Martin Owen – Really Awesome Coffee Anglesey

After working in management for 25 years at the same hotel, Martin felt the time had come to move on and do something for himself. He joined the network in February 2021.

Martin says “I looked at the three different options of coffee van franchises and chose Really Awesome Coffee as the whole package came over as the best value for money and Kevin’s enthusiasm for the business and his knowledge far outweighed the other options. The van setup is also a clear winner when making the decision, and having spent the past four weeks working with it I have not been disappointed.”

We recently caught up with him to find out how he found the onboarding process and how he’s finding running his new business.

 

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to becoming a Really Awesome Franchisee?

I had been a Hotel General Manager for 20 years and worked at senior management level for 5 years at the same hotel before taking over.

 

Why did you decide to run a business and why Really Awesome Coffee specifically?

I needed a fresh start but with 30 years catering experience and also front of house experience it seemed the best option. I also wanted to step back a bit and have a change in working time.

 

Tell us a bit about your training at Head Office and your business launch.

I was made to feel at home, I found it very good considering the turmoil COVID left us in. I have been very warmly accepted by my customers but I am also fortunate to be well known by so many people due to my time at the hotel and also through my family and friends.

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

My Franchise Development Manager(FDM) is always on hand but I am fortunate to have a knowledge of serving large volumes of customers so it comes easy to me (not being big headed) . I normally have a very nice, relaxed and enjoyable day trading.

 

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to invest in their first franchise?

Research your area and if possible get to go out on a van or vans for a few days, also if you can get experience working in a coffee shop or bar it would certainly help.

 

If you would like to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

Paul Bailey – Really Awesome Coffee Swindon West

Paul joined the Really Awesome Coffee network in March 2021 and has made a flying start running his own business alongside his partner Audrey.

Paul said “I was researching other opportunities and franchises and saw Really Awesome Coffee on a franchise internet page and as I had developed a coffee label in my previous life, this ticked all my boxes. In addition to that, the discovery day really confirmed that this was my future.”

We caught up with him recently to find out how he found the onboarding process and how he’s finding running his new business.

 

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to becoming a Really Awesome Franchisee?

I was a Regional Operations Manager, for a small contract catering company.

 

Why did you decide to run a business and why Really Awesome Coffee specifically?

The role I held was made redundant during the COVID lockdown and as I did not want to go back into that industry, I decided to look at opportunities working for myself.

Coffee was a large part of my previous role and was a close alignment to what I was doing prior. In addition, the App that was discussed on the discovery day is what clinched it.

 

Tell us a bit about your training at Head Office and your business launch.

The training in Coventry was great, everyone was really helpful. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited to be starting my own business with the amount of support and from real people.

As for the launch, once we got under way, it was great – I suppose it’s like driving, you only really learn what it’s about once you pass your test – Still loving every second, never a bad day on the van, only the wrong clothes!

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

Great, no problems here, my Franchise Development Manager is great and so is the support from the Coventry head office.

 

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to invest in their first franchise?

You have to have a big personality – you are in charge at the back of the van, not the customer – the product is fantastic and can stand on its own, however, people buy people – if you are seen to be happy and knowledgeable about the product, they will come out, day in, day out.

 

If you would like to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

Start your mobile café business for just £6,500

Since the first COVID lockdown we have seen a surge in enquiries about our mobile café franchise. This is partly down to our ability to continue to trade during COVID, partly down to the increase in demand our franchisees are seeing for the services they provide, and partly due to the increased number of people exploring new opportunities after a redundancy or simply having had time to reflect on their outlooks whilst on furlough. 

We are excited to announce the new lower initial minimum investment of £6,500 to get started on your journey as a franchise partner with Really Awesome Coffee. Franchisees still get the same value from joining our network, but the lower initial cost has opened up the opportunity to many more people. 

If you have been in touch with us previously, but felt that the initial finance required was too high, we would love to hear from you again.

 

Virtual Discovery Days

COVID pushed our monthly Discovery Days online, and in doing so we have been able to host more of them – our MD, Kevin Haswell, now hosts Virtual Discovery Day events roughly every 10 days (every third Saturday morning, and every third Wednesday evening).

You can book on to one of these virtual events here.

 

New Franchise Partners

We have welcomed 18 new franchises since March 2020, and 5 franchisees have also been able to expand (launching additional coffee vans), bringing our total network size to over 75 franchised coffee vans trading across the UK! 

Mike in Milton Keynes has added his 4th & 5th van, John in Lanarkshire a 2nd & 3rd van, Peter in Ballymoney has launched 2nd & 3rd van, Paul in Dunstable has expanded from 1 van to 4, and Yousif in Highgate has added a 3rd van to his fleet.

The COVID-19 pandemic, redundancies, and a change to working environments have been the  main driving factors for most of our new franchise partners to join the network. 

If you see yourself running a Really Awesome Coffee business and would like to find out more about our franchise opportunities, please get in touch via our website (www.reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk), email (franchise@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk),  or phone (0800 043 0271).

 

Matt Fear – Really Awesome Coffee Ipswich West

Matt launched his Really Awesome Coffee business in November 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he was determined to push through the crisis and be a successful business owner. We caught up with him recently to find out how he found the onboarding process and how he’s finding running his new business.

 

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you were doing prior to becoming a Really Awesome Franchisee?

I was Brand Director for a luxury lifestyle global travel goods brand for three and a half years, prior to which I was Ecommerce & Corporate Sales Manager for the luxury brand Montblanc.

 

Why did you decide to run a business and why Really Awesome Coffee specifically?

Many people say they always want to be their own boss, well this is it for me! All the corporate experience, coupled with the knowledge of offering a premium customer experience, lent itself to taking on this challenge. I have always been a coffee lover, having owned my first ‘proper’ barista machine over 20 years ago.

 

Tell us a bit about your training at Head Office and your business launch.

The barista training, along with the pre-launch training, was invaluable. It gave me the confidence in making a success of the business from day one. The pre-launch prospecting was enjoyable and then booking the demos was a lot of fun! Reaction was great from customers, especially as few had used this kind of service before. The professional look, feel and overall experience exceeded people’s expectations.

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

The ongoing support offered and utilized has been terrific, a real sense of being part of a ‘family’. Both Vik (my Franchise Development Manager) and the Head Office team are always quick to respond to any needs, understanding that sometimes a quick solution is needed. They are always ready to help which is massively appreciated.

 

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to invest in their first franchise?

Be sure, be prepared, be confident, but most of all, be happy.

 

If you want to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

Really Awesome Coffee Corby – A year on

We caught up with Tessa – Really Awesome Coffee Corby – to find out how she has navigated the last 12 months having only launched her business a week before the first national lockdown. Here’s what she had to say:

When I was doing my two week training at Head Office, the COVID-19 situation was really starting to gain momentum.  However, I was paying absolutely no attention to any of it due to learning about coffee making and preparing my brain to run a business for the first time. 

I launched on the Thursday and effectively closed after close-of-play the following Monday following the first lockdown instruction! Three days! But, what should have been a spectacularly scary time, actually wasn’t.  

Being SO new to running a business, I actually had no idea what any of it might mean. I had nothing to compare it to! I hadn’t even managed to get a customer base – most of those were last seen loading their laptops into their cars and heading off to work at home for what turned out to be the next year!

The Head Office team was amazing. Obviously this was all new to everyone, not just me. There was no plan for a global pandemic! It wasn’t long before the home delivery idea came about and I soon found myself making coffee on strangers doorsteps, much to their delight!

It really was quite a magical thing in those early days. Many people were completely housebound during the first lockdown and I was often the only break they got. Adults and kids alike would shriek when they saw the van!

As the months progressed, I headed back to the industrial estate to see what was going on. One company just had the MD and his PA in the office. He would shout his order from an upstairs window but he ordered every day. 

Almost all of the businesses operating had skeleton staff and would apologise that it probably wasn’t worth my while stopping by but I carried on anyway and slowly started to build up a round. I operated my skeleton staff round in the morning and did home deliveries in the afternoon and it all worked really well!

Over the year, lockdowns came and went and came again. Staff numbers rose and fell, companies would temporarily close and open two weeks later due to Covid outbreaks and trading patterns were impossible to read! However, there were always enough customers to keep me going.  Covid couldn’t compete with coffee!

I’ve been trading for a year now and the difference in the last few weeks is really exciting!  Staff are coming back to work. The stops I made that just had one or two people now have four or five. Stops that appeared dead to start with are now buzzing. We aim for 30 stops – I have 40 – and now those staff are coming back to work, I’m now working as fast as I can to fit everyone in – and it’s only going to get busier.

I have absolutely no regrets. It’s been a mad year but we got through it. People keep talking about getting back to normal but I’ve not had a normal to compare it to!  Onwards and upwards!

 

If you want to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

From customer to business owner – Corinne Mason

Having come across Really Awesome Coffee in June last year, in the midst of a nationwide lockdown, a throwaway comment from Corinne Mason about always wanting to have a coffee van soon turned into a virtual Discovery Day meeting that progressed to video calls, multiple emails, and an eventual decision to take the plunge and become a Really Awesome Coffee franchise partner. Here is her experience, in her own words:

The initial virtual Discovery Day was very in-depth and I found it almost a little overwhelming in terms of figures ( I just wanted to serve a decent coffee and brighten people’s days!), but for my finance headed husband it said all he needed to hear. The wait for the van and launching of the franchise seemed never ending and I just wanted to get on with it once I’d made the decision, but once the van was here it was all stations go. 

The training both online and in person was all really good. Very relaxed, done at my own pace and I was never made to feel stupid when my technical head didn’t understand what I needed to do! It proved that even at my age I could do something awesome with the right support. Since launching the support has been really good, and I know there is always advice available from my Franchise Development Manager (FDM) and other franchisees if I need it. 

The head office team is very helpful and I know I can contact them anytime. Laura, my FDM, has been a great supporter and encourager, and our days singing in the van during training were good fun! I was quite anxious about starting the business and whether I would cope, but the support and encouragement has really helped me believe in myself and has given me confidence to go for it, knowing the help is there if I need it. And top marks to Head Office for dealing with last minute order requests when I suddenly realise I’ve run out of stock – one bonus to living so close to Head Office! 

When I consider that I’ve only been trading for 3 months I am amazed at where I am at. I know I’ve been fortunate in having a very good round very early on, and this isn’t always the case, but I really do have some wonderful customers and some great support. I am certain lockdown has helped with this as so many people are desperate for a good coffee and to see a friendly face to ease the monotony.

Home delivery has been a great success for me too, and has enabled my business to grow rapidly. Whilst the initial novelty has worn off, and the freezing temperatures have dulled my enthusiasm a little, I still love getting out to see my customers each day and always feel so much better once I’m out and about serving. I have fabulous customers who brighten my day as I hope I do theirs too.

One of the highlights so far has definitely been unknowingly delivering to a Daily Telegraph journalist and food blogger who was so inspired by her Toffee Nut Latte she felt the urge to write an article for the Telegraph about the rise of the coffee delivery industry and particularly Really Awesome Coffee during lockdown. She has remained a regular weekly home delivery customer and has really helped boost my business with her weekly Instagram posts after my visits. So – you never know who you may be serving – put on a smile and make every drink your best one yet!

It’s been really nice to be contacted by a few folk considering starting a franchise recently, and I hope to see some of them coming onboard soon, assuming I’ve not put them off.

My advice to anyone considering it would be to do just that – chat to a current franchisee. I came onboard as a result of meeting Steve Silver who delivered to my home during lockdown, and it was Steve’s enthusiasm and honest answers that helped me make my final decision, and he is still a good source of advice and support.

Once you are trading, I’d also say be generous – going above and beyond expectation will make all the difference and really make you stand out from the other options available in the area. Do the upgrades, give the free biscuits, forget the 10p they don’t have, give away a free drink when somebody needs it – those are the things that people remember and talk about and that  help to build your reputation and goodwill. 

Be the ‘extra’ in somebody’s day – it brightens their day and I bet you’ll feel good for making a difference too. I always do. 

 

If you want to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

Best Technology and Innovation – VFA 2021

We’re excited and honoured to have been awarded the ‘Best Technology and Innovation’ Silver Award at the Virtual Franchising Awards 2021.

Sure enough all franchisors (ourselves included) would like to think that they deserve some recognition for their efforts. In this article, we hope to explain what we have done throughout 2020 and into 2021 to adapt our business model and support our franchisees via some clever marketing and the use of new and adapted technologies, and how we have helped a large portion of our franchise network to perform better during these strange and challenging times than they did before. 

Our franchisees operate mobile cafés, traditionally visiting around 30 different business premises on a daily basis to serve gourmet coffees and lunch items to their staff. The majority of our “coffee stops” had been white collar businesses… although this has recently changed!

COVID-19 – how we adapted our system and supported our network:

It’s fair to say that over the years Really Awesome Coffee had settled into a nice, structured, safe (and successful) routine. Then everything changed on 23rd March 2020 when the country went into lockdown. 

COVID-19 gave us a jolt that forced us to revisit our trading style and make changes and improvements that will benefit our network for years to come. 

As an industry, the mobile catering sector has been lucky. As a network of mobile food and drink delivery vehicles, we were able to continue to trade… in theory. In reality, over 90% of our franchisee’s daily customers disappeared overnight – furloughed or working from home. 

Some franchisees immediately focused their efforts helping out the NHS and other key-worker sites, providing invaluable services for those having to travel into work each day (with Andy Baxter, our Norwich franchisee, even presented with an NHS award for this; an award usually only awarded internally). However, this was not enough trade to keep the franchisees afloat.  

We had to find other sources of income, and in the first week of lockdown a small group of franchisees shared their experiences of trading during that time. We arranged group ZOOM sessions, set up a new online “Coronavirus Trading Forum” for the franchisees to share ideas and experiences, and over the next week or so we were able to put together a new way of operating – our “home delivery” service. 

The idea was simple – whilst no-one could get out of the house, we would bring the ca experience to people at their homes, in a safe and approved way.

In practice, there were a few challenges to overcome, the greatest of which being how to generate immediate demand for the service. This was the challenge that we and the trading franchisees all got our teeth stuck into. 

We needed a coordinated marketing campaign across all our trading franchisees to let people know the service was available.

Firstly, we used our existing marketing database to promote the service, and drew up templates for “app notifications” that franchisees could use to let their regular customers know that the service was available. Our customer app has been an invaluable method for our franchisees to communicate with their customers and maintain customer relationships during these strange times.

Our in-house digital marketing specialist started managing targeted social media ads across the country to promote the service. We saw HUGE growth in reach and engagement across both our, and our franchisees, social media channels – to date we have had growth of over 700% across the network. 

We also designed, developed and launched a new home delivery website (delivery.reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk) at which all the new enquiries were targeted. This website included web-pages for all the franchisees offering the service, along with embedded order forms that allowed them to manage their enquiries and bookings through a single channel. 

A core handful of franchisees that worked with us to develop this new way of trading over the first few weeks after lockdown deserve huge credit. With their commitment, their hard work, and the Head Office team’s dedication to helping them succeed, the home delivery process became established and demand took off!

Over the weeks that followed the start of the first lockdown, the majority of our network was back out trading, and we are extremely pleased to report that a large portion of them actually made more profit during this time than they ever had before. New records were set and regularly broken for daily, and average weekly, turnover and profitability.

As a franchisor, we’re continuously improving and adapting to the new norm we find ourselves in.

Thank you VFA for this awesome award and recognition. Well done to our entire franchise network, and thank you to our customers.

 

If you want to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

2020 and beyond – a great start to 2021

 

2020 was a strange year for most businesses. The pandemic pushed many businesses to re-evaluate their business models, marketing and sales strategies.

Our network of over 50 mobile café vans was fortunate to be able to carry on trading throughout the pandemic, and we have seen some strong performances during this time. Our flexible and adaptable business model enabled us to expand our offering and explore new revenue streams, such as home deliveries.

We have also seen a rise in franchise enquiries throughout the whole year. Despite the challenges the pandemic presented to us, after the first national lockdown we were able to welcome 8 new franchise partners to our network between July and December 2020.

We are already fully booked up with new franchise launches in the first quarter of this year, with 6 new franchise partners getting started, and 3 existing franchisees expanding their businesses with new coffee vans.

Our virtual Discovery Days have proven to be extremely popular, with all of our new franchise partners joining a virtual Discovery Day before they came onboard. Discovery Days are held every ten days on a Wednesday evening and a Saturday morning. By joining our virtual Discovery Days, you will be able to learn more about our franchise opportunity, have the opportunity to ask any initial questions, and get a feeling for whether this is the kind of business you would enjoy running.

With more people reconsidering if the normal 9-5 is right for them, a Really Awesome Coffee franchise business could give you the perfect work-life balance and the chance to embark on something that is work, but for the most part, “doesn’t really feel like work”.

 

If you want to find out more about franchising with Really Awesome Coffee and enquire about our exciting franchise opportunity, call us on 0800 043 0271, send an email to enquiries@reallyawesomecoffee.co.uk or book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days here.

 

Flexible, adaptable and profitable! Is this a genuine COVID-proof business?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, with my mum, sister, brother, and my partner all running small businesses… for them COVID-19 has been terrible, they’ve all had to either shut completely or make tough decisions and struggle through, often running at a loss.

For me, the experience has been different – hospitality and leisure closed down in March, and has just done so again, with the exception of delivery and takeaway services, and our whole business model is based around a takeaway service from a delivery vehicle (our bespoke Mercedes mobile cafés).

Whilst other businesses have struggled, and other hospitality businesses have been investing time and money to be able to offer takeaways and deliveries, we’ve simply seen a rise in demand for our services.

That’s not to say it hasn’t involved some hard work – our franchisees have had to adapt to incorporate our new home delivery service into their daily routine, as well managing the demand from schools, police stations, NHS premises and the like. However, for proactive franchisees who have been happy to adapt to the new landscape of demand, business has genuinely never been better!

A large portion of our franchisees are generating higher profits now than they were this time last year, and all 5 of the franchises we’ve trained and launched since lockdown eased in July are exceeding their target incomes.

Back in 2010, coming out of the last recession, we based the business model around being flexible and adaptable. In 2020, COVID-19 has provided us with some challenges, but ultimately has given us some great opportunities for development and increased earnings.
With more redundancies and people having time to consider their futures, we’ve also seen a rise in demand for franchises, and are now booking franchise launches for February 2021.

If you’re not afraid of a little hard work (all new businesses need some hard work in their first year) and you think that you might enjoy running your own mobile cafe, then I’d love to explain the model to you in greater detail on one of our virtual Discovery Days.

Maybe I’ll speak with you soon?
Kevin Haswell
Founder & Managing Director

 

Jason Simmons – Really Awesome Coffee Tamworth

After being made redundant from a coffee vending company, Jason decided to take the plunge and start his own Really Awesome Coffee business. He launched his business in October. We caught up with him recently to find out how he found the process and how he’s finding running his new business.

 

How did you find the onboarding process with Really Awesome Coffee?

Some years back at a local street food market event, I was amazed after seeing a Really Awesome Coffee mobile vehicle, and impressed at how good the coffee tasted, and thought one day I would love the opportunity to be able to own one of these myself.

Some years later in a crazy 2020 where the whole world was turned upside down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I like many thousands of others found myself being furloughed from work and then being made redundant.

Looking at my social media sites, I had seen Really Awesome Coffee and took the opportunity to make contact with Kevin Haswell to see exactly what Really Awesome Coffee was and is all about. We signed up to one of the virtual Discovery Days being held online due to the lockdown. 

During the virtual Discovery Day, Kevin spoke about the franchise and how the process all works. Learning to run a business is very daunting and complex. I had lots of questions for Kevin and he has the patience of a saint. The initial support that I have received from the team along with the direct contact with Kevin has made each step of the process so much easier and less stressful.

Starting a business at any time has its own challenges. This year with the Covid-19 pandemic, where more and more people are working from home or even in a local lockdown, has changed the way we move forward as a business. We have a socially distanced serving table, hand sanitising stations, and have developed social distancing habits to ensure that my customers are safe whilst at the van.

My time running my own Really Awesome Coffee to date has been brilliant. There is so much satisfaction when a customer comes out to see you on a demo day and sees what Really Awesome Coffee has to offer everyone, and how we accommodate for customers requirements such as providing soy milk, gluten free products and skimmed milk for those health conscious people who enjoy a lavish drink. I am getting feedback like “your coffee tastes lovely”, “wow what a selection of food you have!” or “the van looks amazing” and this makes me feel really proud.

The van is fantastic to work from and customers respond when they see the van and realise what we, as a brand, have to offer. We definitely stand out from other competitors.

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

Knowing that I can get any support from my Franchise Development Manager, Laura Tonks, on a daily basis is a massive help. Laura came out to work with me in my first two weeks to help set up some demos with my new customers and made me settle into my new role and, if any problems arise, her support is a phone call away. As well as Laura, I know that any questions about ordering from suppliers and using our unique RAPoS system can be answered by Greg, the Operations Manager. Both have been invaluable with their knowledge and assistance. It takes away all the stress and complexity from running your own business.

You are your own boss after all and, yes, some issues land right at your feet, but with the guidance and ongoing support from head office you never feel you are alone to deal with any issues.

 

What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to invest in their first franchise?

This opportunity for me was the best decision I have ever made. So, my advice to anyone looking to join Really Awesome Coffee would be to book onto a virtual Discovery Day. It’s so informative, so have a pen and pad ready and write down any questions that you may want to ask. Kevin is so helpful and talks you through step by step of the process and even gives you a virtual tour of the van.

Starting a business can be very daunting and complex. The support and assistance that you receive means you’re not all alone to run the business, but with your hard work and self-discipline along with lots of enthusiasm then there is no reason you will not be successful.

The whole Really Awesome Coffee Franchise model is impressive, the way it’s conducted in a relaxed manner and how you never feel under any undue pressure.

 

You can book onto one of our upcoming virtual Discovery Days to find out more about our exciting van based mobile franchise here.