Cups Offers Prepaid And Subscription Plans For NYC’s Independent Coffee Shops

The Cups coffee app launched about a year ago, promising members an unlimited supply of coffee from local shops in exchange for a monthly fee.

Since then, the app has added prepaid plans (starting with five cups of coffee for $11) and expanded to more than 170 locations throughout New York — making it, in the words of co-founder Gilad Rotem, this makes it “the second largest coffee chain” in the city.

My neighborhood coffee shop Sweatshop is one of those 170+ locations, and that’s where we caught up with Rotem. He said the ultimate goal isn’t just to help consumers save money and find new stores, but also to help the businesses team up when it makes sense — say, when negotiating for bulk discouns.

“There are so many things we can offer independent coffee shops or even independent businesses by simply uniting them,” he said. The aim is to allow each store to keep its personality but also “provide backend support that they can only do by being part of a chain.”