2000 Random Acts of Kindness
We had a Facebook post from a customer in April 2011 that was intriguing and had no idea we would go on to raise over £3000. You see Megan, who was a student at the University of Oxford at the time, had direct messaged us to ask if we would be interested in joining the suspended coffee movement.
Megan explained that she'd heard of this movement and thought it was an excellent idea particularly for Oxford, which has a high number of homeless.
After about 15 minutes on the Internet, we discovered that it was a tradition started in the villages of Italy where a prosperous customer would buy a second cup of coffee for somebody less fortunate to have later. Very similar to the pay it forward movement that was going on in America.
At the time just around the corner from us was a fantastic organisation called The Gatehouse who provided hot meals clothing and support for the homeless and poorly housed of Oxford. We wanted to support a local charity so after a conversation with the director at the time Andrew Smith, we came to the decision to rather than give coffee away; we would donate the cost of a suspended coffee to them directly. The Gatehouse felt they could distribute the kindness of our customers to a wider number of people.
First Suspended Coffee in Oxfordshire
So on 19 April 2011, Java&Co proudly launched the first suspended coffee scheme in Oxfordshire, in our Abingdon & Oxford coffee shops.
This week we reached a huge milestone as we sold our 2000th cup of suspended coffee, and raised £3000 for The Gatehouse in Oxford in the process.
When we started, we hoped that the idea of a suspended coffee would spread to other businesses and other cafes in town. Such as a suspended loaf of bread in a bakery or a dessert in a restaurant, the ideas could be endless. Unfortunately, this has not been the case which is hard to understand because it's such a simple idea that is easy to execute meaning that both our customers and our chosen charity benefits.
As we support and advise other coffee shops worldwide through Café Success Mentor programme, cafesuccesshub.com, we make a point of recommending they seriously consider a suspended coffee scheme as a way to give back and support their local community.
Suspended Coffees are growing in popularity
You can find out a lot more about the suspended coffee movement here http://suspendedcoffees.com/; it's now spread all over the world with over 2000 cafes participating and 300,000 followers on social media.
About the Authors
Andrew & Claire Bowen are the authors of 'The Daily Grind - how to open a coffee shop that makes money' Available on Amazon, and Founders of Cafe Success cafesuccesshub.com - the ultimate resource site for coffee shop, cafe and tea room owners worldwide.
To buy The Daily Grind on Amazon Click Here