A Waukesha-based startup aims to disrupt the coffee industry with its automated and contactless coffee drive-thru business model.
Octane Coffee’s automated systems can serve coffee, tea, smoothies and juice drinks to customers in under 30 seconds. When customers order and pay through the app, Octane’s “robotic server” GPS tracks a customer so that production coincides with their arrival.
In fact, customers can schedule recurring coffee pickups and if the customer is not available, Octane Coffee will know based on geolocation and cancel the order.
The startup plans to launch its first location this summer in the city of Pewaukee at W229 N1400 Westwood Drive, northeast of the I-94 and Redford Boulevard intersection.
At its core, Octane Coffee “sells time with a great cup of coffee,” said Adrian Deasy, Octane Coffee founder and chief executive officer. The average wait time for a Starbucks coffee is 4 minutes and at times much longer, Deasy added.
“It’s meant to be very fast, convenient and also affordable,” Deasy said. “We’re going to be 10% to 20% cheaper than our competitors because we can be.”
That’s because Octane Coffee eliminates most labor and overhead costs through automation and a lean buildout for its drive-thru. The startup projects its business is 375% more profitable per drink sold and requires one-third of the cost to launch, when compared to major coffee chains.
Octane Coffee is designed to run unattended for 24 hours at a time, although a person will stop by once a day for 30 minutes to clean and restock supplies.
Octane’s coffee will have a familiar taste too. The company partnered with Milwaukee-based Stone Creek Coffee Co. for all its coffee products. Stone Creek co-founder Eric Resch, who invested in Octane, also sits on the startup’s board of directors.
The startup’s business model is unique to the Midwest, but the building itself is also an architectural anomaly. Octane Coffee operates out of a repurposed 20-foot shipping container with a metal-paneled facade designed to look like wood.
The container, which is the size of a Chevy Suburban, is packed with a robot, refrigeration, coffee makers, cups, lids and ingredients for its products.
Deasy’s long-term vision is to franchise Octane Coffee, manufacture more containers in Waukesha and ship them anywhere in the United States, he said.
Octane Coffee Location: Waukesha Founder: Adrian Deasy Founded: 2018 Product: Automated coffee drive-thru Website: octanemke.com Employees: 3 Goal: Launch its first automated coffee drive-thru and franchise the business. Experience: Deasy is a mechanical engineer and robotic automation design consultant.