by Columbus Coffee
last updated 07/12/2023
by Columbus Coffee
last updated 07/12/2023
A new benefits programme for Columbus Coffee staff is one of several initiatives to help franchisees
One of the benefits of buying a franchise is that you have a whole team of specialists behind you with the skills and power to create clever solutions. One such example is Columbus Coffee’s new toolkit for training staff. It’s clever because it doesn’t just provide the tools for training – it also incentivises staff to learn, rewards them and boosts staff retention all at the same time. We asked Jon Hassall, the COO of Columbus Coffee to tell us more.
‘Traditionally, franchises provide their franchisees with systems and, after the initial opening period, franchisees train their own staff,’ Jon begins. ‘That’s an essential part of building relationships, but it’s an ongoing task when there are new products and new promotions being launched regularly – not to mention new staff.
‘So we thought, how can we make life easier for franchisees and better for their team? We don’t employ their staff, but if we could interact directly, we could keep staff informed and up-to-date, and also deliver tips to help them improve their skills. An app was the obvious solution, but the question was, how could we encourage almost 1000 staff over 78 individually-owned cafés all over the country to use it?’
That’s where more creative thinking came in. ‘Staff retention is always an issue in the hospitality industry, and that’s been more true than ever over the past 20 months or so. Recruiting and training new staff is time-consuming and costly for franchisees, so if we could also use the app to deliver real benefits to staff, that would help keep them on board.’ And that’s how the Columbus Coffee Perks programme was born.
The Perks programme delivers staff of Columbus Coffee franchisees a variety of benefits and discount offers on a whole range of products and services: groceries, eating out, healthcare and even pet insurance. Brands featured include New World and Countdown; Noel Leeming, Repco and Torpedo 7; Farmers, Stirling Sports and Toyworld; leisure activities such as Hoyts Cinemas, Butterfly Creek, Lilliputt Fun Zone and Live Wire; health checks including a free eye test and spine check every year; and almost 100 other in-store and online suppliers.
‘Our aim was to offer the type of benefits that staff and their families really want or need during this cost-of-living crisis,’ Jon explains. ‘And it’s enabled us to put a national staff discount programme in place across all the cafés for the first time. Staff travel with their family or friendship groups just as much as other people, and now they can use their benefits at Columbus Coffee locations all over the country. We’re looking forward to seeing our whole community grow through that.’
For staff to receive the benefits of the Perks programme, all they need to do is log on to the training platform once a month, enabling Columbus to deliver product updates and training messages on a regular basis. The staff rostering tool has also been moved on to the new platform, making it a one-stop resource for staff.
‘We trialled it with a small group from our Franchise Advisory Council before we launched it to the whole network and we’ve been delighted by the response. I think we have 100 percent of the team on board now and we’re getting lots of feedback from franchisees saying how excited their staff are about all the perks. It’s giving franchisees additional help on the training side and adding benefits for their staff. What’s not to like?’
And Jon says that with a new summer menu just launched, the system is reaching its full potential. ‘We’re looking forward to a great year.’
Increasing sales, reducing wait times
Columbus Coffee has something to suit customers all day, every day, but some times are busier than others, which is why they have introduced digital ordering.
‘Digital ordering isn’t intended to replace counter service or that wonderful interaction with customers,’ explains Jon. ‘But if someone doesn’t want to wait at the counter or wants to top up their order without leaving their seat, they can do it – just scan the QR code and order at your leisure. It’s also available through our popular Columbus Rewards app, but you don’t have to be a member.
‘Your order is automatically sent through to the café’s point of sale system and it works really well. It also enables off-site ordering, which people love – if you’re working, you can order in advance and maximise your break time rather than waiting in a queue. We launched it in June and the take-up among franchisees has been really good.’
Opportunities around the country
With initiatives like these, Columbus Coffee is on a roll and is looking for new franchisees for a number of opportunities throughout New Zealand. Investment levels start from around $350,000 +gst.
‘Whether you’re interested in opening a new café or looking for an established one, we’d love to hear from you,’ says Jon. ‘You don’t need hospitality experience but you do need to love working with people and be open to new ideas. Contact me today to find out more.’
Contact details for Columbus Coffee
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