CAFE2U BLOG

Is the franchise model outdated?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014
At Cafe2U, we’ve got a highly successful, tried and tested mobile coffee franchise, which works for all of our partners both here in the UK, and in our other franchises all over the world. We’ve won awards, and our customers will gladly tell you that our coffees are some of the best they’ve drunk. It’s why we’re constantly expanding. Individuals who want the freedom of owning their own little slice of a business without the stress of carving their own niche and managing their own brand chose Cafe2U and the mobile coffee franchise model, and our customers just don’t go back to instant after sampling our professionally made, barista style coffees from the convenience of a mobile van. An article which appeared in Think & Grow Rich discussed the concept of franchises with five business experts, who shared their views and contemplated whether franchises were still a great business idea in the 21st Century.
 

We thought it was interesting that the points they highlighted happened to be areas in which we excel as a business.

Service and Brand

Firstly, Jessica Danesborough discussed the importance of brand.

In today’s market, branding is vital. Consumers will inherently trust a branded company. They feel an immediate sense of comfort with both the brand and its products/services. At Mortgage Choice, our brand helps us to set ourselves apart from our competitors and stand out in a very competitive industry.

Moving forward, branding will continue to play a pivotal role in consumerism. As such, we believe the franchise model will become even more popular with consumers. In addition, we expect it to become an increasingly popular business model as business owners understand that consumers will continue to flock to the safety of a brand.

The franchise model or concept can be improved through service. While all franchises are made up of a number of small businesses, there is still one over-arching brand or parent company that is responsible for providing service and support to its small business owners/franchisees. The more support franchisees are given by their parent company, the better their customer service proposition will be. The better the customer service proposition, the more likely consumers will be to use franchises for products and services, in turn leading to a more thriving franchise industry.

At Cafe2U, training is a vital part of why we’re successful. We make sure that each and every one of our franchise partners knows exactly what they’re doing before we let them lose in their region. They will be fully trained, and offered ongoing support as and when they need it to make sure that they represent the Cafe2U brand perfectly. We don’t just leave our partners to their own devices; we make sure that our franchise development managers visits all of our outlets regularly, to answer questions and to help with any difficulties they might experience.

We have the personality of an independent shop with the expertise of a global business, and it works for us, and for our customers. 

Go big, go boutique, or go broke

Michael McQueen believes each business needs to carve out its own style; or fail. It’s necessary for every industry to be the biggest and best in their industry, or to be unique and offer something which no one else does.

Through purchasing a franchise, small business operators can leverage the profile and economies of scale afforded by a larger brand without sacrificing their appeal as a small local operator.

McQueen’s point is that franchises can be both big and boutique. It’s one of the reasons that franchises survive when small start up companies can’t. There’s the support network provided by the franchise, and the personal touch that a local vendor alone can provide. Our marketing works on a national and a local scale, and our international franchises are different again. We can adapt and change to meet the demands of the consumer, and our franchisees can provide unparalleled service at all levels.

Train, train, train

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Chris Meyler ends the feature with his views on the importance of initial training and the right cultural fit:

Among the common traps is seeking franchisees with good operational skills but without the cultural fit. Values are inherent, skills can be taught.

High quality franchisee training during the induction period is imperative. It sets the franchisee up for success, which has a direct flow-on effect to the success for franchisor.

Initial training should be as gruelling as running a business is. It’s hard work; the long hours while juggling other commitments is a taste of what running a business will be like. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

Our training programme is rigorous from the outset. We make sure that every one of our partners is thoroughly prepared for their launch. It’s not about what you already know, because we can teach you how to run a coffee franchise. What is important is that you share our values.

If you’re interested in joining and becoming a part of our mobile coffee franchise success, we’d love you to get in touch.

Five Reasons To Buy A Franchise

Tuesday, July 08, 2014
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Being an employee can be difficult. You have to put up with work practises which you don’t think make sense, and with management who don’t understand how things work on a day to day basis. It’s all very frustrating. Many people dream of escaping it all and running their own business their way. In reality, setting up a business from scratch can be wildly expensive, difficult, and there are absolutely no guarantees of success. The other option, which gives you some of the freedom you would have as the owner of a small business but with much more support, is joining a franchise. As a mobile coffee franchise we think this is a pretty good option, but because we’re not bias, here are the reasons why joining any (good) franchise can be a really great idea.

Established and proven brand

Unless you’ve got a really strong concept and a niche which no one else is filling, the chances are that when you start up a business you’ll be entering a market with at least some competitors. Just how many you’ll be dealing with will depend on the business, but it means you’ll need to carve out your own little patch and win customers. Your brand will need to be strong and recognisable, and that’s if your business even gets off the ground.

By joining a franchise you’re becoming a part of an established and proven brand. It’s a system which works, and which can work for you. There’s none of the awkward early years where you’re struggling to make a name for yourself because that name already exists – all you need to do is make sure you continue to represent that name in the best way you can.

Training and sometimes launch of the business provided

When you start a business you’re pretty much on your own. Yes, you might have a business partner, and you might have even done it before, but the learning curve will be steep. If anything goes wrong it could cost you your livelihood.

A good franchise will have an excellent training program in place to make sure you’re up to speed with everything you need to know about running the business. You’ll be provided with information you can refer back to, and often you’ll get ongoing support so that any questions or issues which crop up can be dealt with. If you’re not successful it can reflect poorly on the brand overall, so it’s in the franchise’s interest that you know what you’re doing.

Launching can be a difficult time, and for many businesses those first weeks can even be make or break. Cafe2U will help launch your mobile coffee franchise, holding your hand through those early days so that everything goes smoothly. Other franchises will offer similar assistance – but you can’t assume that this is included.

Ongoing regular and structured support

Franchises have staff whose job is to make sure you’re doing well. They will provide assistance, help you to flourish in a crowded market, and make sure your training doesn’t lapse over time. Regular and structured support is important as it stops you from feeling as if you’re completely alone in your new venture. When you join a franchise you join a family, and they should be there throughout your journey to help and support you.

Marketing assistance

Digital marketing, redesigns, newsletters, websites and strategies can all be expensive to conceive, design and produce, but if this is done centrally and then rolled out the franchise partners, everything is made much simpler. You’re helping the master franchise by spreading the brand and reinforcing the positive image, and they’re helping you by providing you with the necessary skills and tools to do your job.

Joining something exciting which is growing all the time

Finally, if you start a small business that is often it for most people’s entrepreneurial moments. If you join a mobile coffee franchise though, you’re becoming a part of something which is growing all the time. You avoid the stress and the pressure that this may entail, but your business still benefits from being a globally recognised brand.

Achieving the perfect cup of coffee

Wednesday, July 02, 2014
There’s no one step which will result in the perfect cup of coffee. It is the end product of a huge range of factors, and if you skip or skimp on any one step you’ll find that your cuppa just doesn’t cut the proverbial mustard. This is true whether you buy from a mobile coffee franchise or you brew your own beans at home.

Production

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The perfect coffee starts with a few small beans, which are lovingly tended to, and which a single bought of bad weather can destroy. Well, we say beans but coffee is actually a seed. The seeds are planted in large shaded beds, and once sprouted they are moved into individual pots. They need a lot of water, so these initial stages often start in the wet season.

After three to four years the new plants will start to bear fruit, known as coffee cherries. These are either picked by hand, or by machine. Selective picking means that only the ripe fruit is harvested, and the unripe fruit left until it is ready. Strip picking means that the entire crop is harvested.

The cherries are then prepared for exportation, which means drying and cleaning until they begin to resemble the beans we are all familiar with.

The Blend

Next, the right coffee beans will need to be combined to maximise flavour. This usually means that a recipe is produced, which demands beans from particular farms and of a specific variety. The beans will be constantly tested throughout the production process to ensure consistency of both taste and quality.

Cafe2U constantly visit different coffee growing location and keep an eye on any factors which might affect supplies. As it’s such a long and complicated process, it’s important to have the foresight to know when it might be worthwhile seeking alternative sources to maintain production.

Roasting

Depending on the desired end result, coffee can be roasted for varying degrees of time, in a 550 degree Fahrenheit roasting machine. They are constantly moving while they are roasted, which prevents burning. As the internal temperatures reach around 400 degrees, they begin to turn from the green of the field to the rich brown we know and love. The inner oils begin to emerge as well, and these are a vital part of the aroma and flavour we end up with. When the beans are removed, they are immediately cooled by water or air. This is usually done in the country where the beans will be used, because after the beans are roasted they begin to deteriorate.

Grinding

The amount of grinding necessary varies depending on the chosen brewing method. In our mobile coffee franchises for example, a very fine grind is required. The finer the grind the larger the surface area, and therefore when water is forced through the grounds more of the flavour will be released. It also means that the coffee can be compact down better, leaving fewer gaps for the water to find its way through.

The quicker the water gets through the grounds, the weaker the resulting espresso will be.

Storage

Storing beans can be the difference between rich and aromatic as the growers intended and a bit stale and not very flavoursome at all. Beans shouldn’t really be stored for longer than around two weeks, and the fresher they are the better.

This isn’t too much of a problem for high traffic businesses like a mobile coffee franchise, but for the at home user who won’t be getting through coffee as quickly, it’s much more worthwhile to by smaller quantities and more frequently than to try and buy in bulk.

The enemies of the coffee bean are air exposure, moisture, heat and light. The beans should be stored in airtight jars in a cool, dark place wherever possible, and never in the fridge!

Brewing

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We’ve always believed that an espresso machine and a professionally trained barista will mean that you get the most from your coffee beans. That’s why we give all our franchise partners comprehensive training before we set them out into their territories. It’s also why our mobile coffee franchises are properly equipped with everything that you’d find in a coffee shop.

For those times where you’re making coffee at home though, using better brewing methods can help get the most out of your coffee grounds, so you end up with those beautiful deep and rich flavours.

So really, there’s no one step to better coffee. Everything has to be perfect from start to finish, and when you’re done you’ll really be able to taste all the effort which has gone into your coffee.