Franchisor In Depth- Business Franchise Magazine

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Crema Espresso is a franchise that is continually evolving. Already well known for their food and premium coffee, Crema stores are beginning to make waves in the retail community with their store designs. Each franchised store has their own unique identity avoiding the dreaded ‘cookie cutter’ appearance that unfortunately many consumers and even potential franchisees associate with a coffee chain. This has been a deliberate move by Managing Director Antony Forbutt, “We wanted our store designs to be a point of difference from our peers and competitors. We wanted a freshness and brightness to the designs that exude a laidback cool.”

This has not gone unnoticed by leasing agents for some of the major shopping centres with Crema Espresso being offered premium locations for its new stores. The proud Queensland brand has grown to 18 stores with several scheduled to open later this year. Whilst this is a steady growth, Crema Espresso is not prepared to jeopardise the quality of its brand or its relationship with its franchisees, “We do not want to open 100 stores; we would rather open 50 exclusive outlets where our franchisees are recording strong revenues and profits. Unlike some other systems, we want franchisee business partners, not hostages,” said Mr Forbutt.

When recruiting new franchisees, Crema is always looking for community minded people. The business believes that this mind set and attitude brings a warmth and connection to customers that is invaluable. This is something that is also practiced at a brand level with ongoing support of the charity MND foundation, raising money to find a cure for the devastating Motor Neurone Disease. This year Crema has also joined forces with the children’s charity 4 ASD Kids, founded by ex-NRL star Mat Rogers and wife Chloe Maxwell. Already this year Crema sponsored the Brisbane to Byron bike ride that was held to raise money for both charities.

‘Crema Friends’, the brand’s training program, uses this philanthropic ideology to underpin its approach to connecting to the local community. The training program follows a simple premise: treat the people in store like you would treat your friends. The Crema Friends system has three levels. ‘Friends’ are the people in the business, ‘Neighbours’ are the other people and businesses in the shopping centre and then the wider ‘Community’. “The people who visit our stores are our friends. We don’t like using the word ‘customer’. Our stores are communal places where friends come together to meet. We operate using the mantra: coffee is the souvenir of the experience,” said Mr Forbutt.

The popular ‘Crema Kids’ addition to the brand was born from the communal experience idea. Small playgrounds in store that provide parents with a small respite whilst they enjoy the premium coffee., “We created and installed the Crema Kids concept, a 25sqm children’s play area installed within the café. This allows parents time to enjoy their coffee while their children play. This has proven exceptionally popular and has created opportunities that we did not expect. The success of this concept has created a lot of interest from major shopping centres, which has seen the incorporation of the concept over the past two years and the rapid expansion of our brand.”

Crema Franchise system has benefitted from this attention to detail and personal approach. There is a mystery shopper program that provides franchisees with a critical insight into how their customers experience their store and service. Crucial when word of mouth business is such a high impact marketing tool. This customer experience approach is supported with a loyalty program that rewards return customers and incentivises new customers into becoming regulars. Each transaction accrues a ten percent value on the loyalty account that can be redeemed at any Crema Espresso store.

Behind the scenes much of the team training and internal communications are provided through an online platform, ‘Bean Me Up’. It uses the cloud-based World Manager software suite that connects with every employee and provides them with online training. It allows for monitoring of employees to ensure they have completed courses such as food safety and quality control to the required levels. Store managers can see all the mystery shopper results, notices, a calendar of events, employee performance results, messages and links to social media. Managers can monitor the performance of employees any time from a phone application. The entire franchisee training program is on the intranet and all manuals and files can be accessed at any time.

Face to face mentoring is also provided to franchises. Best Practice Franchise has been engaged by Crema Espresso to coach and review stores performance. All franchisees meet with a business coach for two hours every quarter to review and assess their business performance. Each franchisee is reviewed against a rating system and are provided benchmarks to compare their operations against other stores. This system is proven to be beneficial in the improvement and profitability of all stores.

Crema Espresso is a franchise that is changing the face of the café experience and customers appreciate the personal service that a friend can offer. Joining the Crema Espresso team gives you the opportunity to own your own business, but not just any business:

• A proven business with a simple operation;

•             Flexible floor plans;

 •            Local support;

•             Regional advertising;

•             A four week training program;

•             Ongoing learning for franchisees and their staff;

•             Store development assistance;

•             Design support;

•             Lease negotiations,

•             Staff guidance; and

•             Much, much more.

At Crema Espresso, extensive training is in place to enable the success of your business. Your initial training will have you focused on whole store management. Then ongoing training and support will be assessed and delivered through your quarterly business reviews conducted by Crema Espresso and the consultancy firm Best Practice Franchising Pty Ltd. Crema Espresso are looking for hands-on franchisees. If you possess motivation and great communication skills, are looking for a new challenge, not afraid of rolling up your sleeves, and enjoy being around people in a communal environment, then Crema Espresso is for you.