Gwilym’s disloyalty card

Let me start by saying that this has to be one of the best ideas I’ve seen in ages.  I’m very pleased and very excited by this.

Gwilym Davies – you know, the current World Barista Champion – has come up with a rather splendid card: the disloyalty card.

The idea is simple:  If you go and drink coffee at 8 interesting, quality focused cafes around (mostly) East London then he will say thank you by making you a coffee for free.

(click to embiggen)

I just think this is brilliant.  There is no catch, it isn’t some cunning ruse to sell more coffee.  It might work if one roaster supplied all the places on the card – but there is a complete mix from Burgil to Union, from Square Mile to Nude’s in house espresso.  Gwilym just wants people to go and try coffee in different places.

This man is a great ambassador for coffee.

So swing by Prufrock Coffee in Present at 140 Shoreditch High Street, grab a card and then have a little tour of some great cafes around Central and East London.  There is one of the best baristas in the world at the end of it, waiting to give you a delicious drink to say thank you.  Superb.

95 Comments

  1. This is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve seen in the coffee biz in quite some time. I’m totally stealing this idea for Vancouver, if local cafes want to come on board.

  2. Fantastic idea Gwilym!
    How about an international card next??

  3. Awesomeness! This is precisely the sort of thing which I’ve been unrepentant in advocating for years. Strong work, Mr Davies. East London, baby!

  4. This is quite possibly one of the best idea’s I have ever seen. I love it. We need to bring this to Vancouver!!!

  5. Pure Genius!

    “Loyalty cards” usually put me off & I am sometimes tempted to black ban said venue, but this is a concept I find very attractive.

    Curious to see if someone in Melbourne would have the balls to carry out a similar (/selfless) program for the good of the industry.

  6. I give it about a month until a chain somewhere adopts and bastardizes the idea. By the way, “embiggen?”

  7. “embiggen” is a simpsons creation don’t know if it has made real word status yet though.

  8. Yeah, Starbucks will do it. Visit all 32,495,044 stores worldwide and get a free muffin with your next purchase.

  9. Visionary!

    Well done Gwilym.

    The East End scene has exploded recently and this is a great thing for London and coffee lovers from all over the world.

  10. the dis-loyalty card is a brilliant kick in the guts for loyalty cards that focus people on FREE rather than paying a reasonable price for a coffee thats an amazing experience. This will go viral.Credit where credits due.

  11. I love the notion of encouraging people to visit multiple coffee shops in an area, but i think the notion of sellig it as a disloyalty card is kinda dumb. Celebration of diversity ain’t quite disloyalty. And loyalty doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

    I love BRILL in Exmouth Market. BEST coffee that side of old street round about and I go there daily. I go to support them, not because I get a freebie, but I would be dumb not to, and I support them by my on-going custom.

    Supporting more than 1 shop by raising their custom isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Counter-culture died int he 60’s you have to think consumerism these days :(

  12. great idea Gwilym…. I wonder if any quality restaurants will follow suit?

  13. What a fantastic idea. Just a thought, how about printing up a batch in June and handing them out to all the attendees at the WBC in order to give them a chance to crawl round Londons cafes? Perhaps as an insert in the programmes. Im sure the guys from Barista magazine would be up for that if they do the programmes again.

  14. Lovely. This is one of the reasons why I want to come to London for a coffee tour. Until that comes around, I’ll be sending my friends. :)

  15. It’s refreshing to see things like this! Why not ‘share the wealth’ so to speak. If you are dedicated to your craft, and you provide your customers with quality they will come back for more. It is an exceptional service to the customer to point out other quality driven cafés. Whether or not this is a calculated marketing technique or not, it will prove to be beneficial for Mr. Davies’ own business!

  16. This is great idea, but I can’t help but tell you how much im loving all the cafe names around london they all sound so good. My 6th cafe is callled cool beans and I think I want to change it for something more original.

  17. I don’t think calling it a disloyalty card is dumb, I think it is a very quick and easy way of communicating what the card/idea is.

    This isn’t about commerce – it is about an ambassador for an industry celebrating its growing community. It gets people talking about coffee in (East) London and hopefully exploring it a bit more. In the end those doing a good job will benefit.

  18. A couple of weeks ago we thought, how it would be great, if our regular customers could have a free cup of coffee while travelling abroad.
    The idea was to make a list of recommended coffeeshops, where we have been or we know owners, and we are sure of coffee quality. We believe this program will be a kind of educational program, it will show difference in espresso culture, trends, and will help us to establish new brewing methods and tastes profile. Besides we do know how it is difficult to find good place, good cup of coffee when you are abroad.
    Customer would receive the list, some kind of, “Country…City…Coffee shop…Address…”. To get a free cup of coffee in one of these best world coffee shops, customer would have to show the loyalty card of ours.

  19. great idea. and since they would end at his shop and present the card, he’d make sure his was the best cup of their trip. i once went to a shop in my city and the barista did everything wrong (didnt even tamp). and after handing me my latte, she said “this will be the best latte you’ve ever had” and i thought, maybe if it were my first. i’m glad to see a barista who recognizes and encourages customer comparisons.

  20. I love the idea of the disloyalty card. I hope these are around for my next visit to London. What a great way to get to sample London’s coffee hot spots and get a freebie at the end! You might like to check out my caffe latte blog and see the range of weird and wonderful caffe lattes one can experience in Australia and beyond. http://caffelatteexperiences.blogspot.com/

  21. Brilliant – hopefully this will encourage places like starbucks to learn how to make nice coffee – and stop burning the milk!! (Maybe there should be a staff swap training for the chains with a card like this for the coffees made successfully at different coffee shops. )***Best Coffee places in London Bridge are Monmouth & the tasting room***

  22. The really clever part is that when novices have done the tour they may haveacquired a knowledgeable palate for seriously good coffee and will appreciate the barista-masters brew on another level. So clever! I love this idea.

  23. Only saw this now. What a great idea. I would go even further and log these coffee spots on google or put a map on the backside of this card.

    Fantastic…..

    Regards,
    Nana.

  24. Brilliant idea, if you ever do an international version, we are in Dordrecht, Netherlands !!!!

  25. I am a barista and coffee roaster in Colorado. My dad is a captain for United Airlines and makes London a very frequent layover destination. I passed along the info about Gwilym’s card and he took up the challenge. He spent all day today going to the shops. I must live vicariously through him for now! It looks like he had a lot of fun and a lot of great espresso!

  26. Thats an amazing idea! Unfortunatly If I did this in North Devon there would just be our place on there. Oh dear.

    Lee

  27. Its a shame though that not all of these places sell decaffeinated coffee – why not?

  28. I can’t speak for anyone on the card but finding a decaf bean of a good quality is quite a struggle…..what is the demand in London?

  29. Gary, yes we would be up for it! And yes, Barista magazine is indeed producing programs for the WBC again this year. I’ll talk to Cindy about it!

  30. Looks like the Aussies have come to the party now too :D

    Cafes: @sevenamcafe & @StudioMovida are organising BeanThere for the ultimate Melbourne coffee experience.

    Melbourne cafes who want to be involved, check out http://www.beantheretour.com for more info!

  31. I used to work with Gwilym many years ago when he was one of the Managers of Cuppa-Cino in Clapham junction station (when we really cared about the coffee!) with Jorge of ‘Fernandez and Wells’.
    We had an artisan take on Espresso even when people were sweating to catch their train (we held many a train to get the person and their drink on board in time! Ah the good old slam-doors!)
    I saw an article on Gwilym when he’d won the Championship, I was well impressed!
    I’d like to get in touch with him to give him my congrats and to make a coffee or two as well, but he’s a hard man to find. Any tips on finding him would be greatly appreciated… other than staking out his shop and coffee cart… I’m not down with stalker behaviour!

  32. Climpsons does a great decaf Flat White.
    I go decaf when I have had a full strength and want another hit of that lovely silky expereience, but need to keep a few slots on my daily coffee quota for later in the day.

  33. Great idea. Most of those cafes are though from Bloomsbury to Barbican not East London….

  34. Thank you James for posting this concept and of course Gwilym! Seattle area coffee shops are just about to release our version of this brilliant idea. We LOVE it!

  35. I don’t know what I like more – the card concept or the fact that there’s a coffee joint called Prufrock Coffee in London. Brilliant.

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