How Think Coffee Successfully Reintroduced Reusables Post-Pandemic

Since opening its first coffee shop in 2006, Think Coffee has had a strong ideology on “thinking” about where coffee comes from and how to contribute to a better world. Every coffee they sell funds a project that benefits the farming community from building houses to providing clean water.

Think Coffee joined the HuskeeSwap program in 2019 as they strongly believe in reducing unnecessary waste and absolutely disliked walking past garbage cans filled with their branded disposable coffee cups. The team at Think Coffee wanted a solution that was convenient for their customers while representing their brand values.

In 2019, Think Coffee saw up to 20 HuskeeSwap customers through each of its 10 cafes across New York City every day. As a business that’s philosophy is built around reducing waste, this was a very important initiative that was implemented. That all ended abruptly in 2020 when the pandemic hit. For the next two years, reusable coffee cups were not welcomed in coffee shops across the globe.

Prior to the pandemic, the use of reusables across cafes and restaurants was steadily ramping up, but COVID-19 put a halt to that momentum. The perception that single-use cups and cutlery would reduce the spread of COVID-19 meant that reusable coffee cups were black-listed at cafes across the globe almost overnight, despite recommendations to the contrary.

In early 2022, after almost 2 years of not accepting reusables, Think Coffee received a lot of comments and questions from regular customers on when they were planning to begin accepting reusable coffee cups again. That pressure from customers, along with having the team bandwidth to do so, encouraged Think Coffee to reintroduce the HuskeeSwap program.

Since reimplementing HuskeeSwap, Think Coffee has achieved 5 to 20 swaps per day at each of its 10 cafes across New York City. 

Alongside the reduction in cost of purchasing single-use coffee cups, Think Coffee also profits off the retailed HuskeeCups sold in store which offsets the operational cost of washing cups. Another unforeseen benefit of reimplementing HuskeeSwap is that staff, who drink coffee throughout the day, are no longer using single-use cups for their personal use.

At the end of the day, it’s down to a cafe’s customers to drive change and that’s exactly what happened across all Think Coffee’s New York cafes.

If you're a cafe owner or manager who’s considering an alternative to disposable coffee cups, get in touch with us at Huskee today and discover the benefits of HuskeeSwap for yourself.