Paul, Cafe2U Rochester, Kent

Cafe2U is the world's premier mobile coffee franchise. We offer franchisees the opportunity to take control of their lives!
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Cafe2U

  Opportunities:
In the UK
  Business Type:
Franchise
  Minimum Investment:
£10,000
  Training Provided:
Yes
  Home-based:
Yes
  Part time:
Yes
  BFA Membership:
Member - Associate

Paul gives an insight as to what its like to be a Cafe2U franchise partner.

I am not an early bird, and so am usually at stop one by 8.30am having received my sandwich delivery at home by 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Before my first stop I organise the sandwiches, set the displays, and check my coffee pour times, as well as made myself a coffee. I have also turned on all the machinery before arrival, so that it is hot and ready to serve on arrival. I will complete 50 stops by the time I have done the last one at 4.15pm.

Paul gives an insight as to what its like to be a Cafe2U franchise partner.

Customers don’t just want a coffee, they want a bit of chat, a bit of a gossip, and they want to be listened to! So while I am making their coffee and serving their breakfast, I am listening to their views on the football, the weather, tales of what they did the evening before and what they did at the weekend!

I came from a background where efficient service, and high standards is paramount – I was a store manager of McDonalds for 20 years. Never the less serving a cappuccino or latte quick enough for people not to complain seemed near on impossible before I started the Cafe2U franchise, and even at the end of training it still seemed daunting, but I soon get quicker, and confident without losing the important Cafe2U quality. One thing I always remember is that customers value great coffee, and don’t mind waiting for it.

I serve hot food right from the start of my round at 8.45am and it slows down by 12.30pm, and my sandwiches seem to sell quickest between 10.30am and 12.15pm. Of course between 8.45am and about 11am, it is mainly about the hot drinks – coffee, chocolate and tea – with some snacks too. All the rounds are a little different and lunch for me tends to peak around 12.15pm, and then switches back to drinks and snacks again for the afternoon, up until my last stop at 4.15pm. I prefer this type of day – starting a bit later than most in the morning, and working through until 4.15pm.

I have very low waste levels, because I take great care with my orders, altering it through the week, and pick the ranges that sell best, as well as rotating my stock in the fridge carefully. I am home again by 4.30pm and I fill up with diesel on the way, as well as collect milk from Aldi for tomorrow, make any alterations to my sandwich order, and count what else I need to restock.

Once I am home I spend 60 minutes, cleaning the van, cleaning the coffee machines, re-merchandising, restocking, and cashing up the till, meaning I am finished by 5.30pm. The van is locked up, plugged into garage power for the fridge for the night.

I tend to clean the outside of the van on Sundays. Monthly, I write my customer marketing email which I use as a way of reminding people about Cafe2U, as well as informing them of my weekly specials, flavoured coffee of the week, or any other local news, or events. I try to keep them interesting, and fun.

Ordering from Brakes is done weekly, and monthly for Tri-Star, and I get a delivery of sandwiches 3 times a week. I have found you cannot totally avoid wastage of sandwiches, but I am careful with ordering, rotation, and regularly run special prices on nearly out of date items, you can minimise it.

Although national marketing information and materials come from the marketing fund, local marketing is my responsibility, and vital for the business. I make sure I always chat to my customers looking for referrals, or introductions for daily stops or event business. This is not expensive, or time consuming because it is direct marketing that and people who trust my Cafe2U service. IE – me talking to potential customers about how great I am!! Even when my round is full, I never stop because you never know what you will discover or who you will meet, and it could be better than my weakest current stop.

Event leads do come through from the website, but you don’t know when they will come or how many, so I also spend about an hour a week looking for events on line. These usually come from Community events, clubs, sports, enthusiasts, churches, schools, charity events and I do a fair bit of work on TV and film sets for location work – just through these channels I would expect to do approximately 41 events of some form or another in the year.
As the owner of my Cafe2U franchise I have to measure and maximise my profitability, I have to ensure I retain my customers, and make sure I am constantly thinking about how to build the business further on every level.

I love working outside in the fresh air rather than being stuck in an office, or restaurant. Selling a product which results in customers saying “Wow that is a great cup of coffee” is a fantastic feeling which I never tire of, especially when you are your own boss and in charge of your working day at the same time. I thoroughly enjoy being able to attend events, which I enjoy and am able to make money at the same time, especially when my wife Melanie and son Harry come along to help

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