Great coffee is always a good look

Enterprise: Industry Beans

Why they stand out: This full-service coffee brand stared down the challenges posed by the pandemic to open four new venues, launch a subscription service and almost double its headcount.

In the last couple of decades, a number of coffee roasters from around the world, known as the Third Wave, have been redefining their approach to sourcing, roasting and brewing coffee. Trevor Simmons and his brother Steve embraced the movement, becoming obsessed with the idea of creating a complete coffee and hospitality experience under one roof, with coffee being roasted on site and brewed in the open at dedicated brew bars – all with a full-service café experience. They founded Industry Beans in Melbourne in 2013 and have developed the business on the principle of making the whole process around coffee transparent and accessible in their venues, communications and products.

Those venues now include cafés, roasteries and espresso bars in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and their product range covers an app, coffee beans, coffee pods, brewing kits, grinders and a host of other pieces of equipment and accessories.

“We set out a clear plan prior to COVID to grow our team and brand across Australia.”

“We are a coffee brand focused on specialty coffee products first and foremost, driven to deliver the best and most accessible specialty coffee experiences across our venues, wholesale, eCommerce and grocery channels,” Trevor explains. “Our coffee beans, Ready-To-Drink range and Espresso Club™ subscription are the foundational blocks of our offer.”

Industry Beans has experienced a significant growth curve in the last couple of years. “We set out a clear plan prior to COVID to grow our team and brand across Australia,” Trevor says. “Even with the challenges of the pandemic, we didn’t pivot or lose our focus on opening four new venues, and launching The Espresso Club™ subscription and our Ready-To-Drink range.”

These initiatives led to the team expanding from 110 staff to over 200, despite many of the business’ venues having to close repeatedly due to the revolving lockdowns in Melbourne. “The Espresso Club™ has been one of the most successful products we have ever released,” Trevor enthuses. “It is the first and only complete home barista subscription available on an accessible weekly fee. With a great pump espresso machine, coffee subscription and tutorial videos, timing was definitely in our favour when we released it, with more people working from home.” The Espresso Club™ has maintained its momentum, despite large numbers of people returning to the office, with that arm of the business gaining significant numbers of new members to this day.

After spending the past few years building and rolling out new coffee products, Trevor’s focus has shifted to making sure Industry Beans keeps up with demand and maintains the highest quality. He is also excited about seeing the brand’s products in new channels, such as the upcoming ranging of Industry Beans’ cold brew and iced coffees in Woolworths Metro. “This will, of course, lead to continued growth in our key metrics,” Trevor says. “However, our real measure of success is the number of customers and clients drinking Industry Beans coffee around Australia – and that is on track to double again in the next 12 months.”

With regard to Industry Beans’ growth and development in the next couple of years, Trevor says he often uses the phrase “we are on a journey”, meaning that whilst the team is always looking forward, they make sure that they are fully engaged with every step of that journey, to reach their goals. “Each of those steps is an important building block towards reaching our destination,” Trevor explains. “A second theme for us is continuous improvement. There is not one area of the business we won’t look at improving and refining every year and, as much as we love new things, we also love to continue to drive quality improvements to our existing products and service.”

This article first appeared in issue 37 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine