1. Why do we need an FAQ about Coffee Wagera? We do things very differently, so we get a lot of questions. E.g.
2. Is it really the first coffee shop of Pakistan? A restaurant is a place where they have a kitchen, where they cook, where they serve proper meals. A coffee shop (aka café or coffeehouse) primarily serves coffee and related beverages; some coffee shops also serve light snacks. So by definition, most cafes and coffee shops in Pakistan are restaurants. And there’s a good reason for this, as many business owners have explained to me: Pakistan is not a coffee place; so only teashops and restaurant can survive. Even Dunkin’ Donuts makes and serves hot omelets for breakfast, so we call it a restaurant. Do you know any ‘coffee shops’ in Pakistan other than Coffee Wagera?
3. How can we sell our coffee so cheap? Why do we price our basic coffee at Rs.175 when everyone else sells it for Rs.300 and up? Because Coffee Wagera is not a restaurant with huge overheads like everyone else; we are a self-service coffee shop. No waiters, no cooks, no guards, no valet. We are also happy to work at a lower-than-standard profit margin, and make up with high volume. We use top-quality beans, water and milk for our coffee, and it comes in a standard 8oz (240ml) cup. So the low price is not due to lower product costs or lesser coffee.
4. Why do we not have a bigger variety of snacks, desserts, ice creams or even frappe drinks? Coffee Wagera is a small shop focused on selling good coffee and a few snacks. A bigger variety will need more space, chillers, freezers, storage… higher overheads, higher pricing. A different model altogether. We are adding some shakes/smoothies in Ramadan, and possibly a new menu after Ramadan.
5. How can we afford to give free water? Because we want to. A water dispenser is a small one-time investment. The 19-liter bottle on top costs Rs.230. That’s Rs.3 per glass of water – easy to bear by a low-overhead, self-service coffee shop like Coffee Wagera. However I am not opposed to any restaurants charging whatever amount they think is appropriate based on their business model and costs. If consumers don’t like their prices, they don’t have to order.
6. Why are we still short-staffed? This is becoming more obvious now that business is picking up and our service slows down when we are full. We made a commitment to hire males, females and transgender. Hiring males was easy, hiring females is difficult and hiring trans people has been impossible so far. We have reached out to many activists and NGOs dedicated to transgender issues, but we haven’t found any yet. In the process, we even got covered in Daily Pakistan. We don’t want to give up on the idea, but we may have to fill up the spots with more male staff.
And probably the most common question of all, though nobody asks me directly: How long will Coffee Wagera survive? Based on the response from the first six weeks, it seems we will grow into a franchise, with multiple branches across Pakistan. But who knows 🙂
PS. Photo shows initial results of our stencils 🙂