Costa Coffee

Teamwork-and-technology-drive-innovation-with-the-UKs-favourite-coffee-retailer

Teamwork and technology drive innovation with the UK's favourite coffee retailer


About Costa

Founded in 1971, Costa is a fixture of British high streets and one of our most beloved coffee chains. Now operating more than 3,800 sites across 32 countries, Costa's recent innovations include making barista-quality coffee available at roadside facilities and convenience for the first time and pioneering the Flat White in the UK. As a result, it has been voted the UK's favourite coffee chain for 12 years running.

The Challenge

At the time of Costa's acquisition by the Coca-Cola Group in 2019, the company was keen to maintain the agility and flexibility it had developed as an ambitious young company. As a result, the decision was made to put out an RFP for technology suppliers, in order to develop a mixture of Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies, including both new suppliers and existing ones from Coca-Cola's own ecosystem. Following a personal recommendation, followed by a robust evaluation process, Exponential-e were selected as a Tier 2 supplier, delivering the required network as a fully managed service, in collaboration with Cisco Meraki.

Although the initial contract was for five years, it was established from the outset that Costa were looking for a long-term partnership that would help their technology infrastructure scale and evolve with the business. This meant both technical capabilities and cultural fit with Costa's values were critical priorities throughout the evaluation process - areas in which Exponential-e readily distinguished themselves, with the planned account team quickly forging a strong working relationship with Costa's own teams.

The Solution

By January 2021, teams from Costa and Exponential-e had established a plan for rolling out the new solution, tailored to Costa's specific requirements. This allowed for a smooth, stress-free deployment process, ensuring Costa sites across the country could begin making use of the new networks straight away, with zero disruption to the quality experience their customers had come to expect.

In the same way, the network's resilience, scalability, and flexibility - combined with the ongoing support of their Account Team - ensured that Costa teams were able to quickly pivot to home working at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, utilising Microsoft Teams to ensure processes and service quality could be maintained as much as possible. Later, this underlying stability supported the rapid design and deployment of Costa's remote ordering service, transforming the way customers could access their favourite cups of coffee each day, while still adhering to social distancing requirements.

With a strong partnership between teams at both companies having been established prior to launch day, the working relationships between specialists at Exponential-e and Costa have continued to evolve. While Exponential-e are now well-established as Costa's network provider of choice, their openness to tailor solutions to suit highly specific requirements and even expand their service portfolio in light of customer requirements means that discussions are ongoing around any ways the partnership could evolve further in the years ahead, whether that involves the integration of new technologies, or expansion into other regions.

The combination of leading-edge technical expertise and a deeply consultative, bespoke approach to every project has ensured Costa's network can serve as the backbone of its day-to-day services, allowing its staff across the UK to focus on providing customers with world-class coffee.

Solution benefits

To find out more about how Exponential-e is supporting technological innovation and customer service excellence across the UK's Retail sector, click here.

When you have a strong tender, but no guarantee the team you're meeting is the team you'll be working with, there's always a concern whether things will work as planned on launch day. But this was never an issue with Exponential-e. All the way through, I had complete confidence in the team we'd be working with.

Barry Firth 
IT / People Services Programme Manager, Costa.

With a lot of companies, we've had to adapt our way of working to suit them, but Exponential-e really took the time to get to know us. There've not been too many difficulties throughout the whole project. In fact, it's been virtually seamless!

Barry Firth
IT / People Services Programme Manager, Costa.

Anything to do with network, we come to you guys. We wouldn't go anywhere else. I have worked across a number of suppliers programmes - all with their own complexities. I would put Exponential-e down in the top two suppliers I've worked with, if not the top supplier."

Barry Firth
IT / People Services Programme Manager, Costa.

Providing the technological foundation for true immersive experiences, across every channel, throughout every step of the customer journey.

Our Retail brochure offers a comprehensive overview of how we draw on a deep understanding of the sector's singular challenges, an evolving technology ecosystem, and a highly consultative approach to offer bespoke solutions that help staff deliver their best for every customer - both online and in person.

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All inbound and outbound calls may be recorded for training or quality purposes.