Executive Summary

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is paramount. Coffee shops, the haven for many in the midst of bustling lives, are increasingly seeking ways to enhance the customer experience. Order-ahead mobile apps have emerged as a game-changing solution, particularly when integrated with popular payment systems like Square. This white paper delves into the transformative power of these apps, building on insights from Espressly, an innovative player in this domain.


As a coffee shop owner, you understand that your business isn’t just about serving beverages; it’s about delivering an experience. The morning rush, the mid-day pick-me-up, or the late afternoon lull — each visit presents an opportunity to create lasting connections. But in a digitized era, how do you maintain this connection without physical presence? The answer: Order-ahead mobile apps.

The Shift to Digital

Traditional walk-ins are still a substantial part of the coffee shop model, but the digital realm is expanding rapidly. With over 80% of Americans owning a smartphone, the move towards mobile ordering isn’t just inevitable — it’s already here.


  1. Convenience for Customers: In an age of instant gratification, waiting in lines isn’t ideal. Mobile ordering removes this barrier, allowing customers to order at their convenience.
  2. Increased Efficiency: Staff can prepare orders with a clear heads-up, streamlining the service during peak hours.
  3. Enhanced Customer Experience: Loyalty programs, personalized offers, and instant feedback mechanisms elevate the overall customer journey.

Square Integration: The Perfect Brew

Many coffee shops use Square for its robust POS and payment solutions. Marrying this with an order-ahead app amplifies its potential. Here’s why:

The Espressly Difference

Espressly stands out in the realm of order-ahead apps. Their emphasis on creating tailor-made apps for individual coffee shops ensures a personalized touch, strengthening brand identity.

Notable Features:

Real-World Success: Lucky Finn Cafe Case Study

Lucky Finn Cafe, with its three locations, exemplifies the success of integrating an order-ahead app with Square. Their collaboration with Espressly led to:

Conclusion: The Future is Order-Ahead

As the lines between the physical and digital blur, coffee shops must evolve. An order-ahead app, especially when integrated with trusted platforms like Square, isn’t just a trendy addition; it’s a necessity.

The transformation is more than just about sales. It’s about staying connected in a digital age, enhancing the customer experience, and ensuring that every cup served, be it in-shop or ordered ahead, is a testament to the coffee shop’s commitment to its patrons.

For those looking to embark on this digital journey, Espressly serves as the ideal partner, bridging tradition with innovation, one order at a time.


Espressly + Square + Coffee Shop not named Starbucks

“Software companies, when integrated together, can act as one, with you.”

We work to help coffee shops drive a sizable sales increase, while seeing bottom line profitability increase…..to ease stress at the store for everyone. Everyone working together to accomplish a task that people appreciate. Byproduct being “making money” in the shop…important of cost….it is a battle out there of course. So be it.

Read below to follow the logic to how we operate at Espressly….loving what Starbucks does as a company with their sales program. The mobile app they have of course is the tip of the spear for their sales program. Naturally…..


I go to Starbuck’s every now and then. I use their app a decent amount. It is awesome. The menu looks great….but I do not order in app. I order at drive thru, but I always have them scan my phone so I can pay with my phone. I use the Apple Pay option to buy up Starbucks digital dollars when I do not have enough in the app to checkout. I never pay using a saved credit card. Always by “digital wallet”. They offer me twice as many stars to do this…..so I do it. I appreciate their respect for loyalty. I am literally putting actual cash in their mobile app digital account. It is sort of nuts. I read an article that said they have over $1.4 billion in their digital wallets. That was a while ago. Let’s assume they have over $1.5 billion in those accounts. They pay the customers zero in interest. In the same article that talked about how much money they have in the Starbucks Loyalty digital wallet program, I saw that they have no obligation whatsoever to pay any interest rate on that money. They even tapped into it during pandemic to fund what they had to fund. Totally allowable and well done. Good for them. Great work to the planners and engineers that did that. Starbucks is a solid rock out there in terms of businesses across all sectors. They deal in coffee…and we know how critical coffee is to people….Starbucks is an incredible company.


Starbucks has their own point of sale system, it seems. It seems to work well for their baristas and other workers. It seems to have tons of items. Cool. It works well with their drive thru. They have a tight flow. It is appreciated by many. 

Then…they have an amazing order ahead and/or pay at checkout flow where I can get my loyalty points.


I make use of the above program because I appreciate what they do to give me some joy as the battle rages on beside me. I enjoy the “non home made coffee” (haha) every now and then. Not all the time…but sometimes.

I value that event…the going to the coffee shop to get a coffee event….whatever it looks like….by myself or not.


One more thing…..Pup Cups at Starbucks….all coffee shops should have “Pup Cups” on the menu….

My wife and I have a dog. He is sort of crazy. His name is Mando…as in Mandalorian…as in Beskar steel (suppose that my wife and I are Star Wars fans). I have been bringing Mando out for rides with me recently to get him out. He is learning to be good with people around him that he does not know.

He is a good boy.  

Anyway, I take him for a treat when I go for a treat at Starbucks. I started ordering a pup cup at drive thru….it is something he can have….first time I got it, I thought I was going to get charged $5.00 for it. It is a tiny cup of foamed milk I suppose…not even sure. It was free. $0.00. I was shocked. I really appreciated that….thanks to the Starbucks workers of course….Keeps him calm and helps us a ton. 


Starbucks does a great thing. Nothing but respect for that.

Nonetheless…..I also appreciate local shops. I go to local shops when I can as well or when I am in an area that has a local shop that we want to try.


We really need to replicate what Starbucks does….at their awesome company that I am a customer of…..

So that coffee shops not named Starbucks can have a simple buying process for busy folks out there…..


This is where Square comes in. Square is the world’s greatest point of sale system that is available to the public to sign up for, for nothing. Zero. You only pay for processing and premium features. You can use whatever device you have now…or you can buy some of their cool hardware. It is 100% up to you…..printers all that jazz.

They get you all the gear you need so you are as close to a clone of Starbucks as possible….


At Espressly, we make the order ahead mobile app….for iPhone and for any Android smartphone…..ported once to both, sent to the Appstore and to Google Play Store…we get approval….then we share your links to you via email.

You get it tuned up after syncing with Square. Easy. One click.

Takes about 10 minutes maximum to set it all up once you get in the menu editor and settings. Even super complicated needs can be accomplished.

You literally can be Starbucks…on the tech front….

Square makes all that possible.

We are by no means done with all the work we need to do to get to what Starbucks does. We work….one day, then one more…advancing our Starbucks like ordering system….for coffee shops of any size…..single location, many location. Whatever. ALL powered by Square APIs

Orders print to the Square POS system…like Starbucks.

Labels print per the same KDS logic and basic printing logic….all the same. Like Starbucks.

Integration with Square Loyalty means that you have a loyalty system like Starbucks.

I think about how loyal I am to companies that help me great coffee. Starbucks only being one. We then work with other shops….we take this serious. We know what needs to be done. We do our best….but we do it all day and we follow what Starbucks is doing. They are good.

Anyone can get a mockup made. A dark theme. A light theme. We allow full customization….colors, icons, images, etc, etc….we get it just right. In app tipping. 

Saved credit cards. Apple Pay. Square Loyalty points allowing you to earn both in app and in store…like Starbucks. I see what all the rewards I can work toward is in app….like Starbucks. I am told how many points I am going to earn if I checkout….I see it on the receipt. Good.

That is what we do at Espressly. That is precisely what we do. We do not work on anything other than the Square integration because we have chosen them as the world’s best point of sale system….they are that good.

Square sellers should know how respectful they are of developers. It is free to be a Square developer. They provide around the clock support via their Discord server. Bravo for that too. They are leaving Slack…probably something related to the bill being massive for what they needed. Anyway, amazing integration tech. It all works. It all sort of blows the covers off of what other point of sale systems have available for integration tech….only because they have been at it for 14 years.

It takes time to build the team that can accomplish what that software company has done for a long time. It is what they do. They are really good at it and they had a head start when compared with many other point of sale companies.

So ya….we make order ahead mobile apps for people that use Square for their coffee shop. Basically if there is no ask for delivery…and they use Square….it works great. Bakeries, shake shops, coffee shops, bagel shops….that stuff. Order for pickup and you get it when it is done. Simple…but important in terms of having a flow….very helpful.

The apps are integrated with Square Loyalty in so many ways. It is amazing to see that it is sort of like Starbucks….haha. Following along as we go….doing what we can.

I thank you to all the shop owners that have trusted this important task to us. We take great pride in only going as fast as we can go such that we never ever ever ever disturb even a single order. We do not have permission to advance at a rate any other than that. Having messed up orders is unacceptable. We found that delivery does not work. Plain and simple. So….if you really want the experience of some great coffee….a real treat (maybe even with your pup), consider walking or getting in the car…or riding a bike…or whatever….and stop by. 

Anyway….we have improved our systems greatly. We are making apps go live. One went live today. That is always exciting to our team. Something special about it.

These are forever mobile apps with a forever point of sale system. Square is a rock. You need to be a rock. Do not look to be moving point of sales systems. You invest years into it. Do not switch over a few points in terms of processing cost……

Get your own app….you need what Starbucks has……if you cannot get what Starbucks has….find someone that can give that tech to you.

Espressly should definitely be in the running for that very specific task…..especially IF you are already using Square….and you happen to be a coffee shop or related business. Add your own app…..we charge no setup fee….zero….you will get your app….your own app, connected to Square in real time….settings in Square controlling the app. Some settings done in Espressly system.

Customers can earn in app or by ordering at the counter. 

We can help reduce your labor costs and labor stress. 

You perhaps started in the coffee business because you appreciate the ritual that is coffee. It has a special place for you. The path to being at peace in what you are doing is in help from tech. All offered under your name….not some 3rd party thing. It must be a first party order ahead app….like Starbucks. 

Know what I mean?


Anyway, check us out at espressly.co if you want.


Go here to signup (this is all we need to start)….we ask for no money or payment method. We make your app…with you. Super easy.


You can scroll up and click the orange button that says “Get Demo”…….of course…..

or you can go to this link…same thing. Fill the form and we have what we need. The form asks the right questions of course.

Contact Us

Contact Us

If you are not using Square yet, here you go:





All we need to know is when you have a Square account open….we can sync as you click a big blue button in Square that will come up in your squareup.com account portal (for Square)….that page shows that Espressly is looking to connect. It lists what we will have a real time 2 way sync on in terms of data. Then the work that we have done to build on top of Square takes over. Simple. Nothing more than that….you market your app….tell people to download it in the App Store or on Google Play.. It keeps your menu and all settings accurate….like Starbucks.


Making apps for local shops to run businesses that are more profitable…with less labor….to reduce overall stress….we know that we are part of that equation. We do not take our task lightly. 


A special thank you to our team and to the folks that have believed in our team for a long time….hammering away. Work to be done. On it.


For those we work with…there is one must have that we should seriously add…..in the app of course….


Pup cups.


Then we would have Starbucks level tech in place to make ordering easy…you then just make your higher quality coffee. Customers will shift from Starbucks if you can deliver the same ordering experience via app.  Mando would love a pup cup while out on a ride to get some morning coffee.

That is where we are.

Point of sale is no longer a screen in a store that employees interact with.

The point of sale in today’s busy world is iPhone and Android. Customers are operating the point of sale…we prefer that…it is easier…Easy reorder, saved favorites, saved payment method, digital wallet, in app loyalty….i would rather order in app with all this. I appreciate the loyalty rewards. I do. We all do. 

I am going to start ordering in Starbucks app instead of paying at counter. Will see how this goes…I sense I will continue to use in app ordering. Will give it a go….it is compelling. I hope to be able to work with more great coffee shops and with Square and their tech to advance this….

I don’t happen to have a coffee shop within 10 minutes of me that is not named Starbucks…..if I did, and ordering was all done in app like at Starbucks….I would perhaps not go to Starbucks. I don’t know. Maybe I would alternate. Not sure….would love to find out.


I hope that this is what we provide to people out there. I was looking at the order count from customers yesterday. I noticed that someone that uses the Hansa Coffee app has ordered just about 1,500 times…..I think about that….1,500…that is a lot. The only other app I have ordered that much from is perhaps Amazon. Yup, amazon. That customer is amazing. Thank you customer. We are here for you.


I see all the point of sale companies out there. There are lots of good ones.


At Espressly, we endorse Square at the highest level. My advice to any coffee shop is to use Square. I have found a lot of people that say the cost is too great for Square. I hear it. What if you could have a Starbucks like tech experience while you simply continue to do what you do with your Square account….plus a few other new things that are specific to the app? How much would a system that could handle all that stuff be worth to you in terms of sanity in your business? I think in that scenario…when you factor in Square costs….plus Espressly costs……you are in a much, much more favorable position if it can be executed by all parties.


It can be. You can do it easily. We don’t manage any menu level items, categories etc….on behalf of coffee shops at Espressly. The shops manage all of it….occasionally we are called in to help…..we help ASAP….our development list is commonly halted to work on priority tasks for shops that need something that requires custom coding. Of course we do. Once we clear those priority tasks, we just get back to advancing deeper into Square land. Their tech is second to none. The community that they have built for and with developers is much appreciated and respected in the developer world. A respectable company doing good work…..operating at a profit. Making money. Stable.


Remember….Starbucks….very stable….I put money in their digital wallet systems…..like a bank account.


Moving around with point of sale is not recommended. Avoid at all costs. It is focusing on the wrong problem. The challenge is not saving on processing fees. Moving of money is a “race to the bottom” game….they all have the most competitive rates possible……they all want a piece of that pie. Apple is a beast….they want to be Apple. Square’s tech is very Apple like. 14 years cannot be faked. Jack Dorsey as co-founder.

Have or get Square……

then your app.

A forever app….for coffee shops….that is the plan.


– Joe Capone, CEO and Co-Founder, Espressly Inc.


Brewing Loyalty: The Value and Logic of a Punch Card Loyalty Program in a Coffee Shop’s White Label Order Ahead Mobile App


In today’s fast-paced world, where coffee has become an integral part of our daily routine, coffee shops have sought innovative ways to build customer loyalty and enhance their overall experience. One effective strategy that has gained immense popularity is the implementation of punch card loyalty programs. These programs, often integrated into white label order ahead mobile apps, have drawn inspiration from successful initiatives like Starbucks’ loyalty program. This article explores the value and logic behind a punch card loyalty program in a coffee shop’s mobile app, emphasizing its ability to reward customers, boost brand loyalty, and provide a seamless ordering experience.

The Punch Card Loyalty Program: A Brief Overview

A punch card loyalty program is a rewards system that offers customers incentives for their loyalty and repeated patronage. In this case, it’s adapted to a white label order ahead mobile app for coffee shops. The program typically rewards customers with points, stars, or stamps for every purchase they make, whether it’s through the app or in person. Once a customer accumulates a certain number of points or stars, they can redeem them for free items, discounts, or exclusive perks, all within the convenience of the app or in-store.

Value and Logic Behind the Program

  1. Customer Engagement: The punch card loyalty program engages customers by providing an interactive and rewarding experience. Every time a customer makes a purchase, they are one step closer to a reward, creating a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
  2. Brand Loyalty: Such programs are instrumental in fostering brand loyalty. Customers feel a connection to the coffee shop as they work towards earning rewards. They are more likely to return to the same shop to accumulate more points or stars, thereby building a long-term relationship with the brand.
  3. Data Collection and Personalization: Loyalty programs enable coffee shops to gather valuable data about their customers’ preferences and behaviors. By analyzing this data, coffee shops can tailor their marketing strategies, menu offerings, and promotions to cater to individual customer tastes.
  4. Seamless Ordering Experience: Integrating the loyalty program into a white label order ahead mobile app streamlines the ordering process. Customers can place their orders in advance, skip the queue, and enjoy their favorite brew faster. The added convenience keeps customers coming back.
  5. Word-of-Mouth Marketing: Satisfied customers who benefit from the loyalty program are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends and family. This word-of-mouth marketing can attract new customers and expand the coffee shop’s loyal customer base.
  6. Competitive Advantage: In a highly competitive coffee industry, offering a punch card loyalty program sets a coffee shop apart from the competition. It demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction and appreciation, which can be a compelling reason for customers to choose one coffee shop over another.
  7. Boosting Sales: Loyalty programs encourage repeat business, increasing the average customer’s lifetime value. By rewarding customers for their loyalty, coffee shops can expect higher sales and revenue growth.
  8. Cost-Effective Marketing: Traditional advertising and marketing campaigns can be expensive. In contrast, loyalty programs are a cost-effective way to retain existing customers and encourage them to spend more. The cost of providing free items or discounts is often outweighed by the increased revenue from repeat customers.


Incorporating a punch card loyalty program into a white label order ahead mobile app, much like Starbucks’ successful initiative, is a win-win strategy for coffee shops and their customers. It fosters brand loyalty, encourages customer engagement, and provides a seamless and convenient ordering experience. Furthermore, it enables data-driven personalization and word-of-mouth marketing, giving coffee shops a competitive edge in the industry.

As coffee lovers continue to seek their daily caffeine fix, these loyalty programs offer the perfect blend of rewards and convenience, ensuring customers keep coming back for that special cup of coffee and the enticing perks that come with it.


Starbucks, the iconic coffeehouse chain, is renowned not only for its delicious coffee but also for its innovative approach to customer loyalty programs. Over the years, the company has developed a cutting-edge mobile app and accompanying loyalty program that has revolutionized the way we order and enjoy coffee. In this article, we’ll take a journey through the history of the Starbucks Loyalty Program offered in their mobile app, tracing its evolution from its inception to its current state.

Birth of Starbucks Rewards

The Starbucks Loyalty Program, originally called Starbucks Rewards, was officially launched in 2009. At the time, it was a simple, point-based system. Customers could earn stars with each purchase and redeem them for free drinks and food items. However, this initial version had some limitations, such as requiring customers to register physical Starbucks cards and check their rewards status online.

Mobile App Integration

In 2011, Starbucks took a significant step forward by integrating the loyalty program with its mobile app. This move allowed customers to easily manage their rewards, check their balance, and make payments using the app. It also introduced the concept of mobile ordering, which was a game-changer in the coffee industry.

Digital Wallet and Payment Integration

One of the defining features of the Starbucks mobile app is its integration with digital wallets. In 2012, Starbucks partnered with Square to enable customers to make mobile payments through the app, which made transactions more convenient and faster. This also marked an early foray into mobile payment technology, setting the stage for the digital payment revolution that was to come.

Personalized Offers and Promotions

Starbucks didn’t stop at mobile payments; they aimed to create a more personalized experience for their customers. In 2013, they began offering personalized recommendations and promotions based on customers’ previous orders and preferences. This not only enhanced the customer experience but also encouraged more frequent visits and purchases.

My Starbucks Rewards: A Tiered Approach

As the program continued to evolve, Starbucks introduced a tiered system in 2016, renaming it “My Starbucks Rewards.” Customers could now achieve different levels of membership (Green, Gold, and Starbucks Reserve) by earning stars. Each tier came with its own set of benefits, including free refills, birthday rewards, and access to exclusive events. This tiered approach increased customer engagement and loyalty.

Mobile Order and Pay

In 2015, Starbucks unveiled the “Mobile Order and Pay” feature, allowing customers to place orders through the app and pick them up at their chosen store without waiting in line. This innovative feature addressed a common pain point for customers and significantly improved the in-store experience.

Partnerships and Expanding Rewards

Starbucks didn’t limit its loyalty program to its own stores. In 2018, the company formed partnerships with other brands, allowing customers to earn stars at these partner locations and redeem rewards at Starbucks. This expanded the reach and appeal of the loyalty program, making it even more attractive to customers.

The Sustainability Angle

As consumers became more environmentally conscious, Starbucks incorporated sustainability initiatives into its loyalty program. In 2020, the company introduced the “Greener Apron” program, which allowed customers to earn extra stars for making sustainable choices like using a reusable cup.

The Present and Future of Starbucks Rewards

Today, the Starbucks Rewards program stands as a shining example of customer-centric innovation. The mobile app provides a seamless and highly personalized experience for customers, from ordering and payment to loyalty rewards and promotions. Starbucks continues to evolve the program, integrating emerging technologies and catering to changing consumer preferences.


The history of the Starbucks Loyalty Program offered in their mobile app is a story of continuous innovation and customer-centricity. What began as a simple rewards system has transformed into a comprehensive digital ecosystem that not only enhances the coffee-buying experience but also fosters customer loyalty. With Starbucks’ commitment to staying at the forefront of technology and customer engagement, it’s safe to say that the future of their loyalty program will be just as exciting as its past.