Business Profiles

by The Coffee Club

last updated 16/09/2021

Three's Company

by The Coffee Club

last updated 16/09/2021

The Coffee Club allows you to grow as big as you like, wherever you like

Tony Luo: 'We very quickly realised that here was a great opportunity'

The Coffee Club is a well-established New Zealand name with 65 cafés nationwide. Recognised by customers for its consistent coffee, food and service, it’s the strength of the business model that first attracted Tony and Yang Luo to the brand. The couple did so well that they now own not one but three of the popular cafés.

‘We had run a café before in Whangarei, but when our family moved to Auckland in 2016, I started a career in real estate while Yang started working part-time at The Coffee Club locally,’ Tony says.  ‘She was surprised and impressed with the systems they had, but from a customer service and a profitability point of view, and we very quickly recognised that here was a great opportunity.’

Tony says that they looked at a number of other brands, ‘But we decided The Coffee Club was the best for us both financially and in its processes. Where some hospitality franchises have a limited focus, this is a complete offering with a full-service menu, cabinet food, coffee and, of course, the bar. Long term, that means a wider potential customer base with something to suit everyone.

‘The café fit-design is very modern and there are clear systems to follow, with a solid structure behind you to provide training, recipes and step-by-step processes. Having a good foundation is key to success, and the team at The Coffee Club know their market very well.’

Smooth process

Buying the business was a very smooth process, Tony says. ‘We knew the hospitality industry and what to look out for, but really valued the team’s knowledge of the Auckland market. We didn’t want to start from scratch, so ended up buying The Coffee Club at Westfield Albany and built on an established base.

‘After a couple of years, it was running well with good management in place and generating healthy and stable profits. With limited potential to grow much further, though, it was time to look into a second franchise.’ Tony and Yang saw an opportunity in an up-and-coming suburb and, with confidence in their ability to run the business under management, took on The Coffee Club in Tauranga’s Bayfair.

‘Having two outlets in different cities involved a lot of travel to begin with, so finding the right staff to run things was key,’ Tony explains. ‘As a businessman, I could see the potential in The Coffee Club from the start, but the first one still feels like a bit of a risk – we didn’t know what was going to happen, or whether the business would really provide the lifestyle we were looking for. But the second time around, we had lots of experience and it was easier to see.’

By the time they opened their third location in Flat Bush, Tony and Yang knew the value of entering a fast-growing suburb. They also saw the benefit of having another café within Auckland, where staff could be shared between the cafés if needed. ‘It hasn’t been easy, we have had to work very hard to get where we are, but with Tauranga reasonably stable, we’ve been able to focus on the two Auckland franchises and travel less between cities.’

Support makes the difference

Tony says that while the last 18 months haven’t been easy for anyone, having the support team at The Coffee Club has been of huge benefit to his business. ‘While the initial training and guidance was helpful getting off the ground, it’s the ongoing support from the brand that makes a key difference now that we’re a few years in.

‘Throughout Covid, the team has been beside us every step of the way, helping with rent negotiations and guidance around subsidies and loans. The franchise team are not just administration experts in an office – they’re very experienced in the brand, service and what it’s actually like out here in the business.’

One café or more?

As Tony and Yang have found, The Coffee Club franchisees benefit from a multiple award-winning system that is well-respected within the community. With 30 years’ experience in delivering high industry standards, the franchise is always on the lookout for the right franchisees to bring the brand to more New Zealand customers. With a range of options to suit different locations, their support team can help passionate, dedicated people set up their own café based on a proven, successful business model.

Andy Lucas, who, with co-director Brad Jacobs, first brought The Coffee Club to New Zealand 15 years ago, says that while The Coffee Club has many successful single store franchisees, Tony and Yang are one of a number of multi-site operators who have developed their own cluster of successful stores. ‘They are proving that the model works on both scales – the limit is how big you want to take it.

‘The Coffee Club has opportunities for franchisees in high growth areas throughout the country. Investment levels range from $350,000 to $400,000 +gst. If you have a passion for good food, great service and excellent coffee, and a determination to cater to the needs of your local community, give us a call.’   

See this advertorial on page 63 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 30 Issue 03

Contact details for The Coffee Club

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