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Tom commented on Spill Resistant Disposable Cup (Patent-Pending)

Are you able to share any feedback you have received from barristers, coffee shop owners, customers etc.?

The owner of a local coffee shop had expressed concerns over the speed in which baristas can pick the cup up off a stack, fill it up, and fold the top. The average time she suggested it should take is about 3 seconds, or the same amount of time it takes to pick up and put a plastic lid onto a typical coffee cup. From trials we have done ourselves, it has taken us close to 3 seconds, but there could be a learning curve for baristas to understand the folding of the top. It’s important that our cups are just as convenient to use. We have gone through many iterations in order to get our design to be easily folded and used without intruding too much on the existing norms.
Additionally, there is the potential that the flaps of the folding lid could obstruct the view of the baristas filling the cup. This would make it difficult for them to tell when the cup is full, and hence when they should stop filling it. The main methods we have thought of to solve this problem have been to create more spaces between the flaps so that baristas can see into the cup through them as they fill and making the inside of the flaps reflective so that baristas can see how filled the cup is by looking at the interior of the flaps.

Do you have any existing barriers to developing your idea that you’d like to share to help the OpenIDEO community understand where they might join the conversation and provide feedback?

We’re currently waiting to hear back from manufacturers we’ve reached out to, in order to try to learn more about if our unique folding design can be mass produced, because the design is not as simple as the traditional paper cup. Additionally, we need to continue looking into how we can make our first batch to test in a real coffee shop setting (Probably starting with our local coffee shop).

Would you be able to tell me more about the manufacturing process in terms of the various actors and the end-to-end process?

We haven’t been able to explore that field as much as we have liked to due to our limited network of connections.

Can you explain a bit more about how this idea can be implemented at scale? What would need to happen for this design to be brought to market at the [local or global] scale? What would it take for this idea to integrate at the scale of implementation you are aiming for?

We are currently handcrafting our prototypes to validate consumer demand and the user experience for baristas and coffee drinkers. Once we arrive at a minimum viable product after 2 to 3 months, we will manufacture approximately 9,000 cups a week to match the demand for a single coffee shop chain location. After gaining traction from a trial run of 2 to 3 months in one store, we plan to expand into all of the coffee shop chain’s 30-50 locations, which would require the production of approximately 300,000 cups a week. Assuming a 5% royalty rate on a wholesale price of $0.18 per cup, we would have a gross income of $30,000 in the first year.
After 1 to 2 years of working with a single chain, we expect our cup will have greater market recognition. This would then allow us to expand into other coffee shops and eventually into a major chain like Starbucks. Starbucks has 13,000 locations in the United States, so it would require approximately 120,000,000 cups per week for all its locations. Assuming the same royalty and wholesale cost, we would have a gross income of $57,000,000 in the second year.