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Google Apps helps Philz Coffee focus on brewing the perfect cup

Posted by Jacob Jaber, President, Philz Coffee

Editor’s Note: To celebrate National Coffee Day, today’s guest blogger is Jacob Jaber, President for Philz Coffee based in California.

In the late 1970s, my father Phil experimented with coffee blending at a grocery store on the corner of Folsom and 24th in San Francisco’s Mission district. He combined beans of multiple origins and brewed them one cup at a time. Since then, “Philz Coffee” has opened up seven more locations, hired 120 employees, and garnered a very loyal following. By this time next year, we expect to have six more locations and twice the number of employees so it’s very important that our operations and systems keep up.

We decided to check out Google Apps because our old system tied us to individual computers and wasn’t user friendly. In 20 minutes I set up Google Apps, gave everyone their usernames and passwords, and our 30 managers across all store locations were instantly connected. From day one, we’ve used chat in Gmail to ask quick questions, just like we would if we were all in the same room. I can now go on any computer in the world and it feels like I’m in the office, without actually needing to be in the office.

Google Docs has been critical to how we work. We recently streamlined our supply chain operations, and it was very helpful to have all the planning notes in a doc, allowing the different branch managers to edit at the same time, in the same version. We also created different docs to improve the freshness of our coffee beans by tracking how long they stay in the warehouse. We do a lot of qualitative reporting at Philz too, so we’re creating a Docs template that will help us aggregate customer reviews, form focus categories, make priority lists, and establish timelines.

With Google Calendar, my assistant doesn’t waste time managing my schedule because it’s so easy for me to do it myself. For monthly management meetings, I can see everyone’s calendar, select a time that works, and easily change it later or send out updates to attendees via email. There’s no more back and forth—everything just happens much quicker. With Google Search built right into Gmail and Docs, I can find what I’m looking for almost instantly. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was written or read.

I know that Google Apps will innovate, grow with us, and let me focus on brewing the perfect cup of coffee. It’s good for us now, and it’ll be good for us when we have 1,000 employees, too.