Business Profiles

by Epiphany Cafe

last updated 16/09/2018

put a ring on it

by Epiphany Cafe

last updated 16/09/2018

Epiphany Café needs master franchisees with food sector experience to take a winning local brand nationwide

Epiphany Café

The products served by the average café rarely match up to the carefully-arranged photographs designed to sell them. That’s why Epiphany Café made such an impression on us recently. Not only were their signature donuts beautifully decorated, but the iced tea looked even better than the picture.

That sort of attention to detail comes as no surprise when you learn that Jeths Lacson, who developed the business with business partner Mark Epifanio, is an engineer by training. He’s put the same care into the development of the Epiphany Café franchise, working with an experienced franchise consultant to develop a business model that is fair, detailed, sustainable and profitable.

As a result, the company has grown rapidly with seven outlets already open in the Upper North Island. Now Jeths and Mark are looking for two master franchisees to expand and support the brand in the Lower North Island and the South Island. As most of the items Epiphany franchisees sell are centrally-baked, master franchisees need their own bakery and warehouse facility, which could be combined with a full café to minimise costs and maximise profit.

The process ensures consistently high standards of quality for Epiphany Cafe’s pillow-soft, artisanal gourmet donuts. There’s a range of around 30 flavours, including cookies & cream, hazelnut almond, raspberry custard, salted caramel, green tea and tiramisu, with different flavours on different days to keep customers discovering new favourites. Other baked products include muffins, quiches, slices and sausage rolls. The café menu is accompanied by beverages including coffees, teas, iced drinks, smoothies and frappés.

‘It’s been so popular that we already have a waiting list of people who want to buy franchises, and people offering us prime locations, which is why we need two master franchisees to take the brand into other areas,’ Jeths says.

good numbers, great products

Eddie and Marisa Agnes opened their Epiphany Café in Auckland’s Northwest Mall just a few months ago. Eddie has his own small accounting business as well as working in corporate accounts departments, so had all the skills he needed to analyse the franchise as a business proposition before going ahead. While the numbers looked good, it was Epiphany Café’s ‘wow factor’ that really made him sit up.

‘Epiphany isn’t a typical café – it’s catchy and vibrant, with really creative presentation of its products,’ Eddie says. ‘Although people love donuts, there’s no established donut brand here in New Zealand and we offer a real quality product developed for this market – people always talk about our great taste and compare us favourably to anything else they’ve tried.’

The Epiphany Café model appealed to Eddie for several other reasons: with centralised baking, there’s no need for expensive equipment, specialised staff or early starts. ‘That made it affordable and enables me to go on working full-time as I build the business, appointing staff to run the café while I manage the financial side and paperwork. It’s a straightforward operation, you place an order and it is delivered the next day, so you just have to focus on delivering excellent customer service that keeps customers coming back.

‘Long term, once we’re making a good income from our first store I’d like to open another couple of Epiphany Café outlets and become a multi-unit franchisee. It’s very achievable. As with any new business, it takes time, commitment and effort to get where you want to be, but the business is very young so the opportunities are endless.’

serious opportunities

That applies to the master franchise opportunities, too. With people like Eddie keen to open outlets around the country, Jeths is looking for individuals, entrepreneurs, companies or partnerships prepared to take up the master franchises and establish the bakeries. ‘The investment required to establish a production line is around $800,000 to $1 million,’ says Jeths, ‘and will require serious commitment. Candidates need to be:

  • Well-capitalised, able to build a highly profitable business over time.
  • Experienced in the food sector with strong business management skills.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit, while being able to follow and enforce proven systems.
  • Able to drive the aggressive growth of sub-franchisees in their region.
  • Integrity in dealing with staff, sub-franchisees, the franchisor, suppliers and partners.
  • Belief in, understanding of and passion for the Epiphany Café brand and concept.
  • Positive leadership and motivational skills.

‘We have a fast-growing brand with a locally-developed product using local ingredients and a business model that has been designed specifically for the New Zealand market,’ says Jeths. ‘By taking the opportunity to expand nationally now, we can provide something different, and something massively popular in cities and towns throughout the country.

‘Epiphany Café is about quality food and quality coffee that meets the needs of New Zealanders. Our business model is proven in multiple formats including mall kiosks (cabinet food, no cooking) and full café (with kitchen) and we offer take-home boxes, catering options and even fundraising programmes to provide multiple income streams. Master franchisees can cater to both formats – contact me today to find out more about the opportunity.’  

See this advertorial on page 23 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 27 Issue 2

Contact details for Epiphany Café

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