Luckin Coffee Files for Bankruptcy

The Chinese company that was touted as the next great challenger to Starbucks filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection on February 5 in New York. It was a spectacular fall for a company that was last valued at $3.2B.

With over 4,500 storefronts across China, Luckin Coffee experienced exponential growth after having been founded in 2017. A misrepresentation of $300M in retail sales from its 2020 SEC filings led it to be delisted from the NYSE, its stock price falling over 82%. It was a reflection of the lack of confidence in the company and the ability to trust their financial figures.

After paying back a $180M fine for the discrepancy on their financial statements, the company was able to regain investor confidence as the stock price slowly increased. However, the news of their bankruptcy filing led to a mass selloff, of which it is uncertain if the company can recover.

The fall of Luckin Coffee bodes well for Starbucks, which could potentially acquire the company and their large footprint in China for peanuts. It would expand their reach in a lucrative and growing market. It also serves as a warning to investors to be wary of companies that might be too good to be true.

‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ has finally run out of gas

Coffee seems to be just about everywhere nowadays, and we recently came across a review in The Washington Post that got us thinking about all the coffee references we’ve seen on TV recently. It’s like coffee is the new smoking for moving the plot and conversation along in TV and film. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is just one example among many. There’s coffee as an extended metaphor for hooking up in Luke Cage. There’s coffee as character development in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.


When first reading The Washington Post review that suggested this show had worn out its welcome, our fear was that the lack of drama created by getting coffee might be to blame. Yet, by the end of the article, it seems more like the Post’s TV Critic Hank Stuever is afraid that the relatability of getting a cup of coffee might cause the show to drag on past its due—an ironic concern that Jerry Seinfeld himself seems to share—not because of the show itself but because of the saturation of TV shows right now that are just people talking to each other.


Vape pens don’t yet have the same ubiquity or general social acceptance as cigarettes, much less coffee. There’s also a lag time and audience recovery period in which Friends used its coffee shop as a major set for the show. The film Coffee Shop came and went in 2014. But even now, there seems to be a granular ubiquity to coffee’s presence in TV and film, as well as the general culture. Whether it’s getting laid, getting normalized, or getting through the day, coffee seems to be able to grind its way into any situation.


Read the original article at The Washington Post.


7-Eleven New Year’s promotion shows different side to coffee loyalty marketing

7-Eleven provided a caffeinated New Year to many of its customers by offering them coffee or bottled water for just 19 cents when signing up for their app and loyalty program, 7Rewards. It’s just what you think it is: You download their free smartphone app and then use that app to redeem an e-coupon. Thus, the company can prove to customers how easy it is to redeem rewards through their phone. Loyalty rewards have long been a marketing staple of the coffee industry, and these card-carrying loyalty programs are still widely in use today, but this recent 7-Eleven promotion shows just how far we’ve come.


Here’s what struck us about this news piece and 7-Eleven’s promotional marketing in general. It’s a strategy built on being able to leverage their consumers’ digital data into increased sales at a convenience store. This brand, built on convenience and travel-related concessions, has determined that the time has come to try get a critical mass of their consumers to download and interact with a mobile app platform.


We’re not trying to come off as nay-sayers–not at all. But it is an interesting development to consider just in terms of marketing strategy and customer experience. Do you think push notifications about e-coupons would facilitate your next visit to 7-Eleven? Would you be willing to provide your personal spending history and buying habits at this convenience store in exchange for a free coffee or water every once in a while? This is a bargain that most people now have a fair understanding of when it comes to FB, Google, and e-Commerce companies, but we now live in a world in which 7-Eleven wants to create this type of relationship with the customer.


Read the original article at People.

Coffee delivery drone patented by IBM

IBM has developed a new form of coffee delivery—with a twist. Their new invention, a coffee-delivering drone, has received a patent. According to the company, this machine can identify the cognitive state of office workers. Once their state has been identified, the drone will lower cups of coffee on an “unspooling string” in order to deliver the energy drink to the worker.


The patent was filed in the United States, where the patenting process can often cost thousands of dollars. The document illustrates several variations of the drink delivery drone. In one example, rather than lowering coffee on an unspooling stream, the drone dispenses coffee directly into the worker’s mug. In another option, hot drinks are delivered within a sealed bag—likely to prevent scalding drips from harming workers. Alternatively, individuals may be able to summon the coffee-dispensing drone with a hand gesture.


IBM suggests that this technology—the drone, in particular—could also be equipped to detect blood pressure, pupil dilation, and facial expressions. This data could be compiled and analyzed to determine if a worker is feeling tired. This invention is just one part of IBM’s recent push toward artificial intelligence development.


It is unclear if IBM plans to produce and market their coffee drone; the company has yet to release a statement other than the initial patent release. Tech companies, especially large corporations with several interests, often produce products without the intention to sell them—at least, not in the near future. While this technology may ease the minimal burden of walking across an office to get coffee, its purpose is, likely, to prove a machine’s ability to “detect” human emotions through the analysis of various bodily measurements.


Read the original article at BBC News.

Trader Joe’s releases ready-to-drink cold brew in time for the dog days of summer

Trader Joe’s is known for producing and selling ready-to-consume products. Their frozen aisle is a popular place to browse easy dinner options, boasting everything from cauliflower “rice” and pre-made vegan stuffing to Eastern European Borek and bakery-quality macarons. However, the supermarket retailer has also made strides to improve its ready-made coffee selection. Trader Joe’s has long sold several different cold brew options, including cold brew coffee bags, nitro cold brew, flavored cold brews, a variety of cold brew concentrates, and single-serve cans of the stuff.


Trader Joe’s recent product announcement, however, eliminates all the prep work included in cold brew purchasing. All of their cold brew products require the customer to take some action—whether that means steeping the grounds overnight or adding water to dilute the concentrate. Their new product, Ready to Drink Cold Brew Coffee, requires no prep.


The product is made by steeping air-roasted Arabica beans in cold water for at least 12 hours. According to Trader Joe’s the coffee features hints of molasses, walnut, and cocoa. One bottle of this product contains multiple servings—just like Trader Joe’s cold brew concentrates. However, it contains significantly fewer servings. Most concentrate bottle hold 12 servings, while the Ready to Drink Cold Brew Coffee offers only three.


While this coffee drink offers fewer servings, the price point is significantly lower than most concentrates currently offered by Trader Joe’s. This addition to the supermarket’s coffee lineup is indicative of a larger cold brew trend. We are, however, quite interested in the release time of this drink. Cold brew is typically marketed as a summer drink, and while there are still several weeks left in the season, we can’t help but wonder if the retailer plans to market this product for autumn.

Read the original article at Refinery29.