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Melbourne, Australia

Exclusive Interview: “Living the dream with The Coffee Guy”

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Franchise Partner name/s: Tim Ware
Name of franchise: The Coffee Guy, Brendale

A bit about yourself / short bio:

My wife Karen and I are the owner-operators behind The Coffee Guy Brendale and have been a part the franchise network for almost a year and a half. I (Tim) am the full-time operator of the van and my wife joins me at special events to help out. Both of us dreamt of starting our own business and working for ourselves a long time ago, so it has been wonderful to have this opportunity with The Coffee Guy and we are so glad that we took the leap.

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose The Coffee Guy?

We decided to choose the franchise route as it was our first business and we did not feel quite confident enough to go out on our own without any support.

“When you become part of a franchise network, you not only become a franchisee, you become your own boss and are given the ongoing support necessary to succeed.”

Our decision to choose The Coffee Guy was simple, based on the business model and affordability. The model is very well thought-out and has you trained up and ready to hit the road within a few short weeks. As we grew to learn more about The Coffee Guy, we knew it was the right decision for us and the best franchise network to be a part of to start our first business. The van is also customised and fit out with the finest equipment, and is the right size to get around areas that require a tight squeeze.

What did you do before taking up The Coffee Guy franchise?

I previously worked in a few different industries, however have always ventured back to a position involving hospitality. Prior to taking up The Coffee Guy franchise, I worked away as a Hospitality Supervisor in the FIFO mining industry. Although my previous line of work offered a modest income, there was absolutely no work-life balance being on a three-week-on, one-week-off roster.

How did you raise the finance?

Together with my wife Karen, we raised the funds to support our new business venture by way of personal savings and a small bank loan. It was something that we thought through quite thoroughly and for a long time, and decided it was the best way to go, especially with the low entry level of The Coffee Guy.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?

Initially, Karen and I both received a week of full-time training at the Gold Coast Head Office. This included both the theory and practical side of running our business.

As our business was a re-sale, I also had a week handover and training on the road with the previous owner to learn and adapt myself to the daily run and meet the existing customers of the business.

The initial support I received during the takeover was fantastic – especially given that I was a bit nervous to get out on the road by myself.

“The Coffee Guy network provides you with access to a Franchise Development Manager that is contactable on an ongoing basis to provide guidance and support, so this is another huge weight off your shoulders.”

What is a typical day for you as The Coffee Guy franchise partner?

My typical day involves waking up at 4:00am to turn the machine on and pack equipment into the van, then complete any prep work required for the day. I get ready and then at 5:00am I check and adjust the coffee grind to make sure it is pouring correctly, and most importantly make myself a coffee. I travel to my first stop on the daily run which takes me about 20 minutes and then I arrive in Brendale – the first stop of the day!

I begin serving delicious coffee and mouth-watering snacks to my loyal customers and do this across all of my daily stops. At 2:30pm I arrive home and clean the van inside and out, this usually takes between one to two hours as I like to make sure the van is looking clean and tidy in order to attract new and prospective customers. After this time, I tend to daily administration duties to ensure everything is up to scratch.

What challenges have you faced?

In the beginning, I would always dwell on losing customers and saw it as an indication that I was doing a bad job, which worried me. I soon realised that this is not something to focus your energy on and beat yourself up about as you are always going to lose customers and then gain new ones at the same time. Another factor I faced as a first-time business owner was not knowing what to expect in regards to the cash flow patterns and when the busy or quiet periods would be. This is a pattern you do get used to and start to learn to expect.

Has becoming a The Coffee Guy franchise partner changed your life, if so how?

“Yes! It means that I am at home every night and there is definitely more work-life balance and time to do those odd jobs around the home, and spend quality time with family and friends.”

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

We have predominantly focused on word-of-mouth and face-to-face door knocking in order to grow our business to date. Our customers are not just customers, they are also great at providing networking opportunities to help grow our business. We also hand out business cards at every event and give them out whilst we are on the road. Loyalty cards are also another big thing we support as they get noticed in the workplace and increase repeat clientele.

What differentiates your franchise from the competition?

I firmly believe that there are many different factors that differentiate us from competitors, including our personal ability in customer service and maintaining customer satisfaction, as well as the attention to detail in products we sell and processes in which The Coffee Guy goes through to ensure that are customers are always served a high standard of quality coffee.

In your opinion, what makes a successful The Coffee Guy franchise partner?

Being happy and vibrant is a must! Attention to detail is also very important as customers notice and appreciate the small things that can easily get skipped over. You need to be someone who has a good attitude and is sure to brighten up another person’s day. A willingness to listen will also go a long way, as some customers class you as a friend and not just ‘The Coffee Guy’.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are to better develop our daily run and fine tune it to its full potential. We want to work with the community and aim to boost awareness of the van in the local area.

Would you do it again?

Yes, we most definitely would!

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