CAFE2U BLOG

Cafe2U: Growing As A Network

Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Brief History of Coffee Culture

Coffee has been around for more than 700 hundred years. It took a few hundred years more, and then the world's first coffee houses started to appear (it was 1652 before England got its first coffee house). Cafes soon became a common meeting place and social hotspot. The origins of more modern coffee shops are usually attributed to the rise of Italian immigrants to America in the 1950s. In the 1960s the politically minded counterculture embraced the coffee shop, and coffee culture as we know it now was born.

The coffee house scene led to the birth of the now global coffee giant Starbucks, with its humble beginnings as a single coffee supplies shop in Seattle. Their vision helped bring the concept of the coffee shop out of the niche and into the mainstream, expanding outside Seattle and into the rest of the world. More big brands joined in, and there's still room for independent businesses and cafes which make up a significant percentage of the market.

Walk down any high street in any town almost anywhere and you'll be able to pick up a cappuccino or a latte, or a hot chocolate.

It's strange to think there was ever a time without coffee shops. Where would we have met up with friends? How did people make it through the working day?

The Cafe2U Method



Cafe2U has bought coffee culture one step further than static coffee shops can manage. There was a gap in the market which was twofold but could be simply and effectively be resolved by a bit of lateral thinking. How do you make a viable business out of getting coffee to places which aren’t usually accessible to static businesses?

To Cafe2U's founders the answer was simple. By putting the same equipment you would find in a coffee shop into a van, the mobile coffee franchise was born. People working in office blocks are generally not located particularly close to coffee shops. It means they're likely to be stuck with poor quality instant to get them through those tough Monday mornings. But by bringing the coffee to them, great quality drinks can be provided when and where they're needed.

Nowadays coffee shops seem to be two a penny. The world's biggest mobile coffee franchise is now in its tenth year, but the model which Cafe2U has perfected has very humble beginnings. The first prototype was launched in Sydney in 2000. In 2004, the business was purchased by its current owners who used a strategy to fully implement the franchise model.

From the very first van to the rebrand and relaunch in 2005 which saw Cafe2U enter the British market, the business has grown and grown. To date there are 155 of Cafe2U's mobile coffee franchises in Australia where it all began, but there are also 60 in the UK, 12 in New Zealand and 5 in the United States. Soon the business will be expanding into even more territories with its South Africa launch.

The reason Cafe2U has been, and continues to be, so successful is because it provides real quality where no one else can. There is a lot more to a coffee shop than simply fitting a coffee machine into a building and providing cups and hoping for the best. There needs to be a trained barista who knows how to get the best from those little beans every time. There needs to be competitive pricing. Staff need to be loyal to the company and give exceptional customer service at all times.

There's something different about Cafe2U and that's why it is the world's best mobile coffee franchise. For the last four years a new franchisee has started up their business every 10 days. If you're interested in joining us, or getting great coffee in your place of work, we'd love to hear from you.

The Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Art

Friday, May 02, 2014

Working hours you chose and being able to move between locations while always being close to home is more than a lot of people could ask for, but as you've invested in one of our coffee vans for sale this is now your life.

You make the best espresso for miles around, you provide a friendly, efficient service and your value is unrivalled. You're the proud owner of your own coffee van for sale.

It is a pretty good feeling, isn't it?

So what can you do to go above and beyond?

Coffee art isn’t a new concept, but recent trends have gone beyond a few chocolate sprinkles. We're talking genuine works of art. We had a look at some techniques and some of the finest examples to inspire you to make your lattes the kind of beverage people photograph.

Types of Coffee Art

Some of the most basic coffee art requires no more ingredients than a straightforward latte. Once you've made your espresso and steamed the milk the rest is all in the pour. There is no reason you should feel limited because you're working in a van; we make sure each is kitted out so our coffee vans for sale are just as good (and better) than a static business.

Free Pour

Because the pour technique is so simple, it is most likely to be one you have seen, if not one you already use. There are two main variations on this type of coffee art: the heart and rosetta patterns.

For a rosetta pattern you need to tilt the espresso shot and pour the milk into the cup, starting at the raised end and working the milk towards you. Wiggle the pitcher as you move it across the surface. When you get the other side of the cup you need to pour a straight line across the pattern you've just created to bring it all together.

A heart design is't far removed from the techniques required for a rosetta. You need to tilt the espresso and pour the steamed milk into the cup near middle of the lower edge. Then lift the pitcher higher while still tilting the coffee and pour the milk towards the centre of the cup, wiggly the pitcher slightly to get the shape you're after. When you're nearly done pour the last bit of milk across the surface to the opposite side of the cup and bring it back level to create the point at the bottom of the heart.

It sounds a bit complex but it's actually not that difficult when you've tried it a few times, and it will make your coffees that bit more special. The rate of your wiggle and pour will impact the shape of your art so experiment and see what you can create.

Stencils

Another great and quick way to get you coffees personalised is to make your own stencils. You'll just need to hold the cut out over the cup and sprinkle some powder and your coffee art will be done in seconds. Easy!

Etching

With etching you can create free hand masterpieces using syrups, melted chocolate or simply by manipulating foam. You might find this method a bit time consuming at first but the more you practise the quicker you'll get and you can create some amazing patterns.

Practise On Your Time

To keep your customers smiling try to get speedy with your latte creations. Your efforts are bound to be appreciated but if you make people wait for their morning caffeine hit because you're drawing Nelson Mandela they might not be so impressed. Ideally your art should take no longer than it would normally take you to make a coffee.

No one is going to judge you if it doesn't go quite to plan as long as your drinks still taste great.

If you're not yet one of our lucky franchisees, have a look at setting up a Cafe2U coffee van for sale in your area today and you could be creating exceptional coffee art in no time.

For more amazing examples, have a look at this selection of creative latte art or head over to our Facebook page.

A Fresh Start: Why Pick Cafe2U

Thursday, April 10, 2014

When you’re looking for a new start in life or in business, you can easily become overwhelmed by all the options out there. Being an employee works perfectly for some people, and it might have even worked well for you in the past, but sometimes you get to stage in life where you’re fed up of being poorly managed, and you need a fresh start. You could just change jobs and start out with a new (hopefully better) manager, or you could change tack altogether and move into a role where you’re not relying on anyone else, either by becoming your own boss and starting your own company, or by joining a franchise, and becoming more or less completely independent while still having plenty of support and assistance on your journey.

Whether you’re looking to start your own business, or you’ve been researching coffee franchise opportunities, making the step away from employee status is quite a big one. And it isn’t always the easiest. Your career choices should reflect the skills you have, as well as where your passions lie. It will mean that you enjoy your work more, which will make life much more pleasant.

What our franchisees have to say

We spoke to one of our newer franchise partners, Geordie who has recently set up a territory in York. Before taking his first steps into his new career, Geordie had been running branded restaurants for 20 years – so while he’s new to coffee franchise opportunities, he’s certainly not new to the service industry.

Geordie loves Cafe2U because the support given is second to none, and you’re joining a knowledgeable team with a mass of collective experience. Best of all, they’re willing to share that experience so you’ll find your feet more quickly.  

Of course, previous experience in certain industries is bound to help you with coffee franchise opportunities, but it’s not completely necessary. Anything to do with food preparation, management skills , sales, marketing, customer service or just dealing with people is likely to put you in good stead. As we mentioned, Geordie used to run branded restaurants before he joined Cafe2U, so he’s quite fortunate as there’s a lot of cross over between the industries.

When you join, you will be provided with absolutely everything you need to run your franchise successfully. That includes training (both off and on site) so that you’re totally confident with both the service and the business sides of your work, as well as equipment. We’ll make sure you’ve given the most up-to-date tools possible, to make sure everything runs smoothly. Geordie believed he’d be getting a 63 plate van when he first signed up, but because his training concluded after the new 14 plates came out, he received one with the newer number plate instead. It’s really important to us that you’re given equipment which is as efficient and as effective as we can provide, and lasts the life of your business, helping you provide an excellent service to your clients throughout.  

We encourage our franchise partners to get involved with helping their community. Not only is this a great thing to do, it can also act as an excellent advertisement for your franchise. Coffee mornings and bake sale fundraisers have become more and more popular in recent years, and you can use your skills to make sure the quality of the coffee at these mornings is as high as possible. It also means that the mornings can be hosted outside on sunny days, as you have everything you need to work anywhere.

There’s plenty of reasons to choose a great coffee franchise opportunity like Cafe2U, so do get in touch if you would like to know more about the process and what will be expected of you.