With Dripos, it's no tall order running a coffee shop

The more Jack Pawlik talked to coffee shop owners, the more he heard the same thing: what they really needed was an all-in-one app to run their business.

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When people tell Justin Shepherd it’s their dream to open a coffee shop, he cautions them: the work is rewarding but far from simple.

“If your dream is to have a coffee shop where you sit there and hang out all day, well, that’s not what it’s like at all,” said Shepherd, owner of Spencer’s Coffee, which has three locations in Bowling Green, Kentucky. “To do it well, it becomes your life.”

From online ordering and delivery systems to managing staff, scheduling, inventory, and payroll, coffee shop owners have a lot to juggle before they pull their first espresso shot. They rely on an array of software to streamline that work, but those products create problems of their own: each requires a separate login, many carry subscription fees, and it is hard to sync data across them.

Then there's Dripos.

Founded in 2019 by Jack Pawlik and Avery Durant, Dripos began as a mobile ordering app for independent coffee shops. It had some success, but eventually Pawlik realized they were just adding another app to the glut of software that owners were already using. The more he talked to owners, the more he heard the same thing: what they really needed was an all-in-one app for coffee shops.

Pawlik recognized that to create it, he’d have to do more than talk to owners. So he spent months working as a barista, for free, at Cafe Social in Madison, Wisconsin—Dripos’s first user.

“I would get to work at 6:00 a.m.,” recalled Pawlik. “I was keeping notes all day: this feature isn’t working the way it should or this button should be moved here. I’d leave work at
4:00 p.m., and then Avery would code in the changes I suggested overnight, and I’d go back to the store the next morning, and we’d do it all again.”

The ground-level research paid off. Pawlik and Durrant succeeded in building something owners and employees actually want to use: a single app that combines an intuitive POS for in-person and online orders, powerful management tools, and simple administrative and accounting features.

Word spread quickly. In a few years, Dripos has grown its user base from that one coffee shop Pawlik worked at, to hundreds across the country. Over the past year the platform has processed hundreds of millions of dollars in payments with Stripe, through both mobile ordering and in-store sales using Stripe Terminal. Dripos was an early adopter of Stripe Reader S700, Stripe’s Android-based smart reader for countertop and handheld use, which allows coffee shops to build custom workflows and merge their online and in-person payments experiences.

“Stripe played a very big part in us being a company in the first place,” said Pawlik. “When we made a decision to do POS, it was because we saw Stripe Terminal being released. Stripe is what enables us to do mobile, in-person, and online sales, all in one system.”

In addition to processing payments with Stripe, Dripos uses Stripe Connect to onboard customers easily to the platform. Dripos is also in the process of rolling out Stripe Capital to provide coffee shop owners with fast access to loans at a fixed rate, which they can use to grow their businesses. And Dripos is in the early stages of a Stripe Treasury integration, empowering coffee shop owners to use the platform to hold funds, pay bills, earn yield, and manage cash flow.

“Stripe makes it possible for us to do so much on our own platform,” said Pawlik. “It allows us to pick off so many of the things our customers might leave Dripos for, and keep them in our system.”