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Interview with David O’Heare, Cafe2u franchisee, Belmont WA

An Australian Franchisee Case Study


Name: David O’Heare
Location: Belmont, WA
Franchise: Cafe2U

Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose a Cafe2U franchise?
I got made redundant from the mining industry and prior to that I was self-employed as a jockey and I enjoyed working for myself. I started looking into franchising at a reasonable price. I came across Cafe2U on the website and the more I dived into the business the more interested I became. It sounded too good to be true but the more I looked into it and spoke to people – I realised it was a good opportunity. To work for myself with a young family was a very appealing prospect.

I did my research and was really impressed by the Cafe2U business model and how professional it was, compared to other mobile coffee franchises. The way I look at things, you get what you pay for. If you pay $50,000 for a coffee franchise, you know it’s not going to be quality. After speaking to head office I felt impressed that Cafe2U is run by successful business people who want to give back to the people who were working for them.

What did you do before taking up a Cafe2U franchise?
I was a jockey for eleven years. My dad was a jockey, and it was all I ever wanted to do from a young age. I travelled the world, and rode 500 winners. Then I got heavy. I was always heavy but I got sick of saunas all the time and not eating and not drinking. I wanted to try something different. My family is in mining so I did that for eight years. I was going underground sometimes up to 1200 metres. I operated all sorts of machinery. It was a great roster in mining. A week on, a week off, the money was unbelievable and I loved the lifestyle – but with a young family I’d rather be home now

How did you raise the finance?
It was a little bit of a challenge and I had a few payments I had to make. In saying that, I had money from being made redundant from the mines. We got there in the end.

What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The support was unbelievable. Cafe2U pretty much help you from the time they come and speak to you. The assistance is never ending. We can ring them whenever we want and in regards to training, my partner and I went to Sydney to do the barista course as well as gaining advice how to the run the business. You wouldn’t get that with any other small coffee franchise. The support has been ongoing and if I have drama any time in my runs help is only a phone call away.

What is a typical day for you as a Cafe2U franchisee?
I’m up at 4.45am. I’m on the road at 5.45am and I make about 28-30 stops, with my last stop is at 1.50pm and then I’m having a beer by 1.30pm (just kidding). It’s great because I can pick my kids up after school and it suits my lifestyle really well. I never stop working at ways to develop the business. When I’ve got time I’m look to develop more stops.

What challenges have you faced?
I haven’t faced any major challenges. I’ve had little hiccups along the way with my grinder and things like that but there has been nothing major to speak of. The business is growing like Cafe2U said it would. They said it would slow down initially and then grow back up again and exactly what I was told was what happened. I took their word for it and I’ve been going for three to four months and it’s grown quicker than I thought it would.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
I have the work/life balance I was looking for. Having a young family, I can finish my day by 1.30pm and have time to pick up my kids.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Definitely do your homework. Look at the fees. The most appealing thing about this franchise was the flat rate that they charge everyone. Cafe2U don’t take a percentage of how much you make. It doesn’t matter whether you’re struggling or doing really well, it’s the same amount for everyone. I really liked that. With Cafe2U the business model works and everyone is on a model playing field.

What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to stick with the franchise. This is my career for as long as I can see my future. The plan is to build on it and hopefully get another van within five or six years and go from there.

Would you do it again?
Definitely. It’s worked out really well!