Doutor Coffee Farm

"We wanted to be innovative, and we were surprised to see an increase in latte sales"

Doutor Coffee Farm is a buzzy new, “high-class Doutor” location in Tokyo, Japan. It’s leaped beyond convenience-style coffee stations or diner coffee to third-wave specialty coffee service. 

We had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Kabe from the New Business Development department at the head office along with Store Manager Ms. Uchida about their Ripples introduction and customer reactions. 

What made Doutor, a long-established coffee chain, decide to introduce a new technology like Ripples?

Kabe: Since “Doutor Coffee Farm” is a new business format, we wanted to take the opportunity to explore new initiatives. In May 2021, we introduced Ripples with the aim of further increasing our customer base when we introduced our menu for this new specialty-coffee concept. 

Before the launch, we only offered simple milk-based cafe lattes, but since we were promoting and serving specialty coffee, we wanted to increase the number of milk-based menu items so that even more people could enjoy our drinks. There are many people who don’t like coffee. We now offer three types of milk-based drinks: Café Latte, Café Mocha, and Cappuccino, and the aim was to give the Café Latte a special feel by using the Ripples print. Highlighting these drinks was a big reason behind our introduction of the Ripple Maker.

How did your staff and customers react when you introduced them to Ripples?

Uchida: I was a little worried at first about learning and using this new technology – but since  it can be operated with just one button, I’ve had no problems at all. Even part-time staff can print and serve Ripples without any problems – I was relieved. I was also worried about how long the print would last since our store is so large, but the milk foam creates a perfect drink “canvas” so we don’t need to worry about that either. 

On average, I serve 30 to 40 cafe lattes every weekend. The number of hot drinks we serve is inevitably reduced during the summer, but I feel that by introducing Ripples, our customers are even happier to order these drinks all year long. Many of our customers are women, so their friends will see the printed latte and get excited. They’ll say, “It’s so cute!” and “It’s amazing!” At first, we only had a coffee bean design, our store logo, but recently we’ve begun offering prints for holiday and seasonal designs – so we’re especially looking forward to everyone’s reactions. If it’s a Christmas print, I’m happy that it can spark a conversation with and between customers about the holiday. I personally like customer service and speaking to everyone who comes in, so I think it was really good to introduce Ripples because it allows me to interact more with customers.

Many of our staff members are students, so they have come to enjoy their work and say, “The customers are happy.” The Ripples designs are cute and everyone wants to print and share them with customers. We primarily print on lattes, and everyone feels that they’d rather serve lattes with a Ripples print than to serve someone a cappuccino (lol). It’s amazing how much pride our servers have when they’re sharing these drinks.

Compared to your original expectations, how has Ripples impacted your sales, social media reach, and the in-store experience for your customers?

Uchida: Most of the young female customers take photos of their drinks in the space, and we even see them posting them onto social media on the spot, so I really feel the Ripples effect. Male customers typically order drip coffee, so they don’t have as many opportunities to enjoy Ripples as much, but they will see it and enjoy it when they come in with a partner. Sometimes, it makes me smile to hear people get excited and say, “Oh!” Overall, latte sales are increasing, and I feel that the Ripple Maker is a huge part of that.

Latte sales are increasing, and I feel that the Ripple Maker is a huge part of that.

Minami Uchida Store Manager Doutor

How do you plan to use Ripples in the future?

Kabe: I feel like we should do more with social media campaigns. Several years ago, before we introduced Ripples, we ran a contest on Doutor’s official Instagram account in order to get more followers, and the response was good. We’re considering having people tag friends and share our pictures of Ripples-prints, or post their own, and then we can give them something like a free drink at their next visit.

We also enjoy offering custom designed prints for each season, including spring, summer, fall, and winter. I always try to include a bean motif somewhere, like using coffee beans as the eyes of a Halloween pumpkin. 

As part of our winter menu we’ll be introducing a Rose Latte, with rose syrup and of course topped with a rose design. It looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction. 

And I know that Ripples can print on sweets and desserts as well as drinks so I would love to explore that someday. We’d also like to begin printing customer selfies on the spot, which I know is built-in technology with the Ripple Maker. We’d like to try out all of the Ripple Maker features we haven’t used yet.

About Doutor Coffee Farm

Doutor Coffee’s new business format was born from the desire to spread specialty coffee, which can only be extracted from a small percentage of the world’s coffee beans, to Japan. Welcome to the Farm! Based on this concept, we opened the first Doutor Coffee Farm store in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo in 2017 as a store where you can enjoy the finest coffee in a store that resembles a coffee plantation. As of 2023, there are 19 stores nationwide, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area.

The main customers at Doutor Coffee Farm Edogawa Branch are housewives and older men. On weekdays, you can often see groups of moms enjoying leisurely conversations, and on weekends, it’s crowded with families.