“Why can’t coffee in the cup deliver on the promise made by the aroma of freshly ground coffee?” This is the question that led David Donde, founder of Truth Coffee Roasting to open his artisan Cape Town coffee shop.
“How did I get into coffee? The usual way – chicken farming,” David says, recounting the unique route he took to launching the ‘world’s best coffee shop’ according to the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
A chance trip to New Zealand for his brother’s wedding introduced David to specialty coffee and, with no one to teach him, David developed an entirely new method of roasting coffee. “I moved back to Cape Town and I was in love with coffee and there was nothing happening. There was this void and I had the urge to fill it.” Truth’s recognition on the global stage is especially exciting: “No matter how good something is on the southern tip of Africa, it tends to be politely ignored by the rest of the world and I’m happy to say that’s changing.”
The keys to success
Behind Truth’s success is accounting software that has enabled rather than inhibited the coffee shop’s growth, by enabling David to concentrate on the coffee, rather than the accounts.
David observes, “The biggest challenge in the business is knowing what’s going on. Ring-fenced accounting packages that are owned and controlled by the accounting people and not visible to the entrepreneur were a problem for me.” Cloud accounting software Xero helps solve this problem by providing real-time access to Truth’s financial data, supporting David’s belief that “accounting should serve the business, rather than the business serve accounting”. Xero’s open API (Application Programming Interface) also means that the café can plug in things like stock control, and their till system, removing the need for manual data entry.
Connecting to growth
Colin Timmis, Xero Head of Accounting and MD of Real Time Accounting, the company that introduced Truth to Xero, suggests that “too often business owners are disconnected from what’s going on in their company … Truth is recognised as one of the leading coffee shops in Cape Town and as a growing business it needs to be connected to software that allows it to change and grow as it continues to expand.”
David further notes: “In the past with tech, particularly in point-of-sale systems and in accounting systems, you had these things that needed servers and fancy equipment. Xero is open, it’s in the cloud, we use it on whatever device happens to be most handy … It’s the cheapest and most adaptable way for us to do things … I just wish all my suppliers were actually on Xero because then the data coming in would be automated.”
Artisanal coffee may not be a tech industry, but that’s not to say that Truth didn’t require a modern, tech solution to meet their business needs. “My business is selling coffee and making extraordinary coffee”, says David. “It’s not keeping a set of books for audit purposes – Xero is enabling me to have the management tools without cluttering my daily life.”