Move aside Newspoll, because there's another agency forecasting election results, and it’s Muffin Break.
The cafe chain has again been running its unofficial poll, which it claims has been “100 per cent” accurate since it began in 2007.
Though Muffin Break’s general manager Natalie Brennan is proud of the company for picking the “‘Topbeans’ from the ‘Wannabeans’ and the ‘Hasbeans,’”, according to a statement on the company website, it’s not going down well on social media.
This is the sixth poll the company has run ahead of a federal election, but it seems this one has hit a nerve, with some ruthless responses online.
“If they’ve been doing this since 2007, Muffin Break should probably be able to spell Labor properly,” said one Twitter user, referring to an initial table that spelled 'Labor' as 'Labour'.
“Muffin Break is apparently capable of predicting every election result, and yet still curiously unable to produce a decent muffin,” wrote Reuters journalist Byron Kaye on Twitter.
Others called into question the demographic of Muffin Break coffee buyers, saying the customers did not reflect a cross-section of Australia.
A breakdown of the results from the Muffin Break poll results in mid May.
“Apologies in advance but no inner-city leftie would be caught buying coffee at Muffin Break - missing those votes,” one chimed on Twitter.
“Everyone who goes to Muffin break is a hundred and fifty years old," wrote another.
There were loyal fans, too.
"I take mum to muffin break for a coffee and muffin. Best thing ever."
Each time a customer buys a coffee from one of Muffin Break's stores (of which there are over 170), they’re given a bean, which they can then use to cast a vote for Liberal, Labor, Greens or 'other'. There is even a picture on the company's Facebook page of former Attorney-General Christian Porter posing with a bean poll.
On the eve of the election, results will be posted to its Facebook page.
In a statement posted on the company website, Ms Brennan said the initiative always attracted a large response. This year, at least 500,000 votes have been cast.
“The Bean Poll always attracts an overwhelming response from our customers, and the 100% accuracy rate reinforces its role as the voice of the nation. We’re very excited to bring this fun Muffin Break tradition back once again,” she said in the statement.
According to the very unofficial bean poll, Muffin Break's caffeinated customers put the Coalition ahead of Labor. For the record, the poll doesn't account for many things: preferential voting, people voting many times or who the average Muffin Break coffee buyer is.
When asked how the franchise ensures people aren’t buying multiple coffees, voting multiple times and skewing the results, a spokesperson for the organisation told The Feed that if customers wanted to vote twice, they would need to buy another coffee.
With Muffin Break pushed into the spotlight again, others used the moment to cast doubt on the company's chequered past, noting its history of underpaying staff.
"Ahh Muffin Break — the mob that ripped off workers..." one tweet began.
In 2016, two Chinese workers were paid as little as $11 an hour at a Muffin Break franchise in Hobart, leading to more than $46,000 in underpayments, an investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman found.
Muffin Break also came under scrutiny in 2018 when a parliamentary inquiry found that Foodco, its franchisor, encouraged franchisees to underpay staff and encourage staff to work for free. FoodCo back paid $26,000 to workers under an agreement in 2019.
The franchise also made headlines in 2019 when Ms Brennan accused young people of having an "inflated sense of self-importance" saying they were no longer willing to accept unpaid work, she told News Corp.