When Jason Kyle first invested in Press Coffee Roasters two years ago, the brand had two locations. Next month, the sixth coffeehouse is scheduled to open its doors.
A former Super Bowl champion with 16 years of NFL experience, Kyle is co-owner of the Phoenix-based Press Coffee, which now roasts 3,500 pounds of coffee per week at a 5,000-square-foot production center.
It’s a second career for the former long-snapper, who retired from the New Orleans Saints in 2010.
“In the coffee business there’s definitely a learning curve,” Kyle said. “It’s very similar to wine and craft beer.”
Press Coffee is positioning itself as the home-grown coffee specialist for Arizona, Kyle’s home state.
“The people that we hire and in general who come into our stores on the customer side are super passionate about coffee,” Kyle said. “So they know the difference between good and bad coffee.”
Press works with growers in countries like Ethiopia, Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil, Sumatra and Guatemala. “We buy the best bean possible,” said Kyle.
The beans are in Press coffeehouse locations within a day or two of being roasted at the company’s Phoenix facility, he said.
Known for cold brew and nitro coffees, Press also serves a range of brewed and espresso-based drinks, as well as breakfast and lunch menu items that include snacks like avocado toast at $10 per full order and $6 per half; an $8 breakfast burrito; and a turkey panini for $7.50.
Those just stopping in for coffee can expect to spend $2.50 per espresso, or $4 per 12-ounce latte. A 16-ounce cold brew clocks in at $3.50. The average ticket hovers between $8 and $10, Kyle said.
Press’s packaged products can also be found on the shelves of 30 Sprouts Farmers Markets in the Phoenix and Yuma areas at a price point of $12.99 per 12-ounce bag.
When asked if the brand is destined to expand beyond the Southwest, Kyle said, “Right now, I just really like where we’re at. We’re going to grow and open stores in Arizona.”
Kyle admits that even though it may be cliché for professional athletes to invest in foodservice during or after their playing careers, coaches and other NFL authority figures often suggest avoiding the industry because of the risks.
But an otherwise successful career in tech failed to stimulate Kyle, and an earlier toe-dip into the food world convinced him to return.
“I invested in a couple concepts early on as a passive investor both in Arizona and Charlotte,” he said. “Some did well some didn’t.”
This time, Kyle is not simply a passive financial partner. He has made operating the chain his main professional focus.
Kyle has even left his former football career in the past rather than lean on it as a means of promotion.
“I would say that 99.9 percent of our customers are not aware of the fact that I own the brand,” he said. “[Our success is] really 100 percent based on the quality of the coffee and the reputation.”
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