Future 50: Paddy & Scott’s ready to reopen – with a difference

Ipswich coffee company Paddy & Scott's

Ready to reopen: (l-r) Paddy & Scott's MD Jon Reed, operations director Zoe Hill and founder Scott Russell - Credit: Paddy & Scott's

The Ipswich-based ethical coffee company is putting people ahead of profit as it prepares for the reopening of the hospitality sector.

For all hospitality businesses, 2020 was a tough year – but Future 50 member Paddy and Scott’s is positive about the future. With the phased return of hospitality – which started outside on April 12 and moves indoors from today – the Ipswich-based coffee company is ready to restart.

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The Future 50 programme is supported by the partner businesses - Credit: Archant

It won’t be business as usual, though. “When the world comes back into hospitality there’s going to be a huge pent-up demand, but I think customer expectations will be much higher,” says MD Jon Reed. “The companies that are focused on great service and great craft will be the ones that go onto bigger and better things.”

Ipswich coffee shop Paddy & Scott's

Inside the cafe at Ambition House, Paddy & Scott's flagship location in Ipswich - Credit: Paddy & Scott's

“Consumers will be more demanding – and I love that challenge,” says operations director Zoe Hill. “When we reopen our flagship coffee shop on the waterfront in Ipswich on May 17, we are giving out 1,000 free cups of coffee as a thank-you to our loyal guests and introducing beautiful artisan doughnuts and bagels, all freshly made on site every morning.”

After being forced to close every coffee shop in 2020 and furloughing all staff, there is lots to do – but clawing back money is not top of the Paddy & Scott’s agenda. Instead, the focus will be on the team, the community and the customers first, with profit second. 

Paddy & Scott's ethical coffee

Paddy & Scott's aims to use coffee to make the world a better place, not just to make money - Credit: Paddy & Scott's

“A year is a long time to endure so much instability and peoples' priorities have changed,” Jon says, explaining that staff will have the chance to craft new roles within the business. “We want our team to be in the jobs they want to be in, so they come back safe, confident and raring to go.

“The past year has given us an opportunity to really kick the tyres of the business and refocus on what we're well known for: producing beautiful coffee to fuel the ambitions of coffee famers and their families around the world," he says. “Ironically, we’ve had a really productive period and probably delivered three year’s worth of change programme in the space of a few months.”

During lockdown the firm launched an eCommerce site – www.paddyanscotts.shop - to sell its coffee direct to the consumer. “Growth has been 2,200% in the year, which we're really proud of," says Zoe. “And we feel that we're only just scratching the surface.” The website offers a range of whole-bean and ground coffees, including coffee bags.

Paddy & Scott's coffee farm in Kenya

Farmer Isaac (l) shows the crop to founder Scott on the Kenyan farm where Paddy & Scott's beans are grown - Credit: Paddy & Scott's

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Being able to sell the coffee when traditional outlets - its own cafes, including concessions in Marriott hotels and other locations, and supplying the trade - was essential because Paddy & Scott’s is also a coffee grower, with its own farm in Kenya. 

Investing in the farm meant removing people from the supply chain, so more of the profit in the coffee could pass back to the growers without middlemen taking a cut. For five years the Suffolk business has been supporting not only the farmers in Kenya but also the local school and the community. 

“Covid has been tough for coffee farmers around the world,” says Jon. "Their harvest has been difficult, because they’re trying to work with social distancing, battling with the fear of going to work versus knowing that if they’re not working, they’re not earning to put food on the table and so on.”

Paddy & Scott's Kenyan coffee plantation

As well as supporting the Kenyan farm since 2016, Paddy & Scott's invests in the local school and community - Credit: Paddy & Scott's

Despite its own business dropping by more than £1 million during the pandemic, Paddy & Scott’s continued to support coffee farmers around the world through 2020. “We sent $20,000 to Kenya, and 1,580 meals to India,” says Jon. 

“Its important to me that our team get up and come into work and are proud of what we’re doing.” He adds, “I’m hopeful customers choose to trade with us because they know what we stand for and how focused we are on seeing coffee as a vehicle for change.

“We're focused on winning customers for life and I feel we've created a sustainable business that's both future and socially-focused. We're playing the long game,” concludes Jon.

For more information see www.paddyandscotts.co.uk
 

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