How Foundation partnered with Sourceful to automate their inventory system and upgrade their packaging

When you need the stock, but you don’t have the storage space

Dominic Beardwell
Dominic Beardwell


Foundation is one of Manchester’s largest independent coffee shops serving the finest coffee, cakes, brunch and cocktails in design-led spaces. They believe in quality, consideration and constant refinement. Spread across three locations, they needed to find a way to streamline their stock purchasing process. Sourceful helped Foundation simplify their operations and upgrade to completely compostable packaging, whilst saving costs.

reduced costs
automated inventory system

The Challenge

As Foundation rapidly expanded, their workflows became increasingly scattered. The three coffee shop sites were purchasing stock separately and it became too complex logistically to keep track of the inventory and to know when each location's stock was running low. What's more, Foundation was only able to buy bulk stock orders which they would pay for in advance and then receive four months later – a long and expensive wait for the team. This also required storage space for the excess stock at each location, which they were lacking.

Foundation also wanted to improve their packaging. Around 1% of their customers would bring a KeepCup and the rest would use takeaway cups which were thrown in the bin. They wanted to switch their branded coffee cups to be compostable and therefore better for the environment, but were unable to find these at an affordable price point and with a low MOQ.

The Solution

Working together with Sourceful, Foundation was able to design and source the packaging they needed. Foundation is run by a design agency so the aesthetic of their products is key and they always create their designs before going to market for a supplier. Based on these needs, Sourceful secured a vetted packaging company that was able to source Foundation's exact designs. This included multiple compostable packaging products from cutlery to custom-printed takeaway cups, all with a focus on sustainability to match the ethos of their brand. Sourceful's team were also able to negotiate a lower price without compromising on quality.

To keep track of inventory, Foundation integrated their existing ordering system with Auto-Stock, Sourceful's automated replenishment system. Foundation was able to customise this service to suit their multi-location needs and simplify their ordering process. Instead of ordering stock separately, they were now able to track the needs and usage of each location as well as the company's usage as a whole. Foundation was also able to meet higher MOQ's by storing their inventory in Sourceful's warehouse, freeing up space for their food and beverage products. The switch meant Foundation was able to save money and storage in their coffee shops.

“Sourceful were fantastic to work with, they thoroughly sampled everything to a very high standard and we have managed to ensure that everything is now fully compostable. They also managed to source everything at a better price point than what we paid previously for non-compostable options."
Dominic Beardwell, owner of Foundation Coffee House

The Result

Foundation Coffee House secured two big wins for their business using Sourceful. First, they achieved their sustainability target of ensuring all of their food and beverage packaging is 100% compostable. In the process, they were able to reduce costs by 15%. Second, Foundation was able to integrate with an automated inventory system to increase efficiency, streamline their stock process and store it with Sourceful. Still in use today, Foundation now has more time to focus on their business.

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