Photo by Christian Harder

Photo by Christian Harder

Case study: Creating a Coffee Program for Dig Inn

Ever since my first high school barista jobs, I've been passionate about coffee. Coffeeshops have always been my "third place" and favorite thing to seek out in new cities. In early 2016, vegetable-forward fast casual restaurant group Dig Inn began developing a coffee program to complement the new breakfast daypart. I was lucky enough to lead this project. This operationally-driven project also illustrates my design process. Whether it's print or operations, my work is human-centered. 



  • Data Gathering. AKA lots of coffeeshop visits and mulling over menus. Who's doing it well? What type of program makes sense for Dig Inn?

  • Ranking of Priorities. Dig Inn focuses on "Mindfully Sourced" food, so top considerations include sustainability, coffee quality, and training support.

  • Vetting. After many espresso tastings and comparing vendors on our scorecard, we landed on Counter Culture, out of North Carolina.


  • Simplicity. Dig Inn's focus is food, so the coffee program was designed to limit equipment costs and inventory. That means using one roast for drip, iced coffee, and espresso, and single size on nearly all drinks. This makes the menu easier for our team members, too.

  • Menu. What does Third Wave coffee at a fast casual restaurant look like? We created seasonal, culinary-inspired housemade syrups (mint for summer, rosemary for fall, chai for winter) as well as MatchaBar matcha.



  • Training. How do the baristas fit into Dig Inn's existing kitchen structure? How do we fit into the labor model? I developed a training booklet and quick build guides for easy reference. I also discovered my passion for hands-on training, training baristas at all three of our coffee locations.

  • Live in Boston. I spent most of the summer in Boston on the ground working shifts with our first crop of baristas. We learned a lot about what is operationally feasible.

  • Refine & Tweak. With three coffee programs up and running, we're learning each and every day.

Photo by Christian Harder

Photo by Christian Harder