Do you want to know how to grow your coffee business through coffee eCommerce? In this article, we will tell the story of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee.
There are people out there who care about employing people with disabilities. One company, in particular, has gone so far as to grow its small business into a franchise and a coffee eCommerce facility set its focus on online growth.
Enter Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, which took inspiration from the Wright couple’s youngest children named (you guessed it right) Bitty and Beau.
Its purpose-driven model has received national recognition for its commitment to its employees.
In 2016, Ben and Amy Wright started an inclusive trade for people with intellectual limitations to work.
The Wrights learned that there is no support system for people with physical and cognitive limitations after leaving the public school system. They decided to start a coffee shop after their children, Beau and Bitty.
A Closer Look at Bitty & Beau’s Coffee Story
“We just didn’t want that for our children,”
“So selfishly we thought, ‘Let’s start a coffee shop. At least our kids will have jobs.’ We quickly realized while the jobs we were creating for people with disabilities were critical, it was equally, if not even more important for people without disabilities to come in and witness them working and seeing them in a different light.”
The Wrights coffee business thrived. They opened 3 (three) additional locations in Annapolis, Md., Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C. The company now employs 120 people with physical and cognitive limitations from the original 19.
Bitty & Beau’s cafes were not only successful, but they also made headlines when CNN acknowledged Amy as the hero of 2017 and awarded her $100,000 to expand.
Salesforce also honored the Wrights with their first-ever award of Service Equality at Dreamforce 2019.
After that, they started franchising to expand their business even further. But the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The Crisis as a Stepping Stone to Move Forward
Similar to a number of other enterprises in the U.S., the Wrights were forced to shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and employees could no longer come into work due to health concerns.
The Wrights desired to offer a more seamless experience for their customers. They did this by adding features that allow people to order merchandise and coffee online while providing an in-person customer service option.
“We quickly realized while the jobs we were creating for people with disabilities were incredibly important, it was equally, if not even more important for people without disabilities to come in and witness them working and seeing them in a totally different light.”
Ben Wright, Co-Founder, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee
“When COVID hit, it hit us hard because we felt like the most conservative thing to do was to close our doors,”
“We did that for 60 days. During that time, we had to find a way to continue connecting to our customers because everything in our life is riding on this business and its success. The same goes for our employees who count on their jobs.”
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee gave customers access to tracking orders and FAQs through an easy-to-use help center. They engaged customers through email newsletters and social campaigns to gain new customers.
Meanwhile, its AI chatbot added a layer of personalization to its website. It allowed them to scale during the time cafes were shut down.
“It was all about continuing to connect with our customers and have this wonderful experience as if they had come into the shop.”
The business was receiving many online orders even while the pandemic was ongoing, thanks to the coffee eCommerce tools.
Business Advancement through Improved Ecommerce Features
The Bitty & Beau’s Coffee shops reopened in September of 2020, and the Wrights and their staff were excited to provide a personalized experience to customers once again.
Bitty & Beau’s Coffee’s online sales grew during the closure, with higher year-on-year deals from 2019. In 2020, the business opened three franchise locations, indicating continued growth.
“When a customer walks in, we don’t just simply take their order and pass them down the line. Every one of our employees will take time to get to know them. They want to have that human connection and get to know people. So why would that be any different when we’re doing business online?” Amy Wright, Co-Founder, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee
The use of CRM software has allowed Bitty & Beau’s Coffee to do what the group has planned to do from the start: support people with disabilities while providing a welcoming, friendly, and warm experience for their customers.
Final Thoughts on Coffee Ecommerce
The Wrights are looking to expand Bitty & Beau’s around the nation, and they know that having the right tools will make it easier. We hope you can inspire them to grow your own coffee eCommerce business.
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