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.

 

 

Really Awesome Coffee – Lanarkshire adds third mobile café van in 8 months

 

It has been a rollercoaster ride for John and Maria in Lanarkshire. John and Maria launched their Really Awesome Coffee franchise in February 2020 and 6 weeks later the nation was in lockdown. However, this did not stop the hardworking duo developing their business in these uncertain times.

When lockdown was announced they started promoting ‘home deliveries’ to run alongside their daily visits to key-worker locations, and found that there was a huge demand in the area. Their customer base quickly grew and they have not looked back.

John testifies that over the last few months, a lot of hard work and long days became their new normal, but the satisfaction and financial rewards have made it all worth it. Within the space of 6 months they added a second mobile café to cope with the growing demand, and fast forward another 2 months, John and Maria have picked up their third coffee van this week!

It’s been just 12 months since John and Maria came to see us at the National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, and they now run a fleet of 3 Really Awesome Coffee vans in Lanarkshire.

Left:John and Maria visiting us at the NEC. Right: Picking up their third van

We caught up with John just as he and Maria were picking up coffee van number three:

How have you found trading with 2 vans?
I found it straightforward as I was technically already running 2 routes with 1 van so it made it really easy to have 2. The only challenge was to train staff whilst running the routes at the same time.

What are your thoughts on adding the third van?
I’m looking forward to it as we are turning work down at the moment. We already have the staff in place and some ‘coffee stops’ lined up. 2 vans will be visiting workplaces and the 3rd van will be dedicated to home deliveries.

What has been key to your growth and success?
Exciting times for us and still loving the buzz. Social media is helping us grow our business. The customer app is also helping us keep customers and make new ones too. It’s one of the big things that differentiates us from the competition.

I would never have thought we would be in this position 8 months ago when we started, and if everything goes to plan we will be looking at a 4th van soon as well.

 

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

 

 

Steve Silver – Coventry North

Having worked for a university as an IT Manager for many years, I decided I needed a change. I needed a big change in career to make it worthwhile getting up for work in the morning.

Everyone likes coffee, so I started looking into coffee based businesses. Whilst I was doing my research and due diligence, I remembered that a friend of mine had taken on a Really Awesome Coffee franchise.

I decided to take the plunge and immediately contacted Really Awesome Coffee head office. The onboarding process was flawless, efficient and professional. This is probably the easiest decision I have ever made, and I look forward to the future.

My time so far with RAC has been interesting to say the least. Since launching in late February 2020, the support I have received from both the head office and the rest of the network has been invaluable, especially during these difficult times.

I have been trading throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with a mixture of home deliveries and existing coffee stops and I have built quite a loyal customer base. I feel like I now know each of my customers and what they would order on a regular day.

For anyone looking to invest in a franchise business, my advice would be, be prepared for some very hard work, long days and nights at the beginning, but it will be all worth it. I just wish I’d done it sooner.

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

 

 

Why Mobile? The Flexibility of Van-Based Businesses

Mobile businesses have been around for as long as we can remember, and food trucks and ice cream vans have been mainstays in this sector. Well, in 2010, Really Awesome Coffee decided that coffee shops should also be on wheels, without the restrictions and risks bricks-and-mortar cafés have to contend with!

For most people the idea of launching their own business is challenging and understandably so; with any new venture comes a level of uncertainty and risk. Once you have made the decision to take the route of franchising, the process of researching and selecting the right franchise model for you is crucial. The first questions that you need to ask yourself are ‘what are my objectives/goals’ and ‘how much do I need to invest’?

The first, and major, benefit of a mobile business is that it’s generally understood that most van-based businesses run from the franchisee’s home (at least initially), so the challenge of finding suitable office or retail space along with the overhead costs of a premises is eliminated. As a start-up company, avoiding these overheads is a huge advantage and reduces some of the risk.

Secondly, while a van itself may appear to be a significant investment, the franchise businesses operating in the mobile market are usually lower cost opportunities. However, this does not mean low earnings. We have seen our South Lanarkshire franchise partner achieve earnings within their first year of trade to enable them to add a second, and then a third coffee van.

With a mobile franchise business, your vehicle ultimately becomes your place of business. There is no requirement for expensive premises or the need to hire staff, helping to keep overheads low whilst creating excellent profit levels. A van franchise also gives you the flexibility of adapting your business to suit your lifestyle and vice versa. During the COVID-19 lockdown, most of our franchise partners adapted to offering home deliveries, again proving the flexibility of a van based business.

If you are someone with an outgoing personality, if you like meeting new people and travelling, then you should consider van based franchising. Not only does this provide you with a flexible business model, but with lower overheads you can often generate higher profits. If expansion is on your mind, then a van based business provides ample opportunity to achieve this, with it often being relatively simple to add a vehicle to your fleet.

So, in summary, a van-based business can often offer a more affordable avenue into self-employment, with the added benefits of flexibility and adaptability, alongside reduced risks compared to those associated with a fixed premises enterprise.

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

 

 

3 Awesome ways to research Franchise businesses

The Internet

The internet is a great place to start. A quick Google search will present you with a number of options. We strongly recommend that you browse franchise directories as they will give you comprehensive details on your preferred franchise opportunity.

Directories like Franchise Direct offer a deeper understanding of franchisors. However, even though the internet is a good place to start, it should not be your only research platform.

Franchise Exhibitions

Franchise exhibitions are an interesting platform to find out about brands as they will be showcasing hundreds of franchise opportunities and offering candidates the chance to meet face-to-face with the franchisor. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all events for this year were cancelled and a few of them moved online as virtual expos.

Since the beginning of lockdown in March this year, we have started hosting virtual Discovery Days. Our virtual presentation also includes the tour of our awesome van, but unfortunately visitors cannot try our delicious food and, of course, our really awesome coffee.

Bear in mind that at exhibitions you will be presented with lots of very positive information that will need further review. Exhibitions can be a great way to get an initial feeling for a brand, and it’s a great way to ask all the questions you might have about starting a franchise business, and find out if it’s suitable for you.

Local franchise owners

What better way to learn and understand a bit more about a business you are interested in than to speak with someone who is where you want to be?

Local franchise owners will give you unbiased information about the brand and what it’s like running your own business. They are also more than likely to share their own experiences before and after they started their own business. We have over 60 mobile coffee vans across the UK; if you feel you might want to ask a Really Awesome Coffee franchise partner any questions, let us know and we will put you in touch.

 

To find out more about our franchise opportunity, please book onto one of our virtual Discovery Days here.

 

 

Really Awesome Coffee serves up in Farnborough

Since leaving the army in late 2019, I thought I would struggle to make a living doing something that I would enjoy. I had been in the military for most of my life and thoroughly enjoyed serving in the army, meeting and working with new people.

When the Really Awesome Coffee franchise opportunity presented itself to me, I knew that this was something I would enjoy doing, and I liked the idea of being my own boss. I called the Head Office in Coventry and I was given a next day appointment for a 1 to 1 meeting with the Managing Director. He was very professional, thorough, and the team made me feel at ease. Three weeks later, I was signing my franchise agreement.

Really Awesome Coffee has given me the freedom to run my own business and I get to learn new skills as well as meet and interact with different types of people.

With the support of the Franchise Development team, I have learnt how to run my business efficiently and effectively.

Anthony’s a valued member of our network and his Really Awesome Coffee van can be seen in and around Farnborough, Camberley, Southwood and York Town.

 

To find out more about our franchise opportunity, please book onto one of our virtual Discovery Days here.