Brewing success with every cup

Kevin Haswell is brewing success with every cup through his franchise Really Awesome Coffee

Founder of Really Awesome Coffee Kevin Haswell spills the beans about how blending tech into his journey made the business more robust for the franchise network

Written by Varsha Saraogi on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 – ELITE FRANCHISE MAGAZINE

Many budding entrepreneurs aspire to get business advice from The Apprentice’s Lord Sugar. But even without participating in the show, viewers can learn many lessons for their next venture. For instance, it was an episode of The Apprentice which planted the seed of a mobile coffee van in the mind of Kevin Haswell, founder of Really Awesome Coffee, the mobile coffee van franchise. “It was one of the challenges where participants had to make money by selling coffee from a van and it really got me thinking,” he recalls.

Although he wasn’t looking for a potential business idea then, this image inspired him years later. But Really Awesome Coffee isn’t his first shot at entrepreneurship. Looking back, he took on a sales role after college and instantly realised that a nine to five job wasn’t his cup of tea. And that’s when his business journey began with him spearheading an automotive glazing franchise. “I very much like the challenge and the pressure which inevitably comes with growing a business,” he says. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything different.” However, despite being successful initially, the 2008 financial crisis forced him to merge with a bigger company to save the venture. While the turn of events left him with very little to do, it was really a blessing in disguise as it left him open to hunt for new opportunities. The lightbulb moment came when he noticed people were still queuing outside cafes to get their daily caffeine fix, despite the recession. “Coffee continued to be a growing industry and it wasn’t impacted anywhere near to what other industries were,” he adds.

Indeed, Brits today are willing to spend a few extra pounds for a good cup of morning joe. However, looking at the ubiquity of stores like Starbucks and Costa Coffee around almost every corner, one would assume the marketplace to be saturated, not to mention extremely competitive. But Haswell wanted to tap into a loyal clientele without having to compete with these high street giants. “Having seen the resilience of the coffee industry through the recession, I knew I wanted to be in it but having researched the market I thought ‘there ought to be other ways to make coffee successful without the risk,’” he recalls.

So instead of gambling on the willingness of customers to walk through the doors or hoping no other cafe opens down the road, Haswell remembered the episode of The Apprentice and made his idea of a coffee van a reality. “With a mobile concept, we could be where bigger players can’t go,” he declares. “The whole concept is rather than being in one place, we take the proactive approach and take the coffee shop to customers. The risk is so nimble because we [can] move the cafe somewhere else.” After devising a business plan, Haswell injected capital through a combination of bootstrapping, a bank loan and remortgaging his property. And in August 2010 he launched Really Awesome Coffee with the office in his back garden and the first coffee van parked in his driveway.

The daily grind for him during the initial days involved spreading the word about the venture. Being a firm believer in direct marketing, he started knocking on doors to get his first potential customers by fuelling their caffeine craving. Within 18 months of building his business up from the ground, he franchised the company to expand throughout the UK. Given his experience with his former business, franchising wasn’t an unknown path for Haswell. In fact, he believes it’s the ideal way to create brand awareness without extra investment. “The aim was always to create a business that could be franchised,” Haswell reveals. As his previous business had also been franchised, he could filter his experience into his new enterprise. For instance, at the time of his first venture he had no idea what the British Franchise Association was. Moreover, he admits that he may have done some franchisee recruitment errors at his old business, signing up the wrong person for the role.

Learning from his mistakes, he’s highly selective this time around. “Now, if I feel someone won’t enjoy the business or they won’t be a good fit for the network then they can’t join,” he adds. Indeed, most franchisors would agree that recruiting franchisees is no cakewalk and Haswell too had his fair share of struggles. For him, it wasn’t about the number of franchisees he took on but rather the kind of people he thought were fit to represent the business. “If you sell too many franchises too quickly and can’t support those franchisees, it’s not good for anyone,” he says. “We’re selling a business relationship, not a used car.” Although having business experience isn’t necessary for prospective franchisees, Haswell looks for an entrepreneurial drive. “The only thing we tell our franchisees is to have a good attitude, enthusiasm about the business and, more importantly, they’ve got to be self-disciplined,” he says. “There’s no one to force them to get out of the bed in the morning or to work efficiently.”

Once recruited, Haswell goes the extra mile to support his franchisees. Apart from training at the head office in Coventry, the franchisor appoints a franchise development manager who kickstarts the business in the franchisees’ territory. “As franchisors, we’d rather make first impressions of the business for them or with them rather than leave them on their own,” he says. Haswell even assists new franchisees in a PR launch to promote the business in their local area. And that’s not all. There is a series of structured support which they’re given including a business plan which is tracked over the first eight months. “It’s important to keep a momentum going,” he adds. “It’s a transition period from working with them and handholding to handing the business over as it grows and develops.”

Admittedly, it’s not difficult to see just why Haswell has an edge over his competitors. For him, a blend of innovation along with sufficient training is key to staying ahead in the game and hence, he launched a unique EPOS system for his franchisees. This software tracks real-time data such as the number of transactions and the busiest location, making it easier for him to support franchisees with better business plans. Alongside that, Haswell even spearheaded the creation of a loyalty app for customers. And in the coming months, he’s planned to add a new feature where customers will get real-time notifications about their local coffee vans’ arrival timings. Additionally, they will be able to pre-order their drink and will receive a notification when it’s ready to be picked up. “They can even put in a request to pick it up from the reception,” he adds. “I don’t know the exact effect it will have but I’d expect this time next year the financials of the franchise will be very different.” Clearly the franchisor is sharpening his focus on customer experience to stay ahead of rivals.

Given his constant ambition to scale and improve, it’s easy to smell the aroma of success for this franchise. Today the franchise boasts having 40 franchisees under its belt with many more in the pipeline set to launch this year. “Over the next five years or so, we can potentially have around 100 to 150 franchisees in the UK,” Haswell reveals. And he clearly seems to have the right attitude to see the Really Awesome Coffee network expand rapidly. “It’s about making sure franchisees are happy, making money and enjoying what they’re doing,” he concludes.



Discovery Day for Northampton Saints

It was our pleasure to host an exclusive discovery day for Northampton Saints players. Career Planning is part of the players development plan to help them identify and seek opportunities for what they would like to do when they retire from playing professional rugby. Several of the players had shown an interest in our mobile café franchise after a player attended our professional barista course earlier in the year.

We had a fun evening, they were great ambassadors for their club and they are all welcome to join our Really Awesome team!

Grab FREE Tickets for The Franchise Show!


We’d love to see you at The National Franchise Show on 5th & 6th October at the NEC, Birmingham. Visit our stand where our team will be happy to answer all you questions and give you an insight into what it means to be one of our franchisees. You can also join The BFA’s – Real Franchisee Stories and hear first hand from our franchisee Sean Harper of RACoffee – Northampton. You can view the full seminar timetable here 





Come see us at The Northern Franchise Show! 22-23 June

Event City, Manchester.


Following our huge success at the NEC Franchise Show we are hitting the road and heading up North and we can’t wait to expand on our success in the Midlands and the South of the UK.

It’s a great time to join the UK’s fastest growing mobile coffee franchise as we still have fantastic territories available in the North, with Manchester itself up for grabs! Our NEW lower initial investment means you could be on the road to running a successful and profitable business in your own luxury Mercedes-Benz coffee van for just £8,000. Come say hello, learn about the returns on your investment and take a tour of the best coffee van in the UK.

If you can’t make it to Manchester then book on to a FREE franchise Discovery Day: HERE




NEW! Saturday Morning Discovery Day – 21st April

Would you like to find out how you can build a business around your lifestyle? Or how you can achieve a healthy work-life balance? If so, our discovery days are just the thing for you.





Our discovery days are designed to provide you with a rich understanding of all aspects of the franchise model in a relaxed, no-obligation and laid-back environment. By attending you will be able to meet with existing franchise partners to learn what it’s like to be a Really Awesome Coffee franchisee plus much more:

• How the franchise business model works
• What training/support you will receive
• Meet an existing franchise partner
• Tour of the Really Awesome Coffee van
• What financial investment is involved
• Meet existing franchisees

There will also be time to ask questions to the franchise support team who will be on hand throughout the evening.

Our next discover day is:

Date: Saturday 21st April
Time: 10.00am-1.30pm
Where: Really Awesome Coffee HQ, Unit 1 Sandy Lane Business Park, Coventry. CV1 4DQ

If you would like to attend one of our discovery days then please click here or call 0800 043 0271

Mike Brings Even More Coffee To Milton Keynes

Mike, our franchise partner in Milton Keynes has recently launched his second van just five months after getting started earlier this year. Working in retail for the majority of his career in various management roles, Mike approached us after deciding he wanted to become his own boss and reap the rewards of his own hard work. More specifically, Mike wanted his own multi-vehicle franchise which we were more than happy to help support him to achieve.

“I worked in retail for years, had a long commute and worked long hours. I finally decided to make the jump into becoming my own boss which has been the best thing I have ever done. I love coffee, the concept and branding of Really Awesome Coffee really stood out to me. After discussing my goals and idea of a multi-vehicle franchise with the team, I felt fully supported and reassured that this was the right franchise for me. I haven’t looked back since.”

Coming from a non-coffee background, Mike went through our Fast-Track Training & Launch Program where he received all of his franchise training including our professional barista course and in-field coaching. He launched his first Really Awesome Coffee franchise van in Milton Keynes at the end of February 2017 after our franchise development team helped plan and build his daily coffee round.

The launch of his first van hit the ground running and got off to a flying start. In just four and half months into his franchise Mike launched his second coffee van in Milton Keynes which again has been a flying success receiving great feedback from his new customers.

“It’s no secret I’ve been working hard, I am used to working with people but the Really Awesome Coffee team have been instrumental in my success and helped me build my rounds on both vehicles. The information has been invaluable and the support team are fantastic.”

Mike has consistently surpassed every target since his launch and is on track to smash his first year’s goals in record time. He is also planning for a third van to be launched later this year with more to follow in 2018 with his continued rapid expansion.

This recent news means running your own successful mobile coffee van is now more accessible than ever before. If you are interested in exploring more then please call us on 0800 043 0271 or email

If you would prefer to book on to a free franchise discovery day then please book: HERE