Business Profiles

by Jamaica Blue

last updated 15/09/2019

Jamaica Blue
think global EAT LOCAL

by Jamaica Blue

last updated 15/09/2019

Jamaica Blue franchisees enjoy the freedom to match local cafés to local customers

Jamaica – home of reggae, history’s fastest runner, the underdog bobsled team who became darlings of the 1988 Winter Olympics, and a remarkable blue-green coffee bean. It’s the unique aroma and flavour of this bean that has inspired the founding values of Jamaica Blue, and today you’ll find the café franchise across Australasia, the UK, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE. There are already 10 Jamaica Blue cafés in New Zealand and more opportunities in the pipeline through to 2020.

The name comes from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, one of the best coffee-growing regions in the world, and the special variety of bean grown there accounts for less than 0.1% of the world’s coffee production. It gives the brand a certain quality and exclusivity, which is enhanced by menus that use fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and a determination that each café should match its local market.

‘This philosophy has allowed our franchisees the freedom to develop cafés with their own personality and their own menu selection, responding to local tastes and the availability of seasonal produce in their area,’ explains Jon Hassall, the company’s New Zealand general manager. ‘It also means we can be flexible and creative with different concepts from fully licensed café restaurants to kiosks and hole-in-the-wall espresso bars; with thriving Jamaica Blue businesses in residential areas, malls, airports, hospitals and high streets.’

the world’s busiest Jamaica Blue

This flexibility has certainly paid off – in fact, the world’s busiest Jamaica Blue is at Auckland Hospital where the franchisee is 36-year-old James Xu. After seeing friends succeed, the former motor mechanic followed them to Jamaica Blue in 2009. ‘I love coffee and with Jamaica Blue’s fantastic training and on-site support, I went from knowing zero about running a café and making coffee to owning the Jamaica Blue at Manukau City,’ explains James. ‘In 2013, I sold that and became manager of  the company-owned Jamaica Blue at Auckland Airport, then when we opened at Auckland Hospital in November last year, I was appointed manager of both. I very quickly saw the potential of the hospital site so I became a franchisee again.’

James needed all his management and customer service skills, as well as his excellent team of staff and the support from the franchisor, because his café quickly became the busiest Jamaica Blue in the world. The café might be in a hospital but its contemporary fit-out highlighted by some quirky Jamaican touches provides a relaxed setting where customers can enjoy a world-class mix of unique coffee blends, mouth-watering cabinet food and freshly-cooked meals from the in-house kitchen. For many hospital visitors, it’s a ‘find’ that is helping to spread the news about Jamaica Blue – which means more opportunities for new franchisees throughout the country.

release your flair

Jamaica Blue is a sister franchise to the well-established Muffin Break. Both brands are part of Foodco, which started on Australia’s Gold Coast before opening its first store in New Zealand in 2004. Foodco is a privately-owned company with a major shareholding held by a New Zealand family, giving it real ‘skin in the game’ here.

As part of Foodco’s commitment to support the existing New Zealand network and expand throughout the country, Jon Hassall, a café and hospitality executive with international experience ranging over 25 years, joined the company in April 2016.

The company has also established a fully-fledged training facility in New Zealand to help new franchisees and their staff learn the skills they need to run a successful cafe. ‘A Jamaica Blue franchisee is encouraged to challenge conventional wisdom and release their flair for innovation – the qualities that people enjoy in vibrant independent cafés,’ explains John. ‘We are not necessarily looking for people with hospitality experience – what we want is coffee and food lovers with inherent people skills that flow naturally.

‘Everyone brings different skill sets so, uniquely, we individualise training for each new franchisee to focus on what they don’t know. After this training, and shoulder-to-shoulder launch support, franchisees benefit from ongoing mentorship, expert marketing programmes and field support.’

a model to suit

In addition to Auckland Hospital, over the past two years Jamaica Blue cafés have opened at Greenlane Hospital, Northlands Shopping Centre in Christchurch and a Jamaica Blue Grab-n-Go kiosk at the new Manukau Bus Station. More locations, including Queenstown, Ashburton, Tauranga and Auckland’s Long Bay are currently under development.

With each café being uniquely designed to its market and location, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, explains Jon. ‘What we do is apply our expertise in such areas as fit-out, dietary considerations, costings and supply chains to create a model to suit the individual location and franchisee. The investment varies according to the type of Jamaica Blue you want – the turnkey cost for a high street café ranges from $320-$450,000 +gst, while a unique espresso bar can be considerably less.’ 

‘Jamaica Blue is for those looking for something different from the standard cookie-cutter approach – a café where you can add your own touches while still benefitting from all the buying power, branding and expertise of a highly-experienced franchisor. If this sounds like the perfect recipe to you, contact us now to find out more.’  

See this advertorial on page 45 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 27 Issue 2

Contact details for Jamaica Blue

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