their business be it for sale or not. The point I raise is that a business and its profits and costs are a balancing act and often not literal - By that I mean the cost of a coffee is split between Costs of goods sold and overheads so to determine the actual coffee cost inst precise to the cup but to an average retrospectively.

                              Add to this cost the potential impact on paying customers such as that while serving a discounted coffee the perceived service level from waiting longer and the impact on their future patronage may be affected. There are a lot of immeasurable components and as such the philosophical arguments go round and round.

                              All I am saying is that a person in business donates to charities like the rest of us but their business is their livelihoods. The easiest thing is for us to buy a coffee and give it to someone or make every coffee served equal price. Oh and just to add a little credit back to the cafe's, if they were to implement such a system they would be donating extra time in managing the system.

                              Just my Two Cents

                              Cheers Yabba

                              Now back to researching roasting, my next (popper) adventure..
                              Last edited by yabba; 8 April 2013, 07:50 PM.

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