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.

 

 

Really Awesome Coffee welcomes 3 new franchisees

As the year draws to an end, we are delighted to introduce and welcome 3 new franchisees to the Really Awesome Coffee network.

During the last few months of uncertainty, we have been fortunate enough to attract and launch new businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. As mobile cafés, our resilient and flexible business model enables new and existing franchise partners to continue to trade and grow their businesses, with all safety measures observed.

We are excited for our new franchise partners launching their own Really Awesome Coffee businesses and wish them every success.

 

Richard Hamblett

Initial Contact: Virtual Discovery Day
History Prior: Worked in sales for a motor parts company
Trading Territory: Tyseley
Launch Date: 2nd November 2020
Facebook: Really Awesome Coffee – Tyseley

 

Matt Fear

Initial Contact: Virtual Discovery Day
History Prior: Worked in Marketing
Trading Territory: Ipswich West
Launch Date: 2nd November 2020
Facebook: Really Awesome Coffee – Ipswich West

 

Corinne Mason

Initial Contact: Virtual Discovery Day
History Prior: Worked in Management in the charity sector
Trading Territory: Rugby
Launch Date: 16th November 2020
Facebook: Really Awesome Coffee – Rugby

 

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.

 

 

 

Geoff Kay – Really Awesome Coffee Basildon

Geoff arrived at our head office in Coventry for his initial training in July but only launched his business in August due to the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Since his launch, Geoff has been busy developing his round and serving his customers with awesome coffee. 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?

The onboarding process with Really Awesome Coffee was really easy. There is a lot of work to do, but there is a good framework in place to support you through every step of the way. Without their help there would be a few more grey hairs and stress; they help to alleviate this. Really Awesome Coffee really looks after you and wants you to succeed and that is awesome to know they have your back.

My time with Really Awesome Coffee has been great. I launched my business during difficult times so it was never going to be straightforward (I was under no illusion). Really Awesome Coffee in the shadows to help whenever required is a massive aid to the running of the business. 

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

The support from Head Office has been really good. Whenever I have had a question they have been quick to come back and answer my questions. The support visits are an encouragement to me in the growing of my business.

 

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

The advice I would provide to any prospective new franchises would be, firstly, book on to a virtual Discovery Day. If ever you are not sure of anything, Kevin goes into detail to clear up any questions you might have.

Secondly, once onboard, bond with your customers, become their friends and they will look after you, while you look after them.

 

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

 

 

Andy Barr – Really Awesome Coffee Renfrewshire

Andy arrived at our head office in Coventry for his first day’s training on Monday 23rd March, only to have to get back on a train to Renfrewshire as the UK lockdown was announced.
He was able to follow the journeys of the rest of the network through the lockdown period, seeing them adapt to offer services to key-worker sites and running the new home delivery service.
Then, after nearly 4 months of waiting earnestly, he was able to come back down to Coventry to complete his training, with his business launched in Renfrewshire at the end of July.
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?

The onboarding process was made really simple by the team at head office. They gathered all information from us and put us in contact with all the right people regarding finance applications. The support and direct contact from Kevin and head office took a lot of stress out of what would have been a complex process had we wished to tackle the entire process on our own.
To date our time as a Franchise partner with Really Awesome Coffee has been extremely enjoyable. There obviously are challenges day to day, but they come with any business. The tools given to you by head office enable you to run your business in an extremely efficient and profitable way. Everything from ordering supplies to how to make the drinks is explained and delivered in a way that everyone can understand.
Really Awesome Coffee really takes the complexity out of starting a business and provides a model and support that would enable anyone to be successful. The days can be demanding, but the rewards and satisfaction you get from seeing your business grow is worth everything.

 

How have you found the ongoing training and support?

From the beginning of our journey, the support from head office has been world class. Every single member of staff is extremely approachable, friendly and will always strive to help whenever you need it. No query is ever too much hassle; no question is a silly question. What also really makes Really Awesome Coffee stand out is that your own Franchise Development Manager (FDM) is available constantly and always checks in to offer advice, guidance and support. At no point do you ever feel like you are on your own or that there is nowhere to turn for help.
Every step of setting up your business is laid out for you, from researching your territory to ordering supplies. After the initial training period and FDM initial visit, the support doesn’t end. The follow up visits are a great support and help ease you into running your own business and developing the understanding required in order to grow and develop your daily round.

 

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

Do it. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made. Running your own Really Awesome Coffee mobile coffee van is a highly enjoyable and rewarding way to earn a living. Every aspect of the business has been thoroughly scrutinised by Kevin and his team and literally there is nothing that they have not thought of. From the moment we attended the initial Discovery Day, it was instantly obvious that the levels of professionalism, knowledge and dedication allied to the state of the art coffee van made this an opportunity that we felt was too good to pass up.
To be honest the whole Really Awesome Coffee Franchise model is so impressive; it really does feel as if you can’t fail. Whilst it is a very serious business, the whole operation is conducted in a very relaxed manner and you never feel under any undue pressure. We really can’t speak highly enough about Kevin and the franchise system he has built and we are utterly convinced we have made the best decision of our lives.

 

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