Business Profiles

by Columbus Coffee

last updated 22/09/2014

Columbus Coffee
ENERGY KICK for new café franchisees

by Columbus Coffee

last updated 22/09/2014

Columbus Coffee’s latest young franchisees are working the system to achieve their dreams

Leo Rojas always had an ambition to own his own business by the time he was 25 – and now he does. The new owner of Columbus Coffee in Tauranga explains, ‘When I was a boy, I spent very little time with my father so I decided I would work hard when I was young, so I could make more time for my own children later on.’

Leo met his wife Belen Sanhuza before leaving Chile five years ago and the couple decided to travel the world together. A trained chef, he was confident of finding work wherever he went but his goal meant finding something more – a good business. Leo and Belen were attracted to the Columbus Coffee brand by the strength of the system. ‘I wouldn’t have considered another café as none of them met my standards,’ he says, bluntly. ‘I thought Columbus was doing really good things and that’s what hooked me.

‘I’ve seen so many failures in the hospitality industry from people who don’t have a system in place. That’s what a good franchise gives, and Columbus certainly delivers. They can’t promise success – that’s up to you – but if you follow the systems they’ve set up it will work.

‘I might be a chef but I had no knowledge of all the other parts of running a café – things like marketing or managing people. But Columbus covered all that and I had superb training from them. We took over an existing café and maybe it wasn’t quite following the system at first. We embraced what we had learned, followed the Columbus food and operating plans and soon saw an increase in sales of 11 percent. I want to go on growing so I keep on asking many, many questions. I have to say, Columbus has never let me down.’

Making It Happen

Sam Allison is another ambitious young man. In his early 30s, the enthusiastic Englishman came to New Zealand eleven years ago because he likes to work hard and play hard, and has just thrown himself into a brand new challenge – opening his own Columbus Coffee outlet in Newtown, Wellington.

Sam’s joy for life is matched by his shrewd business sense and broad experience. ‘When I first came here, I started by cleaning the showers in the backpackers, did a stint with the Department of Conservation and finished up as store manager for New World in Porirua for five years. When Columbus Coffee opened a cafe in Mitre 10 MEGA in Kapiti, I got really interested as I knew the area well. Then they earmarked Newtown as a location for a new café and I got really excited by the idea of taking up the franchise. The site is bang alongside another supermarket – home from home to me – and there’s also loads of foot traffic generated by the nearby hospital and university.’

But Sam tempers his enthusiasm with caution. ‘I did a lot of research ­– hundreds of hours of number-crunching, and days on-site gauging the people and the patterns. I talked to friends as well as professionals to confirm that the site was as good as I thought, and I also found out a lot about Columbus. It’s not such a well-known name in this part of New Zealand yet, but it ticked all the boxes for me. It’s a home-built, genuine Kiwi brand. The food is all made on-site and the coffee is first class. They have excellent systems in place and I quickly built a rapport with the franchisors which greatly helped with the set up.’

Sam’s new café has only just opened but it’s already buzzing. ‘I’m not the kind of guy to sit back and wait for customers,’ Sam grins. ‘I’m going out there to make some noise! I’ve already been out leafleting today and the reactions of our first customers have all been really enthusiastic. All the advantages of the franchise – the training and processes and planning and support – are really kicking in and I’m sure the locals will soon come to value the Columbus Coffee brand as much as the rest of New Zealand.’

Get Columbus Behind You

Sam isn’t fazed by his lack of hospitality experience. ‘I think you need to be a good all-rounder: a people person, accountant, HR manager, cleaner, etc. ­– but above all, a business person. Get the right people around you, apply the systems and stay on top of the numbers. Frankly if I can’t make a café work in this location and with Columbus behind me, I shouldn’t be in business!’

Graeme Tait, the managing director of Columbus Coffee, is delighted to have new franchisees like Leo and Sam who combine passion and ambition with application. ‘Opening your own Columbus Coffee requires an investment of between $250,000 and $350,000 +gst, much of which can be financed,’ he says. ‘Match your own energy to our award-winning systems and the rewards can be considerable. Wellington is one of several areas where we have new locations coming up so, wherever you’re from and whatever your age, contact me to find out more.’

This advertorial is taken from Franchise New Zealand magazine Volume 23 Issue 2

Contact details for Columbus Coffee

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