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Making a Move from Executive Chef to Coffee Franchise Owner


Making a Move from Executive Chef to Coffee Franchise Owner

Thinking of buying into a Franchise?  

One of the most favoured reasons to buy a franchise is that you are usually  buying into a proven concept where systems and procedures are already in place. A Franchise in most cases is a proven business model where all the hard work has been done!

People buy into franchises for numerous reasons:

  • Franchises are secure in most cases
  • You want to be your own boss.
  • You're not a confident/ willing to start a business from scratch.
  • Financial Gain
  • More control of work / life balance
  • Retired and looking to continue a productive life; supplement retirement income.
  • Giving back to their community or making a difference in the lives of others.

I first met Yogi when we had our hospitality supply business, and Yogi was an Executive Chef running the kitchen looking after the bigwigs at the BigGroup.  Fast forward a few years... Yogi hung up his apron and took the plunge into buying a franchise and has never looked back! 

We spent an afternoon with Yogi, catching up and chatting about life on the road, running a business,  instead of a kitchen.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Africa, then moved to London when I was 9 and lived there for 22 years.  Came to Australia for a backpacking adventure which was fantastic.  Traveled the whole of Australia clockwise, into the middle and clockwise again.  The only place I still haven't seen is Tasmania! Naturally, I fell in love with Oz and decided this is where I wanted to stay. 

Family?
Wife Di & 2 Kids, Alexa and Mohan 

How long have you been a Franchisee?
Coming up to 2 years

What did you do before you bought this franchise?
Worked for the "Big Group" for 20+ years with the last role being Operations Manger for 5 years

Why did you decide to  go into business for yourself?
Basically fed up with working for other people and making them rich!  If I work 60-70hrs per week, my paycheck was always the same, week in week out.  I knew that If I could put in that many hours for myself, in my own business - I'd definitely make more money!

What was your main criteria in looking for a business?
I wanted a business that would give me work, life, balance!

How did you find out about your franchise, and why choose this?
It was actually my wife Di, who came across information about Cafe2U Franchise.  We went to a few sales seminars to learn more about this franchise and it seemed to fit the bill.   It was something we can do and manage and felt that it was a good fit for us - so we were in! 

What other businesses or franchises did you look at? Why?
Looked at no others.  It was a perfect fit for what I was looking for and wanted in a business.  

How did you research this franchise?
We heavily researched and gathered information on the territories that were available.  What also helped was the Dunn & Brad Street industry insights provided as it divulged how many businesses are mapped within each territory.  We drove around each area that we were interested in to get a better understanding and to see the  full perspective of how many potential customers and clients there actually were.  

Also, we spoke with many other Franchisees to see how they enjoyed working for this Franchise and basically to find out if they are happy with their decision and clarify if there is anything that we needed to be concerned about.  One Franchisee was, how do you say, in a way finding it a little more challenging, due to the fact that the territory he picked was a little saturated with established cafes...  so this golden nugget piece of advice helped us in what to look and watch out for.  We also went out on daily runs with other Franchisees. Let me tell you, this was such a great and invaluable experience as you get to understand hands-on and actually see "a day in the life of" your potential business.  Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

How long did the decision-making process take from deciding you wanted to be self-employed to your first day in business?
Literally 1 week!  This was after completing the seminars and research.  I  knew this was what I could and wanted to do. Naturally, the actual process takes much longer (2 months) to start the business, but once I understood the basic mechanics of what is involved and was required, I couldn't wait to start running my own business. 

What were your biggest challenges in your first 3 months?
First - 5am starts!  Seriously!  Being in hospitality for so long, it was always late night finishes, late morning starts.

Second -  having to borrow money to start this business venture.  Always gives you stress and in trepidation!

Third - The usual learning curve of getting established in my territory and canvassing for new customers.

What are your biggest challenges now?
Trying to cut down the need to say YES I'LL BE THERE to every event and gig offered.  Don't get me wrong, you need to do this to establish yourself and get to know your customers. Being so service orientated by nature also made it extremely hard to pull back.   It took quite a while to realise that if I don't say no occasionally then  I'm back to the drawing board of working 7 days - pulled from pillar to post.  This also doesn't help  servicing my regular customers.  I still do work on weekends, however,  now I can pick and choose, preferring to commit to charity events, where it gives me great satisfaction to help make a difference and raise funds for the community and that particular charity.    

What has been your biggest achievement to date in this business?
Getting to know my community and establishing my territory.  It is so fantastic and rewarding waking up each weekday knowing that I'm going to see my customers and help start  their day with my great coffee, warm smile, and a chat!  The other most important achievement which took at least 12 months in the making to achieve was overcoming the hard learning curve to stand back and remember what my most important goal as to why I started this business in the first place!  That is  (after start-up phase) to finally enjoy the work, life, balance I so longed for and spend quality time with my kid & wife.

What are your plans for growth and expansion?
I've been fortunate with establishing my business and  territory through hard work and determination. I actually do have scope to add another vehicle / coffee van to expand, however that would create more stress, double of everything and that is not what I truly want.  I want to focus and not drop the ball with providing exceptional service to my current customers. I started this business to achieve work, life balance & with 2 small children I'm going to focus on this!
Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor
What do you like most about this franchise? 
The strong branding and quality of the product.  Don't get me wrong - regardless that I'm involved, our Franchise offers the Rolls Royce, top notch coffee bean blends, backed with numerous awards.  Also, they are very transparent with their business goals and objectives. Remember I spoke to numerous  Franchisees who on the most part are very happy and satisfied.  I also like the consistent support that is always on hand.

What do you like least?
Cliche, I know - I hate the 5am starts - but I'm safe to say, I'm finally getting used to it!  So really nothing in the scheme of things.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? (i.e. Hobbies/interest, etc…)
Golf, good wine, and good food, cooking and spending time with my kids.  With Mohan doing soccer and cricket, this season I finally got to be there, watch him play and support him from the sidelines.

How does running your own business impact on your spare time?
I'm slowly finding my work-life balance goals!  Finally, after the initial 14 months of establishing my business,  I'm now able to make many of my kids weekend soccer and cricket matches, including ad hoc adventures in between this summer!   

Now that you’ve bought a franchise, what would you have done differently in hindsight?
Not to doubt my abilities. This is regardless if you're wanting to start your own business from scratch or operating a franchise. It's about thinking and sticking to the bigger picture of what you want to achieve and can handle. Starting any new venture is very stressful, but if you have a goal / vision / sound business plan or concept - don't focus on the failure aspect.

What would be your key piece of advice to a potential franchisee?
Follow the formula and business structure of the franchise!  Don't deviate from it.   Not going to sugar coat it as it's not a ticket to easy street straight off the bat, but if you work hard, apply the principles and business structure it does pay off and you really can't fail.


More About Yogi     

Cafe2U is Australia's premier mobile coffee franchise system.  


To find out more about Cafe2U mobile coffee franchise opportunities call 1300 CAFE2U  (1300 223 328)



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