Since its humble beginnings in 2002, Coffee Guru has grown into a successful chain with established franchise stores across Canberra and New South Wales.
I had a chat with Coffee Guru’s Dean Crowe about coffee, business, and why franchising is a good idea.
Dean Crowe tells me he is a Piccolo Latte kind of guy, due to the fact he drinks 6-7 cups of coffee a day. It’s always nice to hear when a businessman is clearly a fan of his own product.
“What makes a really good cup of coffee is a person with a great personality who has a love for coffee and is willing to keep making it until they get it right” says Dean.
Dean has poured more than a few coffees himself. Before he became the Managing Director of Coffee Guru, Dean was a franchisee for the company. I asked him if he thought his time working in a store helped him perform his current job better.
“Absolutely. My first coffee store was in Tuggeranong outside the Good Guys. I spent time pumping out those coffees and talking with my costumers.”
Dean continued “The secret to a really good business is remembering customer service, and that in the coffee industry your business is built one coffee at a time.”
According to Dean, the majority of the head office at Coffee Guru have all worked in or owned their own stores and feel the same way he does about the experience.
“It’s important to know the business from that grass roots level and understand what your franchisees feel on a daily basis.”
Speaking of franchises I asked Dean what the advantages were when it came to franchising as opposed to starting a brand new business.
Securing sites, handling branding, and knowing that your customers are aware of your product even before they walk past your store for the first time were a few of the reasons Dean mentioned, but he said the real strength came from being a part of a greater whole.
“The real strength of franchising comes from the systemization and the distribution network, which allows for lower product costs, and being supported by a head office and other franchisees.”
Dean also pointed out that joining a franchise can help you round out the skills required to run a successful business.
“Another advantage is the ability to put your skills and knowledge where they fit, whether that be in marketing, customer service, dealing with suppliers, and then you can fill in any gaps with help from the franchise.”
“It’s an old cliché, but you’re in a business for yourself, but not by yourself.”
“That’s why our brand is particularly strong in Canberra. Everyone in our outlets knows each other, and so you’re never short of a friend”
Joining a successful franchise like Coffee Guru can reduce a lot of the risks involved with starting up a business, making it much easier to get a return on your investment.
“Is if you’re outlaying $150,000 to $250,000 on an 8 year lease, you need to ensure you are going to get a return on that investment.”
“One of the points we have made sure to maintain at Coffee Guru is that low capital entry so our franchisees can get rid of their capital outlay quickly.”
Why should someone choose a Coffee Guru franchise?
“We’ve got a proven track record, we have the lowest franchise fees out of all our competitors, and we continue to develop and push our brand.”
Dean tells me that a large part of his day is spent locating ideal locations for stores with ideal locations and low costs.
“By looking outside the square we’ve been able to get some really low per square meter rates in shopping centers that have really good traffic flow and excellent community support for the retail space.”
“Canberra is holding its own with commercial rent, particularly in the shopping centers.”
The conversation swings back towards coffee again, as a lot of conversations in Canberra often do. Dean actually says Canberra’s culture of coffee helped form Coffee Guru.
“We were born and bred in the ACT, we’ve been there for 11 years now and have really strong roots there. Canberra’s coffee culture is developing at a faster rate than other cities. Canberran’s have a sophisticated approach and palate when it comes to coffee, and we have grown with that.
So what opportunities are there for people to join the Coffee Guru family?
“We’ve opened up a new store at Crace, and there are new stores in both the North and South of Canberra coming up, as well as a bunch of opportunities in NSW. We’re looking to start a big drive into Perth too.”
Who would you recommend opening up a Coffee Guru to?
“I’d recommend franchising to anyone who is not afraid of a bit of hard work and loves to put their heart into what they do.”
If you’re keen to learn more about the benefits and opportunities involved in franchising with Coffee Guru then you can check out their website here.