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Uber exec launching coffee startup to compete with Starbucks, Dunkin’

Shawn M. Carter

Your next cup of coffee could get a five-star rating.

Former Uber executive Max Crowly is launching a pop-up coffee startup in New York that promises cheaper and faster drinks than competitors like Starbucks and Dunkin’.

The pop-up concept, dubbed Bandit, is already live in China and it forgoes the traditional brick-and-mortar model. Instead, the shops look more like mall kiosks and showcase bold white and orange text: “Bandit. Drink it like you stole it,” one of the displays reads.

The shops are fully geared with coffee-making equipment and capable of being moved easily, including into popular areas like malls, offices and hotel lobbies. Some of the offerings: hot coffee, cold brews and kombucha, on which Americans spent a whopping $180 million on in 2015.

The cafes are modeled after Chinese mega-brand Luckin Coffee, which is set to surpass Starbucks’ 4,000 locations in China by 2020 and is valued at $4 billion. Plus, they’re cheap to build, running about $60,000 to Starbucks’ half a million, per the New York Post.

Orders are taken through a mobile application, which the brand said could reduce wait time for customers. App ordering is uncommon for places like Starbucks and Dunkin'.

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The shop founders expect drinks to cost about 25 percent less than at New York rival shops. The first store is set to open in Manhattan Wednesday, with hot coffee for $2.

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“We really see ourselves as flexible from a landlord perspective,” Crowley said in an interview with Eater. “It’s about speed and convenience, and at an affordable price point.”

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