Business Profiles

by Black & White Coffee Cartel

last updated 22/06/2022

Fresh Approach

by Black & White Coffee Cartel

last updated 22/06/2022

Black & White Coffee Cartel offers sweet smell of success to franchisee partnership

The new Wigram café looks as good as it smells, with the fresh aroma of newly roasted coffee

Until recently, it’s only been Mainlanders who can enjoy New Zealand’s first and only micro-roasting coffee café franchise – but that’s starting to change. Christchurch-based Black & White Coffee Cartel has recently opened its first micro-roasting café in Auckland, and has another opening soon in the south of the city. It’s a mere drop in the North Island coffee cup, though, meaning plenty of opportunity for franchisees looking for something more than just a little different.

Science shows that as soon as a coffee bean is roasted it starts losing freshness, while its nutrient and antioxidant potency also diminishes. This has long been known in France and Italy, where on-premises roasters are the secret to the amazing coffee served in street corner cafés. 

Surprisingly, it’s a process that was largely ignored in New Zealand until 2014, when brothers Bink and Luke Bowler launched Black & White together with former All Blacks captain, Reuben Thorne. A year later, the business was restructured as New Zealand’s first micro-roasting coffee café franchise by Raphael Garcia and his business partner Alan Win, and today Black & White Coffee Cartel is one of the country’s fastest growing coffee franchises. 

‘Unlike the big chains, every Black & White café is individual: alive, vibrant and, above all, bursting with that exquisite aroma of coffee roasted on site,’ enthuses Raphael, now the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Is that expensive? ‘No – actually, micro-roasting adds around $25,000 per year to a franchisee’s bottom line. That’s just one reason our combination of good coffee and good profitability is worth investigating.’

Blown away

Ravi Mamidi agrees. ‘I was first attracted to Black & White Coffee Cartel by the mesmerising smell. Then I was blown away by the vibrant, funky fit-out and that beautiful-looking micro-roaster. And from the first sip, I realised I had never tasted truly fresh-roasted, fresh-ground, fresh-made coffee.’ A qualified engineer and professional photographer, Ravi also has a good eye for business and was soon looking at the opportunity in more detail. 

With his photography going well and his wife Anusha working on the food side of hospitality, the couple had already been considering buying a café. ‘In November 2020, we saw Black & White advertising for a franchisee for their new Wigram Skies café. We met with the franchise’s COO Tony Yin on-site the next day, and loved the idea.’

But there was a snag. ‘Anusha and I are both only 30 and, as enthusiastic as we were, we hadn’t yet built up enough equity even with the 50 percent finance available to afford a $350,000-plus business on our own. But we had a plan – we approached long-time friends Mayank and Somya Shrivasta with the proposal of a two-family franchisee partnership.’

Use your strengths

Mayank, 35, and Somya, 30, arrived in Christchurch from India in 2015 for Mayank to study structural engineering. He gained a PhD in 2019 and is now employed by a large corporate, while Somya, a computer science engineer and customer service officer, had spent the past few years mixing motherhood with working as a barista.   

‘The partnership proposal appealed, so we began our own due diligence,’ explains Mayank. ‘We visited various Black & White cafés, talked with existing franchisees and also met Tony to learn more about buying power from suppliers and our likely customer base. 

‘As two couples, we had to decide how best to use our skills and experience to build a successful café while continuing with our careers. The decision was for Anusha to be the full-time on-site manager, Somya to take care of social media marketing, Ravi to be in charge of maintenance and operations, and for me to look after finance – as well as being the Sunday manager. But we all completed Black & White’s extensive training programme, which was just as well because when we opened, the customers came in droves!

‘Thanks to the experienced franchisor team who created a great promotion, opening day was amazing. By closing time we had given away 700 cups of coffee to introduce people to the fresh-roasted, fresh-ground taste, and we’ve been busy most days ever since. With a range of tasty cabinet food and localised menu items made in our own kitchen from fresh ingredients, we had a huge Mother’s Day, too. People love the difference, and we have no doubt that Black & White Coffee Cartel has enduring customer appeal.

‘Support from the franchisor team has been, and continues to be, outstanding,’ Mayank says. ‘They helped us find brilliant staff: three chefs, three roaster-baristas and four front-of-house, including Anusha.’

Fresh locations

Raphael Garcia says that partnering with friends to build a business is a great idea, and something that other young couples might think seriously about, ‘Particularly in the North Island, where we have lots of fresh locations planned. 

‘Investments start from $350k depending on location and size,  and include everything you need, including your own micro-roastery. You don’t need previous experience – just the right attitude and a passion for coffee.

‘To become your own coffee roaster and own a café with  a real difference, contact  Tony today.’    

See this advertorial on page 33 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 31 Issue 2

Contact details for Black & White Coffee Cartel

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