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Exclusive Interview: “Franchising is a family affair”

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Franchise Partner name/s: Bill & Amal Dennaoui
Name of franchise: Gloria Jean’s Coffees Chipping Norton & Green Valley

Tell us a bit about yourself:

We are the married husband-wife duo behind the Gloria Jean’s Coffees Chipping Norton and Green Valley coffee houses.

I (Bill) am 35 years old with a Degree in Commerce – majoring in Marketing. I spent twelve years in the corporate world before owning my own business, working across various multi-national food and beverage brands. My wife (Amal) is 31 years old and spent most of her professional life working in customer service roles, before venturing into becoming a business owner. We have a young family with two little boys.

Tell us about how/when your coffee house was started and the motivation behind establishing it?

Gloria Jean’s Coffees Chipping Norton and Green Valley were purchased as existing established businesses after my wife and I wanted to work for ourselves and become business owners; we also acknowledged potential for future growth in the area.

We first purchased the Chipping Norton Kiosk in 2014 as we fell in love with the neighbourhood after buying our first house there. After the success of the first coffee house, 1 year later we decided to buy our second Gloria Jean’s coffee house at Green Valley.

When and why did you decide to go down the franchise route with Gloria Jean’s?

“We decided to enter into a franchise business as we wanted to be part of a proven and successful brand like Gloria Jean’s Coffees which could help and support us to achieve our financial and family goals.”

What have been your biggest achievements/successes to date so far?

Within the first year of taking over Gloria Jean’s Coffees Chipping Norton and Green Valley, we grew our sales by over 25% in both coffee houses. We have also been acknowledged for several local business awards, including the local soccer club and primary school, for our contribution to the community.

In addition, we are firm believers of providing employment to young people and have since proudly employed many young locals within our area.

What challenges have you had to overcome?

Our biggest challenge to date has been staying on top of local competitors in such a tough retail and industry environment. We believe that we have overcome this challenge through our dedication to ensuring we continue to offer a quality product and service to our guests.

What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your coffee house?

We come from a marketing background and know it’s important to keep communicating with our community to build a loyal following and also acquire new guests. We often advertise in local newspapers and also do regular letterbox drops. In addition, we like to participate in local events and also sponsor a local football team.

What differentiates you from the competition?

We differentiate ourselves from competitors by always engaging with our community to ensure that we are giving our guests what they want and get them coming back to visit us.

“Through being a part of the Gloria Jean’s Coffees network, we are able to leverage the strong market position of the brand that is widely recognised throughout Australia and holds a trusted presence in the community.”

In your opinion, what makes a successful Gloria Jean’s Coffees franchise partner?

A successful franchise partner comes down to someone who has great people skills and outstanding customer service. It’s important to have a good work ethic and be involved in the business every single day. You need to be able to understand the concept of franchising and that it is a proven system but doesn’t just run by itself, it’s only as good as its operator.

What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how has your coffee house adapted to them?

It’s no secret that consumer taste profiles have changed and are ever-changing. Our guests are becoming more particular about their preferences with not just coffee, food as well, and we have identified this to adapt accordingly. We have increased our product range in each coffee house and continually challenge the way we present our food offerings.

What does the future hold for your coffee houses?

Both of our coffee houses are due for refurbishments and we are excited to have that completed, because just as our guests evolve so too does our business and it’s important to ensure we are meeting expectations and adapting to that shift in the market.

From meeting this change, we expect to have a further increase in sales and look forward to the ongoing growth of our business.

What advice would you give to someone considering opening a Gloria Jean’s coffee house?

The biggest advice is to understand the market you trade in and where you fit within that market. Ask yourself, what is your competitive advantage? Be sure to always be thinking long-term and make an effort to be a part of the community you trade in because they are your livelihood.

“Treat the brand name and its longevity in the market as a starting point for success. Take advantage of the franchise network because ultimately they are there to support you and help you succeed.”

If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?

We did the research, planning and due diligence before purchasing both of our coffee houses. We probably wouldn’t change much more as that is the most critical part of being successful.

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