We recently spent the day with Serena Liu, our franchisee in Eugene, Ore, who has a thriving fan of coffeedrinkers on her daily route. Here’s what her customers had to say:
• “We love them. It’s great. I used to go to Starbucks, and I was like ‘Dang, this is better than Starbucks!”
— Merlene Reynolds, who normally orders a mocha, but opted for the butterscotch latté special.
• As the customer came outside, barista Hannah Ames immediately recognized her familiar face.
Hannah: “Hot chocolate?”
Beth Simerly: “Uh-huh.”
“I’m very predictable,” Simerly said. “I’m already on my second punch card. This is great.” Customers can use a punch card to earn a free espresso drink after 9 purchases — or they can prepay for a different punch card that rewards them with a free drink after 5 purchases. Some customers pay about $40 a month to have their favorite coffee dropped off at their desk at the same time daily, five days a week. Talk about service!
• “Our office has coffee, but I refuse to drink it. I have my standards. … I’ve always enjoyed lattes, but I didn’t drink as much as I do now. I’m amazed they could cram all that professional equipment into a van.”
— John O’Guinn
• “We can’t come out and get coffee because we’re often with patients, but they bring it to us. We used to try going to Starbucks, but we didn’t have time and we really love coffee in the mornings. Cafe2U is wonderful, and everyone here loves the drinks. The chai latté is my favorite. It’s just all good. I love the van and it is a really neat business.”
— Deb Baeur, who works at Endodontic Associates and places orders that Serena and Hannah deliver to the clinic.
• “When the email goes out that they’ve arrived, we’re all like ‘Yeah! They’re here!’ Eyes kind of light up. It’s usually a fun chance to socialize. A lot of people get really excited about their special drink creations. They have good food, too. We don’t have any vending machines inside, so this is where people come.”
— Chad Smith
• “I get specials so I can try things I wouldn’t normally try. Last week it was the weekly special: a raspberry mocha. It has almond and chocolate in it. I don’t really go to coffee places, but I like supporting them and I like that they come to you. I like getting a break. We don’t usually take breaks, so it’s a great opportunity to come out and see what the weather is like. … Everything I’ve tried has been good. I never gotten the fancy coffees before.”
— Susan McClure
• “I have one every single day. I’ve had a doubleshot of espresso, and the hot cocoa is really good — really good. The ladies are awesome. They’re never in a bad mood, they’re always smiling. I used to go across the street for coffee. I didn’t expect this to be as good. It’s better.”
— Chris McAndrews
• Shortly after the Cafe2U van pulled into a Nissan dealership, the PA system made an announcement: “HEY ALL, COFFEE LADY HERE.”
“I never drank coffee until living in Seattle. I was having it once or twice a month. Now I have one just about every time I come in. The coffee is good. If it wasn’t good, I wouldn’t buy it.”
— Steve Herron, who compared the Cafe2U van to the band Van Halen, considering the way people rush to the truck.
• “They bring lunch to me, which keeps me on the lot. I don’t have to bust out for lunch and risk losing a sale. I was a barista for 2 1/2 years, so I’m kind of picky about my coffee. This is the best cup of coffee in this town, far better than Starbucks. She’s actually helped me make a sale. I bought a latte for a customer one day who was looking at a car, and they loved it.”
— Jacob Wallace, who sells Suburus
• “I heard the horn and looked around and came to see what this was all about. It’s good! Not too sweet, but you can still taste the sweetness and it’s not overly bitter.”
— Nate Leyba, a college student and first-time customer
• “Can you take credit cards? (Yes.) I love you!”
— Linda Farmer, another first-time buyer who lined up behind Leyba outside Pioneer Pacific College. After her first sip of chai, she pronounced “It’s really good!”
• “Whatever blend they’re using is amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to be good, but after having my first drink, I was like ‘Oh my Gosh!’ ”
— Melissa Bradfield, who had bought her first Cafe2U coffee the day before. On Day 2, she bought a prepay card so she could get coffee every day. Prepay cards offer customers a discount.