Home ShopTalk Espressonow.com: Lattes at Your Desk

Espressonow.com: Lattes at Your Desk

Ever wait in line while the person in front of you orders three tall lattes? Espressonow.com hopes to put an end to that listless waiting, at least for busy downtown workers. Via the Espressonow.com website, people in most downtown buildings can have a steaming latte or Americano in their hands in less than half an hour. Below, we asked Espressonow.com founder and CEO Chris Dasef what’s brewing?–SJ

Seattle24x7.com: Chris, how much is your average order, and how many different companies have used EspressNow.com so far?
Dasef: Our average order is for around $3, and workers at more than 200 companies have used us so far. We get a lot of the downtown brokerages, law firms, banks, real-estate companies, and of course, the downtown Internet crowd, such as Internet Capital Group, Go2Net, Xsides, Go.com, N2H2. Last month, we saw orders rise by 200%, a lot of it being repeat business. Our regulars love us and are rooting for us.

Seattle24x7: Glad to hear the Internet stock slump hasn’t affected local coffee consumption. How competitive are your prices?
Dasef: We charge about as much as Starbucks, perhaps a little bit more. And we really don’t know of any direct competitors, that is, companies that deliver hot specialty coffee to the workplace.

Seattle24x7: How do you keep the coffee hot?
Dasef: We have special carrying containers that lose about 1 degree every five minutes. So there’s very little heat loss, and our customers are at first very surprised at how hot our coffee is. Also, our three couriers walk the coffee to the offices. The furthest building we service is a six-minute walk from one of our two downtown coffee stands, which also sell coffee to passersby.

Seattle24x7: Why do you use only Seattle’s Best Coffee?
Dasef: It’s recognized as a high-quality coffee, and that’s the company that we happened to strike a deal with.

Seattle24x7: How do you advertise?
Dasef: We run banner ads that are geo-targeted (98101 to 98104 zip codes) via Flycast. When we stopped running these ads for a week, we definitely noticed a downturn in our new-order rate. So they’re working, although the ads cost us more than the amount of business we get from them. We also handout flyers and have signage downtown. And our delivery people are walking ads in and of themselves.

Seattle24x7: Are you looking for financing?
Dasef: We’re not actively seeking funding right now. We’d like to eventually expand nationwide. But right now, we’re focused on making sure the business pays for itself as it grows. Our goal is to keep adding delivery locations.

Seattle24x7: It seems your overhead is pretty high given the size of your orders.
Dasef: Our margins are actually higher than for pizza delivery. And we are breaking even now. So profitability won’t be that hard to achieve.

Seattle24x7: OK, good luck, Chris. Can’t wait for you to start delivering to office boats in the University District.

Soula Jones is Content Chief at Seattle24x7.com


CEO and founder: Chris Dasef (cdasef@transport.com)
Launch: March 2000
Offerings: all types of hot coffee beverages (Seattle’s Best Coffee) and cookies, muffins, pastries
Order-taking times: 7 am to 3 pm
Busiest times: 8 am to 10 am
Guarantee: it’s steaming hot and there in less than 30 minutes. If not, it’s free. It’s also free if you’re not “completely satisfied.”
Trial offer: Your first order is FREE
Company financing: founders and “silent investors”
Number of companies served: over 200
Biggest challenge: “getting the word out”