Honolulu Coffee is the only "farm to cup" coffee company in the world, focused on growing, roasting and serving Kona coffee. Kona coffee is one of the rarest coffees available, representing less than 1 percent of the arabica coffee grown across the globe.
When we developed our strategic plan in 2008, we focused on the following:
- A unique story competitors could not easily copy: "farm to cup"
- Highly skilled baristas: 2011 United States Barista champion
- Great branding and café environment: Creates customer passion
"Farm to cup"
Although coffee companies can buy great coffee from farmers in remote countries, roast coffee well and create a good training program, none of our competitors, large or small, can emulate our "farm to cup" concept.
Today we own and operate 80 acres of high-grown Kona coffee farms on Hawaii island, which allows us to control the taste and supply of our rare coffee. In a world where the consumer wants to know more about their source of food and sustainability, we can proudly talk about the growing environment and how we treat our team of growers in Kona. This all contributes to the experience in our cafés and provides a greater connection to our brand and product for consumers who visit from all over the world.
Read MoreThe millionaire who wants to take you to Mars
This connection with our customer is what also led us to design our Honolulu Coffee Experience Center, a 9,000-square-foot facility in Honolulu expected to open in July 2015. Inside, coffee lovers can discover a world of information about coffee, including why Kona's microclimates are an amazing place to grow coffee, what it takes to process coffee from the tree to a "green" bean ready for roasting, and understand everything that goes into the Honolulu Coffee process.
Highly skilled baristas
To achieve our growth target, we knew that we would need to have the same commitment to excellence in Store 100 as we do in Store 5. A retail company is only as good as its employees, so we set out to create a training program that was consistent with the amazing "third wave" coffee that has flourished on a smaller scale in cities around the U.S.
To create and demonstrate what possibilities were, we recruited celebrity barista Pete Licata to head our training programs. Using 100 percent Kona Coffee, Licata finished 1st at the 2011 U.S. Barista Championship and 2nd at the World Barista Championship in Bogota, Colombia. With this accomplishment, we created an internal culture for our baristas to strive to be the best. This training program is what has allowed the same great coffee to be made at our 26 additional stores, spurring our future growth plans.