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Food Lifestyle

How do you ‘Give Love’ on Christmas? Let Bo’s Coffee count the ways

The song “Give Love On Christmas Day” talks about trying to find a present that is better than anything you get from a store.

At Bo’s Coffee, the holidays are all about “Give Love,” as coffee lovers can find ways to show love for others in different forms and ways.

The Filipino-owned chain of coffee shops recently launched its holiday campaign, which urges people to spend time with loved ones over through get-togethers, celebrations over a sumptuous feast, and gift giving.

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Feature Food Tech

Bo’s Coffee launches advance ordering system via Facebook Messenger

Order your favorite caffeine fix from Bo’s Coffee even when you’re still on your way so that it’s ready for you when you arrive.

All you need to do is look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks. After picking your drink and choosing your payment option, you will be informed how many minutes it would take to get your order ready and again when it is.

The system has been rolled out in 47 mostly company-owned Bo’s Coffee outlets across the Philippines, including 19 in Cebu.

SKIP THE COFFEE ORDER LINE. Bo’s Coffee allows you to order in advance via Facebook Messenger and pick it up at the store.

SKIP THE COFFEE ORDER LINE. Bo’s Coffee allows you to order in advance via Facebook Messenger and pick it up at the store.

Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez said during the launch of the Advance Ordering BOTTY in Cebu that the move is intended to enhance the customer experience and a means by which he intended to bring his homegrown coffee chain to the future.

Bo’s Coffee tech innovations

“As we reach our 25-year mark, we want to cater to the fast-paced lifestyle of our customers. We want to make your daily coffee runs simpler, faster, and more accessible so you have more time for more important things in life – your passions, your advocacies, and your relationships,” added Benitez, who is President and CEO of WS & Landin, Inc., the corporation behind Bo’s Coffee.

The Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY is just the first of several technology innovations that are on the pipeline for Benetiz’s coffee shop chain.

BETTER EXPERIENCE. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez says they deployed Facebook Messenger chatbot to enhance the experience of their customers.

BETTER EXPERIENCE. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez says they deployed Facebook Messenger chatbot to enhance the experience of their customers.

According to Benitez, the goal is to integrate Bo’s Coffee rewards and even delivery services to Messenger-based system through Grab Express.

Digital payment options

While the Advance Ordering BOTTY allows customers to pay cash, its secure and cashless digital payment options through PayMaya as well as credit and debit cards (Visa and Mastercard) allow customers to really skip the line, according to Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme.

“In a developing world like ours, we have to do all we can to optimize our efforts and save time,” she added.

CHATBOT LAUNCH. Speaking during the press conference to launch the Bo’s Coffee Facebook Messenger chatbot are (from left) Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme, founder Steve Benitez, and developer Cary Gee.

CHATBOT LAUNCH. Speaking during the press conference to launch the Bo’s Coffee Facebook Messenger chatbot are (from left) Bo’s Coffee COO Rachel Fallarme, founder Steve Benitez, and developer Cary Gee.

By paying via the system, customers can park curbside in strategic stand alone branches, get their coffee, and continue on with their day. Payment options like Grabpay and GCash will also be available soon.

Some of the Bo’s Coffee branches with the Advance Ordering BOTTY include Capitol, Banilad Town Center, Filinvest Cyberzone, Ayala Center branches, SM City Cebu branches, SM Seaside, and Mactan Domestic and International Airports.

CHAT TO ORDER. Look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks.

CHAT TO ORDER. Look up Bo’s Coffee Advance Ordering BOTTY on Facebook Messenger and follow the instructions for getting your preferred hot or cold drinks.

Consumer market patterns

System developer Cary Gee, who was also present during the launch in Bo’s Coffee Capitol Branch last July 25, 2019, said the Advance Ordering BOTTY was initially developed for the Singaporean market.

He decided to bring the system to the Philippines when he saw similar patterns in the two consumer markets, both of which are fast-paced, in need of personalization while skipping the queue, and has a good percentage using Messenger instead of downloaded apps.

TRYING IT OUT. Ka Bino Guerrero tries out the Bo’s Coffee chatbot to order drinks.

TRYING IT OUT. Ka Bino Guerrero tries out the Bo’s Coffee chatbot to order drinks.

The system keeps a record of orders and helps the coffee shop push the right promotions to customers. It can also be used to engage customers for rewards purposes.

While it was created with customers in mind, the system will also free up some tasks for coffee shop employees.

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Business Lifestyle

Bo’s Coffee turns Capitol branch into tribute store

Bo’s Coffee, a brand known for its promotion of Filipino coffee, has opened its first tribute store in its hometown in Cebu.

A tribute store, according to founder Steve Benitez, is a flagship branch that offers people a new coffee experience. He said the concept took 3 years to plan and was meant to “showcase the best of what we offer.”

The company picked Bo’s Coffee Capitol branch – the first Bo’s outlet, explained Benitez – for its first tribute store because it is “about paying tribute to our roots here in Cebu.”

Bo's Coffee Capitol Steve Benitez
SHOWCASE THE BEST. Bo’s Coffee founder Steve Benitez discusses the concept behind the tribute store during opening of the first such branch – Bo’s Coffee Capitol.

 

Bo’s Coffee expansion

Benitez founded Bo’s Coffee in 1996 and has since expanded throughout the country. It recently expanded overseas by opening 5 stores in Qatar. Bo’s plans to have 200 stores and be present in 5 countries by 2020.

Central to the tribute store concept is the coffee bar. Specially trained baristas are able to prepare coffee using Philippine beans in various ways – from cold drip to pour over.

Cold drip coffee
COLD DRIP COFFEE. Potent brew that takes about 8 hours to prepare. This one you drink on ice.

 

“The tribute store is where you can experience the best coffee in the Philippines,” he said.

It serves coffee made from coffee beans handpicked in Sagada, Benguet; Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon; Mount Matutum in South Cotabato; and Mount Apo.

Purple Midnight Bo's Coffee
PURPLE MIDNIGHT. Tasty iced tea with wild hibiscus and blue ternate. This you must try.

 

Bo’s coffee bar

“Our version of a perfect blend is not only the sensuous taste and aroma of Philippine coffee but also the overall presentation of Philippine culture – its indigenous and nearly forgotten products, Filipino music and artistry, and even Philippine-grown tea,” Benitez said in a press statement.

Apart from just preparing your drink, the baristas at the tribute store’s bar can interact with customers and talk coffee with them.

Benitez said they are trying out the concept here with the plan of replicating it in other areas such as Manila.

Bo's Coffee
COFFEE BAR. At the bar, you can order coffee made from Philippine beans and prepared various ways by specially trained baristas.

 

“We will continue to work on giving the best customer experience,” Benitez said.

The store also highlights products by social enterprises they partnered with. The interiors highlight the work of local artisans such as renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

Bo's Coffee Steve Benitez
BEST OF THE PHILIPPINES. Steve Benitez says the tribute store is the company’s way to “showcase the best of Philippine artistry and talent.”

 

“We want to showcase the best of Philippine artistry and talent in the most ambitious project we ever had. The tribute store will be the commemoration and statement of the brand’s promise that this homegrown brand will continue to pave empowerment to the communities we serve,” Benitez added.

Bo’s Capitol has 300 square meters of space and can seat up to 110 persons. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

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DigitalNomad Feature On the go

Bo’s Coffee in Island Central Mactan: Digital Nomad Cebu Hotspot

The latest Cebu branch of the Philippine coffee chain is a cozy two-storey location in a new mall in Lapu-Lapu City- the Island Central Mactan. We went there when it was newly-opened and so it wasn’t as crowded as most coffee shops are in the city.

On the ground floor of Bo’s Coffee in Island Central Mactan is a long and high table that can be a good place to work on, especially for a group of friends or colleagues. It has a number of power outlets that should be enough to handle several laptops and other gadgets.

Bo's Coffee Island Central Mactan
BO’S COFFEE ISLAND CENTRAL MACTAN. This branch is open from 6 a.m. until midnight.

Ample power outlets

There are a few more tables on the ground floor as well as outside the cafe. Both the ground and second floors have ample power outlets. While not all tables have sockets, there are more than what is available in your average cafe.

The visually appealing industrial finish of the ceiling, however, turns the 2nd floor into an echo chamber that can be quite distracting when you work. Voices and laughter are amplified. Whenever the barista pounds on the filter of the coffee machine to clean it, you’d think someone was operating a jackhammer. Still, the noise can be cancelled out by a decent headphone playing Vivaldi close to the maximum volume.

Bo’s Coffee Island Central Mactan
ECHO CHAMBER. Noise is amplified on the 2nd floor and could be quite distracting if you’re working on something.

Average WiFi connection

The coffee shop’s free WiFi connection is about average – repeated Speedtest checks logged download speeds of about 2 Mbps and upload speeds of .253 Mbps. The area, however, has good Smart LTE coverage and you’re better off using an LTE device or your phone as portable hotspot.

The cafe has enough parking spaces since it is located in a mall. Island Central’s basement parking, however, is still undergoing works and can be difficult and tight to maneuver.

The coffee shop opens daily at 6 a.m. and closes at midnight.

Your other options in the immediate area are the nearby Starbucks in Marina Mall, Coffee Way a little farther away and the Uke Hub Cafe, which has been generating quite a buzz (we’ll write about it in a future post). Nothing outstanding will make you choose this coffee shop over the nearby locations. Of the coffee shops in the vicinity, however, Coffee Way stands out for being open beyond midnight.

Bo’s Coffee Island Central Mactan
POWER OUTLETS. While not all tables have power outlets, there are more than what is available in your average cafe.

BO’S COFFEE ISLAND CENTRAL MACTAN
DIGITAL NOMAD HOTSPOT RATING: 8.14 out of 10

Connectivity: 7
The cafe’s free Wi-Fi connection offers average to below average speeds. The area, however, has strong Smart LTE signal.

Power source: 8.5
The cafe has ample power outlets for its users.

Work ambience: 8
Second floor can be noisy

Coffee: 8.5

Food: 8.5

Parking: 8.5

CR: 8
It doesn’t have its own CR. You can use the mall’s CR, which are, as of this writing, clean and well-maintained.

(Are you a digital nomad? Have you worked here? Share your experience in a comment below.)

Categories
Places

#DigitalNomad hotspot: Bo’s Coffee in Datag, Maribago

This branch of Bo’s Coffee is at the center of the tourism enclave in Datag, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City. It is a veritable Republic of Korea, with the sprouting of foreign, mostly Korean, shops and restaurants and the influx of droves upon busloads of Korean tourists.

But whenever we need to work outside the house but still stay in Lapu-Lapu City and away from the horrific, energy-sucking and productivity-killing traffic of Mandaue City, our top choice is this coffee shop located in a small commercial complex less than a kilometer away from JPark Island Resort and Waterpark.

Bo's Coffee in Datag Maribago
BO’S COFFEE IN DATAG, MARIBAGO. This branch of the popular Cebu-based coffee chain is a recommended Digital Nomad hotspot: great coffee, good food, strong wireless Internet and a quiet environment for work.

Four things make Bo’s Coffe in Datag, Maribago a great location for #DigitalNomad work:

1) Great connectivity (cafe Wi-Fi is pretty decent and there is strong and stable Smart LTE signal. Note: Smart LTE is our benchmark because it’s the one we use).

2) It has a good cafe environment for work. There are no loud-mouthed customers screaming at each other while talking and the piped-in music isn’t too loud.

3) It has great-tasting coffee. Bo’s Coffee prides itself with the quality of their products and doesn’t disappoint.

4) It has good food. The cafe serves good food choices. We love its croissants.

The couple of times we were at the coffee shop, it wasn’t too crowded or too noisy. We were productive there: writing stories we needed to finish on deadline and coding some apps we were working on.

Bo's Coffee in Datag, Maribago
WHERE WE WORK. Bo’s Coffee in Datag, Maribago is one of our favorite spots for an afternoon of writing or coding.

DIGITAL NOMAD HOTSPOT RATING: 8.5 out of 10

Connectivity: 9
The café’s Wi-Fi offers good speed. Site has strong Smart LTE signal.

Power source: 8
The cafe has ample power outlets for its users. But it doesn’t offer as many outlets as Figaro, which seems to be the standard when it comes to cafe power sources in Cebu.

Work ambience: 9
Cafe isn’t noisy the times we were there.

Coffee: 8
Good tasting coffee. They feature coffees brewed from beans grown in several coffee-growing areas of the country like Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, Benguet and Mt. Kitanglad.

Food: 8
Bo’s serves good food. Our favorite is its croissants.

Parking: 8
The building where it is located has parking for about 10 vehicles, enough on a slow day but a challenge when the cafe is packed.

CR: 8
It doesn’t have its own CR but the shared facility is clean and accessible.

(Are you a digital nomad? Have you worked here? Share your experience in a comment below.)