Business Profiles

by Black & White Coffee Cartel

last updated 07/12/2023


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Black Gold

by Black & White Coffee Cartel

last updated 07/12/2023


Black & White Coffee Cartel franchisees are about to open their third café

Michael Yang and Wendy Xu: 'Black & White Coffee Cartel was an obvious choice'

Kiwis take coffee seriously, and there’s nothing better than finding a new favourite regular spot to sit and relax with a great flat white. Black & White Coffee Cartel has been serving up a fun, fresh and funky cup for the modern coffee drinker since 2014. With an onsite micro-roastery in each café, their turn-key business model helps franchisees bring customers closer to the whole process from bean to cup. 

It’s a winning recipe, as Christchurch’s Wendy Xu and Michael Wang found – they enjoyed visiting their friend’s Black & White café so much, they bought one of their own. 

‘I was a restaurant manager but I love the whole café experience,’ Wendy says. ‘Michael and I were regular customers at Black & White and we loved it. The micro-roastery smells really good, and it’s a real point of difference. And it’s fun!’ she laughs. When the couple were looking to start their own business five years ago, Black & White Coffee Cartel was an obvious choice.

Talking to an existing franchisee gave them a good impression of what to expect, and sitting down with Tony Yin, the franchise’s Chief Operating Officer, confirmed their feeling. There was an existing café available in a location they really liked, so they examined the financial reports, met the staff and the previous owner and went ahead.

All the help you need

‘If you’d asked me to set up a new café by myself, I couldn’t have done a thing,’ Wendy laughs. ‘Black & White Coffee Cartel gave us a great set-up, helped us to find the right staff and train them, and we learned how to manage a café and run our own business.’ 

Two businesses, in fact – once they felt comfortable with how their first café in Plymouth Lane was operating, they added a second in The Crossing. ‘It’s located close to Plymouth Lane and is a tiny, mostly takeaway shop manned by one person, so we can share staff between the two sites,’ Wendy explains. ‘It gives us added exposure and additional income, and with both outlets now thriving, we’re planning to open another full size café early next year in Kaiapoi.’

Set up for success

How have they managed to build their business so fast? Wendy explains: ‘Black & White HQ set their franchisees up for success. On-site micro roasting not only gives us a point of difference but makes a big difference to the bottom line, which enables us to grow our business when we are ready. The franchise team are on the ground all the time finding new locations with good potential and when they secure a site, we’re asked if any of the existing franchisees want another location.

‘The Kaiapoi opportunity suits us well – we have an amazing team to make daily operations run smoothly in our existing stores, so we’re able to put more time into the new café. It will be quite different there because we’ve got a big kitchen which gives us the chance to try more things.

‘The Black & White Coffee Cartel model makes us feel really supported, but not controlled. If you find something works for you and it fits the overall brand vibe, they’re open to new ideas. Recently, we were on holiday getting served at a very popular toastie shop and found ourselves looking around thinking, “Hey, this is pretty small and look at what they’re able to do with limited space and a few fresh, quality ingredients.” The Crossing location has lots of offices nearby, and we realised toasties would make a perfect quick lunch for people, so that’s now in the works, too.’

It’s not that hard

Since their franchise model was launched in 2017 Black & White Coffee Cartel has opened 17 cafés throughout the country and has plenty of opportunities for more – including some already-identified locations, as Wendy says.

Investment starts from around $350,000 including all training, staff employment and opening support. Franchisees are given the tools to build a successful business, with each owner bringing their own flair to suit their style, location and customers. 

Wendy has some advice for potential new franchisees. ‘To be successful, you have to maintain a consistently high standard of coffee, food and service. Think about everything you want as a customer, and try to deliver that experience every time. I love knowing what people want and seeing them satisfied – they become like friends, and getting to see them every day makes me really happy.’

She concludes, ‘Black & White makes it easy to get into this business, with all the experience, systems and support you need. If you want something a little bit different and are prepared to invest your time and money in giving your customers what they want, give Tony Yin a call. It’s not that hard!’  

See this advertorial on page 73 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 32 Issue 4

Contact details for Black & White Coffee Cartel 

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