by The Coffee Club
last updated 18/09/2020
Right Behind You
by The Coffee Club
last updated 18/09/2020
New franchisees find The Coffee Club franchise and customers see them through
Many people might think that buying a new business then having to close it down temporarily after just six weeks because of a global pandemic was a disaster – but to Scott and Della Smith, it confirmed that they had made the right choice of franchise in the right location. ‘And what a great story to tell the grandkids!’ laughs Scott.
In the few months since the couple took over The Coffee Club in Orewa, north of Auckland, they have learned they have two communities they can rely on: the franchise and their customers.
Scott spent those first six weeks of ownership building customer relationships and his own confidence, then the Level 4 lockdown hit. Scott remained calm and looked for the positives. ‘I said to myself, “It is what it is”. This was something I couldn’t control.
‘We’d made a lot of traction in those first weeks – it was hard work, but the training had been excellent and I loved it. Fortunately, we’d gone into business with enough capital behind us, just in case something went wrong. I didn’t expect this of course, but that planning for a rainy day really paid off.’
A team effort
‘Lockdown was definitely a shock but, after hitting the ground running in a new business, it was actually quite nice to slow down, have family time, and see the real value of a good franchise at work,’ says Scott. ‘We had clear communication from The Coffee Club in a time of uncertainty, and a group of experienced people who were ready to stand up and fight for their franchisees as needed.
‘The team is brilliant. My business development manager was a franchisee himself, so he really knows what it’s like and cares about my success. Brad Jacobs and Andy Lucas, the directors of The Coffee Club in New Zealand, are young, smart guys who are really passionate about the brand and their franchisees. It’s a tight culture and a great place to be.
‘When we moved down to Level 3 I wasn’t planning to open for takeaway orders, but they talked me into it, and by the time we were in Level 1, we were flying!’ Since re-opening, Scott has seen large weekly growth and is beating the equivalent sales weeks from last year.
Scott came to the business with sales, marketing and management experience in large FMCG. That gave him an understanding of customer support and finance but, he says, ‘I took on a franchise because I wanted to do something for myself, with the backing and support of a great brand. My family understood that I was done with the corporate world and needed to move on, they supported me every step of the way – that was really important to me.
‘I knew a bit about franchising from working with franchises as a supplier, and I knew about The Coffee Club because Della and I had lived in Australia for a few years and took our kids there all the time. It was always clean, friendly and you knew what you were going to get. But I’d never run a café before, so having the best training, systems and support was going to be vital.’
Orewa has always been a part of Scott’s life. ‘I spent weeks here in the family motorhome when younger, and Della and I got engaged just down the road, so when Della spotted The Coffee Club here was for sale, it all clicked.
‘This is such a community town. It’s got a great mix of people, and with Millwater nearby is a real growth area. What I didn’t expect was to have such great customers, who know my name and ask after the kids. They really care about how my family and I are doing – there are hundreds of people who are genuinely glad to see us open again. I used to wake up and dread going to work, but now I absolutely love it.
‘The locals want to come out and support us – and they share the love around all the local eateries, which is important in a small town. Everyone works hard for their money, and if they choose to spend it with us then they should absolutely enjoy the experience. Hospitality is the business of serving people and making them want to come back, so we put in the work to ensure they do.’
We made a great choice
After six dramatic months, Scott and Della couldn’t be happier with their decision. ‘Turnover is up, customers are happy and I’m loving the challenges and all the smiles,’ says Scott. ‘We haven’t allowed Covid-19 to define what happens in our business, and we have learned that we made a great choice in The Coffee Club.’
The Coffee Club is looking for franchisees throughout the country, including key growth areas in Nelson, Napier, Auckland and Ashburton. Investment levels range from $350,000 to $400,000 +gst.
Andy Lucas says, ‘If you’re a people person with a passion for good food, great service and excellent coffee looking to step into your own business, give us a call.’
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