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Melbourne, Australia

Franchise a hard buzz-Hess

Australian Franchise News – 14-04-09


Franchising coffee on the run is music to this man’s ears, writes Daniel Hoy
IMAGINE being able to work when you want, for as long as you want.
As your own boss you’re in control. If you want to take the morning off, you can.
This is the image most people have of running their own business, it is a romantic notion. The reality is very different. You often work longer hours, are under more pressure, and work-life balance goes out the window.
Franchising is often an attractive option for people who want to work for themselves. But if you’re afraid of hard work, or think life as a franchisee is easy, think again.
“Some people look at it in the wrong way. They are looking to provide themselves with a job,” says Chris Hanlon, general manager of drive-through coffee shop franchise Muzz Buzz. “And that’s dangerous. That’s when you get into trouble.
He says one of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking they can run a franchise remotely. “Some think they can open the doors, appoint a manager and it will run itself,” he says.
“That’s a mistake. If I was investing money I would be working hard to make sure it was a success. 
“I have seen it plenty of times. You have two identical stores and one franchisee is involved, the other isn’t. You know which one is going to make money.”
Hanlon started out in the music business and spent 23 years in sales and marketing at Sony and Warner Music.
“I answered an ad in the paper in 1978 for a sales rep, went for the job, then worked my way through all aspects of the industry,” he says.
“I went to Sydney, originally for 18 months, in 1991. It turned into 10 years. “I felt like it was time to come back to Melbourne.”
A decline in the music industry also forced his hand. “The music industry is shrinking. No state offices any more, so once I took my package I looked around for something to do,” he says.
“I spent some time at a freight company, then Subway poached me. Lo and behold, I was working for a sandwich maker.”  After four years working for Subway he wanted a new challenge.
“Muzz Buzz was really attractive and they were looking for a general manager,” he says. “It was exciting because it was something starting from scratch.
“The concept of drive-through coffee (shops) had never been done and it really intrigued me.
“Our customer base is predominantly tradies and people on the move. But we have started to target mums, and that’s picking up.  “Having a young one in the back seat, to go to a coffee shop is a 45-minute exercise. “A lot of mums say we are a godsend, because they can get a really good coffee without leaving the car.”