Started in Brunswick East in late 2007 / early 2008, Padre began small and has since grown to include two roasteries, two stand-alone cafes, and a handful of loyal wholesale customers. As one of Australia’s most beloved speciality coffee roasters, retailers and wholesalers, they offer up a rich selection of roasts and a ton of personality to boot. One of the first taglines you’ll find scrolling across their website’s homepage is, “roasted with love, care, and a bangin’ soundtrack, specially for your espresso-loving ways.” A fine cuppa joe, a whole lotta love behind the counter, and an epic playlist? We are so down.
We caught up with Padre Director Ken Cowen, Operations Manager Anthony Feeney, and Amanda Pantas who handles the brand’s Content and Communications. We wanted to learn about how the team uses Kounta to run their business more efficiently, along with some fun side facts about the crew and the brand itself.
Padre Coffee’s Kounta Journey…
These days in hospitality, there’s a constant twenty-first-century need to keep up with POS advancements. This often means swapping over to a cloud-based system and while it’s not an absolute must, not making the switch can certainly inhibit growth when it comes to the overall customer experience. This is particularly true for brands that are as popular and ever-growing as Padre Coffee.
Prior to adopting Kounta, Padre used a system called Recon Point of Sale. “You needed an old school touch screen terminal to run it,” Ken tells us. “It was modifiable but pretty clunky. Before we used that, we used handwritten docket, and the first docket that we ever had was a piece of wood with some elastic bands, so we just had these big red rubber bands tied around a plank of wood and we kept our paper dockets in there. Then, if you go back long enough, we just had a money box.”
A lot of Padre’s time was also spent making the tills balance and handling all reconciliations manually. Dealing with accounting in this way is not only time consuming, but it can potentially open up a lot of room for error and unaccounted for cash, among other issues.
“We have point of sale which integrates with our accounting software. This is an online platform on Shopify, which integrates with our inventory software,” Ken says. “You need all these platforms for budgeting and projections and these kinds of things – most large size businesses will operate this way. We’re still not there. There’s still more we can do to have more streamlined reporting, more access to this kind of knowledge, and I’d say we’re pretty organized.” That being said, they’ve certainly come a long way since wood and rubber bands.
While switching over to a cloud-based system was an intimidating prospect because it was unfamiliar territory, Ken ultimately knew it was something they wanted to embrace.
Padre adopted both Xero and Kounta systems at the same time, so the switch to the cloud happened all at once. “It was a big shift going from regular software to cloud-based software overnight, essentially,” Ken says. “So, we were very ready for that change when it happened. [Kounta] is better than every other product out there. All these other point of sales – like the more traditional terminal point of sales – are overpriced and they underdeliver. You’re in a business where customer service and customer experience are really important, and you need a point of sale that’s going to make that as easy as possible. I think Kounta does a better job of it than anyone.”
The team also enjoys how user-friendly Kounta is. “Kounta is a really good tool in that it doesn’t actually take very long,” Ken says. “It’s quite intuitive. Put someone in front of that and it’s like, yep, press the buttons, and you’re good to go.”
Tyro is integrated with Padre’s Kounta system as well, and while Ken admits that Tyro is an expensive product to have, he also recognizes that it’s far superior to manual reconciliation. “It costs more to do it the way we’re doing it now, but the customer experience is better,” Ken says. “It’s an investment, but I think that the payoff is worth it from a customer experience point of view.”
In terms of Xero’s integration with Kounta, Ken enjoys the gamification aspect. “We used to do manual banking reconciliation where you’d have to print off a manual transaction list and your bank statement, then manually check them which took hours. With Xero, you click little green buttons – it’s wonderful. Applying that feeling of pushing creates a feeling of achievement when dealing with what’s otherwise a mundane task. It’s a really really smart approach to software solutions.”
Kounta allows Padre to run their business far more efficiently than before, and the integration of Xero makes their data entry at least four times faster than manual reconciliation. Kounta’s intuitive interface also means less time spent on employee training.
“We have great success with recruiting, training, retaining, upscaling, and all the tools that we have are wonderful – we take care of them, and I see Kounta as being part of that.”
The final verdict for Ken in terms of determining which POS system to adopt is that Kounta is better than any other point of sale system on offer.
“It’s a really difficult area to be in – Point of Sale is the proverbial pointy end of the stick and I think Kounta is arguably the best out there.”
The Personalities Behind Padre
As for the Padre crew themselves – you know, the groovy folks that operate behind the scenes (and behind the Kounta)? They’re a dynamic group of individuals who also happen to love good coffee. Prior to opening up Padre’s South Melbourne shop in 2009, Ken had been a coffee roaster in Glasgow, studied Chinese medicine in London, and been a musician in Berlin. Amanda, on the other hand, has a media background but is also an art student with a design degree, while Anthony is an art student and a painter as well. One of Padre’s talents is hiring a passionate team of individuals that align with the company’s mission, and the diversity in backgrounds amongst them is what really makes the personality behind Padre shine.
Finally, they’re always seeking to strengthen and deepen their core values in terms of commitment to existing staff, suppliers and customers. “I remember once Ken said to me that we’re not a coffee business, we’re a people business,” Amanda says. “And that kind of stuck with me, because it’s not often that you think outside the box in terms of what a business is about. And I think the values of the company have made it so successful. It’s only ten years old, but it’s achieved so much in such a short time.”