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CAFE2U BLOG

Reserved for Cafe2U only

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This Australian  business loves their Cafe2U coffee break  so much they place a "reserved" sign out the front of the office to ensure that there is always a parking spot out the front.

"We love our visit from Mark everyday"  says office manager, Kerrie. "he was chuffed when we organised a special  parking spot for him"

Cafe2U Franchise Review: an interview with Steve Payk from NSW

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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.