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THE PERFECT BLEND
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Converting to Columbus Coffee demonstrates the benefits of the franchise
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Hayden & Sarah Gibson and their team at Columbus Coffee, Wanganui
The new Columbus Coffee at Mitre 10 MEGA in Henderson
If you’ve ever thought of owning your own café, you might have thought, ‘Why should I buy a franchise when I could do it all myself?’ Well, running a café in a competitive market can be tough, so it helps to have all the advantages a good franchise offers. That’s true even if you have considerable business experience, as Hayden and Sarah Gibson can tell you.
In recent years, Mitre10 MEGA has successfully teamed up with the award-winning Columbus Coffee franchise to run in-store cafés. Both brands have gained considerable mutual benefits, so new Mitre10 MEGA outlets now open with Columbus Coffee already in place and many of the existing in-store cafés have changed to the brand.
As owners of the Mitre10 MEGA in Wanganui, Hayden and Sarah saw the advantages so, earlier this year, they bought the existing café in their store from the original operator and converted it into a bright new Columbus Coffee.
‘We wanted to deliver a customer experience that was more than could be achieved with the old café,’ says Hayden. ‘It had a good, regular clientele, but we saw opportunities in the Columbus brand that we thought would benefit the whole business. We knew how well Columbus was doing after conversions in other Mitre10 MEGA locations, and that gave us a lot of confidence. In the end, the experience was very positive and we are very pleased to have a brand with such a great reputation.’
It was a similar experience in Henderson, Auckland, where the in-store café at the Mitre10 MEGA there was converted just a few weeks after Wanganui. Existing café owners June Yin and Bin Zhang chose to convert when the opportunity was presented to them, and have been impressed with the changes and the growth that being part of Columbus Coffee have brought to their business.
When their café re-opened as Columbus Coffee in September this year, there were a few surprises. ‘Although many knew of Columbus Coffee, some of our customers were clearly not expecting such a dramatic change,’ June laughs. ‘It is so much brighter and nicer with the instantly-recognisable Columbus yellow – we were too dark previously. We have new crockery, new uniforms, we look much smarter and staff all wear name tags so people get to know them faster. We are also learning new systems that will help us manage the business better. At the same time, I think many people were very relieved to find the same old faces behind the counter.’
Columbus Coffee is a New Zealand-owned and operated franchise with over 70 cafés throughout the country. General manager, Peter Webster, says, ‘We have a very strong culture around the art of coffee, valuing our baristas, our staff and franchisees alike, so we were delighted to welcome Hayden, Sarah, June and Bin. The Mitre10 MEGA cafés that have converted to the Columbus Coffee brand have been a universal success – many have doubled their turnover or even more! The reputation of both brands has created a destination for coffee-lovers as much as a comfortable stopping point for those seeking tools and building materials.
‘As a franchise Columbus Coffee has always had exacting standards which have won us many awards over the years – most recently, the Field Manager of the Year award in the Over $500,000 turnover category (see page 6),’ Peter continues. ‘One of the keys to our success is that we have always listened to our franchisees and their ideas have been valuable to the franchise. June and Bin had been running a good café prior to conversion so we were very happy to take on board their experience and ideas for their location.’
As for Sarah, Hayden, June and Bin, they are very pleased with progress. ‘Over the next year we want to double our sales like the others, and I’m looking forward to learning how,’ says June. ‘The Columbus system has fitted very well and we look smart, have good recipes to follow and have a huge amount of marketing and technical support behind us. We are all for it and we’d certainly recommend it for other café owners.’
Opportunities in Mitre10 MEGA and high street locations are available from $280,000 to $400,000.
Angela Manihera, Columbus Coffee’s Business Development Manager, says, ‘We have many potential new locations and are also open to converting existing high street café sites. Hayden and Sarah, and June and Bin, saw some immediate benefits from their re-brand and they are continuing to see healthy growth in line with our expectations so, if you are already in the café business, contact us to discuss the potential of converting to Columbus Coffee.
‘On the other hand, if you are new to hospitality, Columbus Coffee can provide you with all the training, systems and support you need to succeed. Give me a call and let’s talk.’
See this advertorial on page 17 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 26 Issue 4
Contact details for Columbus Coffee
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This material is copyright © Franchise NZ Marketing Limited, Franchise New Zealand ™ magazine and Franchise New Zealand On Line . While it may be downloaded for personal use, no part may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the specific written permission of the publisher.