Trail Meets Coffeeangel's Karl Purdy

In our new series, we're putting operations in the spotlight. Getting unique insights from the front line. Today we're interviewing Coffeeangel's Karl Purdy.
Caroline Joyce
Sep 2023
4 min read

Coffeeangel brews, serves and supplies some of the best coffee in Ireland (that’s not an exaggeration, they have awards to prove it).

What does it take to be the best? In our latest interview, we speak to Karl Purdy, the Managing Director and owner of Coffeeangel, to find out how he built this smooth operation.

Karl shares how his team uses technology to maintain brand standards and monitor their equipment to save time, money (and stress).

What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is completely different. At the moment I’m going in at 6:30am every morning, to help open our stores.

I help with prepping online orders, then I check our tech to make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. And then it’s about dealing with any customer issues and firefighting.

What is your biggest challenge?

I think the biggest challenge is staying relevant, and giving the customers what they want before they realise they want it. Solving their problem before it’s a problem. And always trying to be one step ahead, to make sure the business doesn’t stagnate.  

What has been your biggest challenge at work during Covid-19?

I think the biggest challenge has been making sure both the team and customers feel safe whilst weathering the storm.

When bringing our team members back, it was important to have systems and checks in place that had a purpose. And often those same processes made customers feel safe when they too started filtering through the doors—they could see temperature checks were being taken, that counters were being wiped, etc.

How do you use technology at Coffeangel?

I like to consider myself an early adopter. But I also try to be pragmatic; I think technology needs to have a tangible role and value-add, whether that’s to me as the business owner or to our teams in terms of making their lives easier.

We also look to technology to enhance the customer experience—does it make us more consistent? Faster? Does it give our teams time to focus on customer service?

The challenge with all this technology is realising that sometimes less is more.

Why did you implement Trail; what were the main problems you wanted to solve?

I’ve been balancing all of these CSVs, spreadsheets and PDFs for years...stuff just comes at me from all directions.

I wanted our record keeping to be digital, to get rid of both paper and that panic at the month end of “oh I haven’t done my fridge logs”. Trail makes sure that you can’t miss anything, and obviously that’s so important for compliance.

Trail also helps us with task management—when you have multiple sites, you need to make sure your teams are doing the same tasks efficiently and consistently. Trail takes the pressure off managers; everything is laid out for your teams, so there’s less room for error.

What are the most valuable tasks you use on Trail?

If you run a high volume operation like we attempt to do, steaming milk is always the thing that slows down service.

A few years ago we bought an incredible milk machine to speed up our operation. But Irish milk is high in fat and protein and is a kryptonite to the machine.

We used Trail to build a record log for daily monitoring. To measure how it’s performing, and whether it’s been cleaned properly.

The first year that we had the machine, it must have broken 5-6 times. Since Trail, we haven’t had a breakdown in over 4 years, which has saved us a lot of money.

Coffeangel customer testimonial

What customers are saying

"I f****** love Trail, it's taking my businesses to the next level."
Josh Paterson
"We rarely provide training to our guys, they just bought into the idea straight away. I love that I have a full visual of everyone's activity in front of me."
Katrin Toots
Compliance Manager
“It’s not a paper diary that’s covered in barbecue sauce. We have clarity over what’s done in our sites and are confident going into our audits.”
Jay Brown
“The EHO visited almost every site last year and every store was given a five star rating."
Jay Brown
Operations Chef
"We turned our Costa Checks and various compliance forms into regular tasks on Trail, which has contributed to some of the best scores we have had."
Delroy Daniels
Operations Director
"Our teams love it, it gives our managers of all levels absolute clarity on what they need to achieve every day."
James Brown
Operations Director

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