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Former policeman enjoys serving the local community as a Columbus Coffee franchisee
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Craig Kennedy, Columbus Coffee "I love getting involved in a different way"
"Columbus Coffee has produced many award-winning franchisees and highly successful businesses"
When Craig Kennedy was ready to leave the police force after 32 years, he went searching for a business. Having seen his local outlet of Columbus Coffee at Mitre10 MEGA in Whangarei up for sale, he spent hours in the café watching the way it operated before deciding to jump into business with a brand he knew well as a consumer.
‘I had wanted to be in business for myself for many years but I didn’t have any hospitality experience behind me, so a franchise really appealed,’ he says. ‘Columbus Coffee has an award-winning reputation so, after doing careful due diligence, I decided to go for it. I’d loved my time in the police but I was ready to step away now and saw Columbus as an opportunity to follow another dream.’
Craig says one of the things that most appealed to him about the business was its local profile in the town. ‘Despite the change in career, I still wanted to be connected with the community. My customers are mostly local people and I put great value on my interactions with them. Columbus Coffee is a bit of a social destination for a lot of people, and we have a great mutually-beneficial relationship with Mitre10 MEGA. People come for a coffee and stay to shop, and vice versa.’
Columbus Coffee is a New Zealand owned and operated franchise with more than 70 cafés throughout the country. The franchise enjoys strong success in both metropolitan centres and the regions, and an exclusive arrangement with Mitre10 MEGA means that franchisees are able to choose from both high street locations and sites within the Kiwi-owned DIY retailer.
On joining Columbus Coffee in August 2017, Craig went through an intensive in-store training programme that saw him learn every aspect of running the business from daily operations and management to marketing and admin. ‘It certainly had its challenges,’ he smiles. ‘My time with the police gave me a reasonable number of transferable skills, but managing staff and rosters has been interesting.
‘Because the café was already established with existing staff, I didn’t want to make too many changes to start with. It might sound the wrong way round, but I had to learn from scratch how to work in a café, not just how to run one. I gained more experience with every week; I’m very hands-on and I feel more relaxed now so I can take a day to myself here and there and start to work on growth.’
Craig plans to refurbish his café with Columbus Coffee’s latest décor and is also looking to develop the menu in the coming months. A fresh and healthy food offering, with vegetarian and paleo options, is an important part of the business model and every café has its own kitchen. ‘The support from the franchise team is great – I have consultants and trainers for all aspects of running the café just a phone call away, including experts on menu development and nutrition. I know they’re always rooting for my success, which is a great feeling.’
Craig has also found owning his own café has allowed him to continue giving back to his customer base in all sorts of ways. ‘Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time building valuable connections with youth in the community and I love getting involved in a different way. I’m doing some work with a food and safety programme for the Special Olympics, and we sponsor some local sports teams and certificates.
‘Of course, some people recognise me from my police days. I think they thought it was a bit odd at first but I’m getting great regular feedback and am really enjoying the relaxed interaction with people from the community I’ve been a part of for so many years.’
Peter Webster, the general manager of Columbus Coffee, has seen many new franchisees come from non-hospitality backgrounds like Craig. ‘The key to Craig’s success is that he has embraced our proven franchise system and training. As a man with experience in a widely different field, his business is coming on in leaps and bounds because he listens, learns then leads. Columbus Coffee has produced many award-winning franchisees and highly-successful businesses over the years, and Craig is drawing on all that experience as well as his own strong community experience.
‘It shows that, regardless of your background, if you stick to the system and our core values, you can achieve success with Columbus Coffee.’
Franchise opportunities are available from $280,000 to $400,000, and the company has both new and existing locations available. These include cafés opening later this year within Mitre10 MEGA stores at Kerikeri and Ferrymead, Christchurch – two exciting opportunities in prime retail positions. There is also potential to convert existing café sites.
‘Columbus Coffee is a New Zealand company at the heart of many New Zealand communities,’ says Peter. ‘If you are looking to make a change, like Craig, and have the same ambition and drive for success, we want to hear from you.’
See this article on page 57 Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 27 Issue 1
Contact details for Columbus Coffee
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|industry food and beverage||investment $250,000 - $450,000||number in NZ 71 and globally 71||FANZ member yes|
|contact Peter Webster
p 0-9-520 1044 m 021 883 852
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|industry||food and beverage|
|investment from||$250,000 - $450,000|
|number in NZ||71|
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.