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Having fun at work is possible with a Cafe2U van

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Steve McCarthy has fun at work.

Steve McCarthy from Cafe2U Tamworth NSW, enjoys laughing, relaxing and joking around with his customers. It's a luxury that comes from making coffee for the same crowd at the same businesses every weekday as he drives his regular route for Cafe2U. He knows their names, favorite drinks, significant others, the names of their kids and pets.

They get to know him, too.

That's why Steve can get away with showing up for work wearing an umbrella hat, a soccer jersey and a clown-costume-wide tie that says “Aussie Sex Bomb.” It's all designed to give his customers a laugh - especaily on Australia Day.

“I'm a good friend of all my customers, and I just make them smile,” he says. He serves dozens of businesses each day in Tamworth, NSW. His experience isn't unusual for a Cafe2U driver.

Get more information about starting your own Cafe2U franchise, contact us.

Cafe2U mobile coffee van franchise interview with Lisa Minett, NSW

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Catering Cafe2U

How Cafe2U has helped a working mum spend more time with her daughters

Lisa Minett, 33, has operated a Cafe2U mobile espresso van for a year and a half in Chester Hill, NSW. Minett discovered the company when another Cafe2U franchisee began delivering coffee to her office

What were you doing before Cafe2U?

I was working for a manufacturing company, Brady Corporation, which manufactured signs. I had been working for them since I got out of school. I was there for 13 years; I started as a trainee and worked my way up to management. We actually had a Cafe2U van that would come to work, so I've been drinking the coffee for several years now. The company was putting me through a leadership development course that went into what you wanted out of life and what you want to achieve. It got me thinking about what the next step was for me. I really enjoyed Cafe2U's coffee and I started looking into Cafe2U as a business.

I wound up buying my franchise from another franchisee — a lady who used to serve coffee down at the netball court where I play.

How has business been?

It's been going well. After the New Year there were some changes in the companies that I deliver to, so I had to find some new business. In January, I had a few really big clients move half their staff over to a new location. I had been selling 25 coffees there in half an hour and now it's dropped to a little less than 10. My average went down, so I spent a couple of weeks finding new business to get my average back up. It's been a little challenging because you have to fit new stops into your schedule, but the business has been good and it's doing everything I set out to do.

Since I bought from an existing franchisee, my training process was a little different than what most franchisees experience. I had the new franchisee training where I got to learn about the company and build the skills and knowledge for the business, but whereas they normally help build your route, my business already had a route, so I spent two weeks on the road with the lady I was purchasing the franchise from. The franchise development manager stays in touch, and if I ever need them to come out and spend time with me to help me be more efficient, they'll spend the time to help. I haven't had that many issues — just the odd equipment questions. One day in February all the power went out in my van and I couldn't get everything turned back on. It happened to be a safety switch, but I wasn't sure what the problem was, so I called Cafe2U. They went through a checklist with me to figure out what was wrong. I just needed to flip the switch. I haven't had any major issues that would make me not able to work for the day. I've had them meet me at a stop to go over checklists to make sure the van is up to cleanliness standards and is using their products, and to find out how many stops I'm doing per day and how my average income matches up with my goal.

I was earning an income from the very first day. One of my goals is to put another van on the road or stick with one van but bring another person on and do a split shift so that the van can keep selling during the afternoon.

What sets Cafe2U apart?

I think it's the support that you get. The people are great. They're lovely. One of the things they did was a personality survey of me to see what aspects of the business I might be good at and what I might need help with. They're great at making sure I get the support that I need. I have my own web page, and I can send them my photos and other materials and they handle website and the marketing. Another thing that really impressed me: When I had my first training day, the managing director came in and spoke about what Cafe2U would give us to help us succeed. For someone who is probably really busy to take the time out of their schedule and spend an hour with you, it gives you confidence that they're not going to let you fail.

Who makes a good Cafe2U franchisee? What attracted you to it?

You should be outgoing. It needs to be that the best part of their day is 10 o'clock, when the coffee truck is going to arrive and they get their coffee and a smile. You get to know your customers really well. You get to speak about things that you normally wouldn't, and you can join into conversations. Customers love it because it's a break in their day — even if it's just a five-minute break. I did a wedding reception last November for a lady that I served at work every day. It was a celebration in a park. She had gotten married overseas and came back and they had another ceremony in front of family and friends. There were about 90 guests, and I was there for two hours.

How large is the opportunity?

I could probably work all day 7 days a week. I know some franchisees that have more than one van. All these new businesses that I've picked up — many of them have called me. People know us.

Who are your main customers? Who are your best customers?

I do some freight companies, some post offices, railway workers. I do a lot of offices. It's really broad. My entire route is about 80 km and I'm doing 21 stops. I sell about 150 cups of coffee a day.

What does your typical day look like?

I get up at 4:30 in the morning and I finish at mid-day, which is one of the things that attracted me to the business. I can now spend time with my kids and pick them up from school. When I worked 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., I would drop them off at my mum's at 7 and pick them up at after work. I get to see them more in the afternoon.

Do you own one unit or several?

I'm not sure if I'll do a second van in my area or if I'll look at another area and have somebody else run it. I'm definitely looking into it. In the next six years, I'd like to hire somebody else to run the vans.

How much of your business is delivering to businesses vs. working at events?

Ninety-five percent of it is the route. I do have a regular event that I do during the winter — on a Saturday. It's at the netball fields where I originally found the van. I go down there and I also play. I've trained my partner to run the van when I'm on the court. My kids play, too. I do have the odd event. I have a school fair event where the parents come and spend money and I give a percentage of sales back to the school.

What is a secret to your success?

Some of the success has fallen into my hands. I haven't had to do a lot of knocking to find customers. When you first introduce yourself to a possible customer, you do have to have a little bit of confidence to walk into a business and say “Hi, this is who I am,” but Cafe2U has become so much a part of the culture that they're often calling you to get you to come to their office, and sometimes you just can't get them in. I've been very fortunate that the new stops I've picked up recently have all called me.

What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn't before?

The major thing is getting to spend more time with the kids. Pretty much ever since they were a couple of months old, I've been back to work. It means a little more work for me in the afternoon, with homework and cooking dinner, but you're getting to spend time with them.

If I needed to, I could work more hours. It's a different lifestyle and you do have more flexibility. When you're at the stops, you hear people talk about the things they have to do and dealing with bosses, and I just think, “Oh, I don't need that.” They start talking about end of month goal and, ugh.

Would you recommend a Cafe2U franchise to someone else? Why?

Yes. I think it is successful. You get as much work as you want. It's a good lifestyle. I get to start my own day with an excellent coffee! In the morning, I always make sure I put the milk at the right temperature. I heat it up and have a coffee and make sure everything is perfect. I know some people who start at 8 and keep going until 2 or 3. It's flexible. For me, it's really good finishing at mid-day. I can repack the van and get it ready for the next day before I head to get the girls from school. If I needed to or wanted to work longer, I could.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Cafe2U franchise owner,  just click here.

Cafe2U mobile coffee van franchise interview with Steve Payk NSW

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Cafe2U Steve Payk

Steve Payk's only regret: Not starting his Cafe2U coffee truck business five years sooner

Steve Payk spent 28 years managing sports clubs before deciding to pursue his passion for a coffee business. Research soon led him to Cafe2U, where he now serves customers in Windsor and Richmond in New South Wales, Australia. Cafe2U recently expanded to the United States, and Steve is happy to share his thoughts with anyone interested in starting a Cafe2U business.

What were you doing before Cafe2U?

I was club manager at different sports clubs. I wanted to take a bit of control of my own life. Clubs are tough. Before, I'd be on freeway for an hour, heading into work at 6 a.m., getting home at 7 p.m. Plus, I was working weekend nights.

How did you find out about Cafe2U?

I had looked at a number of franchises. My wife had the idea of opening a coffee shop and we took a look at that, but you're really a slave to the shop — you have to be there from when they open really early to when they close really late. Then we decided to start looking into franchises, which is how we found out about Cafe2U. We looked at three other coffee businesses, but they didn't stack up to Cafe2U.

What sets Cafe2U apart?

The coffee is a nice tasting coffee. It's not too strong, and it's not weak. I enjoy a good coffee.

The support you get is wonderful. There is great ongoing support, and there are no secrets. The franchisees help each other out and don't compete against one another.
The daily takings have been good. I started off around $550 a day Monday through Friday. I'm on the road from 6 a.m. to noon, and now I'm pulling in more a day, plus a lot of event work on weekends, so it ensures solid cash flow within my family.

The launch process was good. The franchise development person was there with me, and he did the cold calls. I more or less just drove for the first few weeks. He got the people to come out and made their coffees. At the moment, I do about 40 stops a day — the same stops at the same time every day. I know what people are going to order. I have about 145 customers and I know them all by name. If their car is there, I know that they are there. Whatever they want, I start making. There's a horse barn I go to a 6:15 every morning. They write their orders down on a pad and I start making drinks. It's like a family. I have a ball.

I'm good friends with five or six franchisees who live within 5 miles of me. I have Windsor Richmond. If I can't do an event, they help. We're all ready to pitch in. It's hard to cover one another person's route, because everything starts and stops at the same time. If someone needs to me take care of a stop near one of mine, I'll service other customers. It's nice to be able to ring a friend up, have a chat and find out how something new works on the van. Sometimes, you'll have a new franchisee who needs advice on making a frappe. We're always talking to each other.

Who makes a good Cafe2U franchisee? What attracted you to it?
I think you have to be a people person. I have no problem adjusting, because in sports clubs you get to meet all sorts — from  workers to business people. You just talk to them on their level and make the day fun. I feel guilty sometimes pulling up to a stop and taking money. I tell my wife, sometimes this isn't like a job, it's like a hobby.

How large is the opportunity?

I feel successful already. I'm just basically making coffee, but you see in people's faces how excited they are to see you when you come out. When you're late by 10 or 15 minutes they're like “thank goodness, I was afraid you weren't coming!” You build up a clientele and they get the same thing every day. Your client base is steady. And they spread the word. I get phone calls from people I don't even know thanks to word of mouth.

What does your typical day look like?

At 4:30 I wake up, go outside, turn on the coffee machine, have a shower, and 20 minutes later I put some coffee through. I make myself and my wife coffee. She gets up at 4:45. I'm on road by 5:30. The first stop is at 6. I'm at the industrial park from 7 to 11:30, then over to Richmond for another quick industrial area. I finish there in about 35 minutes. Then I come home, quickly do the banking, pull stuff out of van and clean, then restock.

We're just coming up to events season. There is a local market where I set up from 7:30 a.m. to noon. Soccer season is coming up, and in three hours, you can make great income. I take my son or daughter with me. They take orders, and I'm pumping out coffees. Around Christmas, for 6 weeks I was working every weekend. There were carol events, some church events. It gets pretty hectic. I need one of my children there. My daughter 19, and my son is 17. Most events are early morning, so I'm waking one of them up at 5. They don't like getting up that early, but I pay them well.

How much of your business is delivering to businesses vs. working at events?

The events probably equal about a third or a quarter of my Monday through Friday takings.

What is a secret to your success?

It's just me being me. To me, you are there to be the shoulder that customers can put all their problems on. I know more about them than I do about my best friends, because I listen to them every day. I'm a good listener. It's just the product really, and building relationships.

What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn't before?

It's so much freer. It's not like a job. It's like a hobby. No stress. No tension. I'm much more relaxed.

Would you recommend a Cafe2U franchise to someone else? Why?

Of course I would. I wish I did it five years ago. It's an alternative and fun lifestyle. It gives me regular income as well as the lifestyle and balanced family time that a conventional job doesn't always afford. And you're making good money, too.

If you would like to find out more about starting your own Cafe2U franchise, just click here