Is there anything better than sitting down with a friend, bonding over 90’s Japanese cars and your mutual love for coffee? Walking away with a business plan, which in a few short years would turn into reality for Dos and Sean of Coffee In Common comes close.
Entering Coffee In Common in Adelaide, you will instantly notice the transparency of the interior design. From the long serving bar down the middle, to the Modbar coffee machine built into the countertop. We recently sat down with co-founders Dos and Sean to talk about turning an idea into reality, specialty coffee and working in a business partnership. Read the full conversation below.
SQ: Firstly, tell us about how Coffee In Common started? What are both of your backgrounds and where did the idea come from?
D: The idea for Coffee In Common started many years ago, over a coffee! Sean and I starting working together 10 years ago and our love of coffee and 90s Japanese cars helped us form a bond quite quickly. We became really good mates and the idea of creating a business around coffee for people that loved coffee starting rolling around in our heads.
After this, our paths split, Sean jetted off to Melbourne, working in specialty coffee there before opening his own cafe.
I (Dos) have been working in the Adelaide hospitality industry for a number of years, starting my trade at Cibo (where I met Sean), TBar and Abbots and Kinney. Learning my trade alongside different bosses with vastly different approaches. I developed a strong bond with Adelaide hospitality, I love the people as well as the customers here, and boy do they love their coffee!
SQ: Tell us about the design of Coffee In Common. It’s incredible! Why did you choose to have your counter and bench down the middle?
S: When designing Coffee In Common we wanted to keep everything simple. The long bar down the middle was designed to keep everything open, so you can see what actually goes on behind a coffee bar. We found that in most cafes you wouldn’t really get to see what happens behind the bar, and thought that this would be a unique point of difference. This was also the reason we chose the Modbar coffee machine being built into the counter. Visually this makes the bar look open and inviting, which helps promote conversations with customers instead of creating a barrier.
SQ: How have you found operating a business in a partnership? Any challenges/learnings that you can share?
S: Dos and I work well together because we do separate things for the business. I think that it’s important to have a lot of trust with whoever you go into partnership with. Dos and I have that trust in each other that allows us to have free reign within our respective parts of the business. This allows us both to be creative with what we do!
SQ: Why did you choose Square to power your business?
S: I had used Square previously in Melbourne and loved how simple and easy it is to use. The back-end reports are clear and using Square Payments and Point of Sale cohesively makes everything quick and streamlined during service for us and the customers.
In the cafe we pair Square for Restaurants with two iPads and Square Terminal which we use to take orders and payments at the table. At our coffee bar we use a KDS iPad for our coffee and drink menu items and the Square Reader for payments. This setup allows us to keep our bar tidy by removing printed dockets on the counter. It also helps us keep track of timing which keeps us accountable.
SQ: You hold industry nights at Coffee In Common, tell us more!
S: These industry nights are open to everyone and are always free. The topics vary from coffee, to branding, to business. We run these sessions because we’ve found that it’s educational and informative to everyone in the industry. From baristas, to chefs, to someone thinking about opening their own business. It helps answer a lot of questions that we found we had when we were starting out. It’s also a great way to bring the community together and is a great night for networking.
SQ: Any exciting future plans you can share with us?
S&D: We’re hoping to start offering some evening service coupling foods with wine and filter coffee! Also we’ve got a few more industry night ideas rolling around at the moment, our next one including some coffee tasting and guessing in a knockout format. Should be pretty cool!
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