Cafe2U takes premium, espresso-based coffee, hot chocolate, and sweet treats directly to the consumer at non-traditional locations such as places of work, business areas, industrial estates, events and sporting occasions. Each franchisee works from a high-quality, custom-built Mercedes Vito van and follows a set journey plan through the week, working flexible, self-determined hours. The model is built around the working week, so revenue from events and weekend activities can significantly increase earnings potential.
Cafe2U has over 60 franchisees in the UK and over 220 worldwide.
We have availability in most regions of the UK and Northern Ireland for start-up areas, all of which have multi-van potential, as well as some resale opportunities in certain areas.
The Cafe2U Acceleration Package is a four-week training and support program for all new franchisees, to ensure their businesses launch with a flying start.
Following a week at the Cafe2U training academy, where you will qualify as a professional barista and receive training in hygiene, sales and marketing, route planning, and operation of the Cafe2U business model, you will embark on a further three weeks of training which includes the Acceleration Launch Package.
The Cafe2U induction and training also provides:
A flexible working day begins at a time convenient to each Cafe2U franchisee, with many finishing work in the middle of the afternoon after completing 25-35 pre-arranged stops each day.
Collecting full cash payment means there’s no bad debt and weekend work is optional at a whole host of occasions from property auctions to sporting and community events, fetes, charity fundraisers and even weddings!
Paolo Basta runs the Cafe2U Park Royal South franchise with his wife Rhoda. He says that after 25 years of working in restaurant management, he was ready for a “change for the better” – a business of his own. He explains: “We were looking to buy a coffee shop but could never find the right one. Cafe2U instinctively felt right. There is always risk involved when starting a new business, but with Cafe2U I felt that the risks were manageable.”
Paolo enjoys having just himself to answer to in his business and feels empowered and also challenged by the prospect of being responsible for how successful this business is. He says: “It is a relief after such a long period of working for somebody else.”
Paolo’s ability to focus on business goals, as well as have fun and provide his customers with great coffee is exactly what makes them love their local Cafe2U barista!
Italian-born Paolo admits that his love for high quality coffee and the business model is what makes it great being a part of Cafe2U and proudly states: “Next to marrying my wife and having our kids – this has been the best thing that has happened to me. I wish I’d known about it years ago.”
Kevin Thomas has 30 years of experience in sales and marketing after working in various industries such as confectionery, soft drinks, print and outsourcing. Over the last 10 years, Kevin has held numerous high-level positions including a joint position of general manager and sales director responsible for a team of 30 staff. After being made redundant, he joined another company but was approached by Bunzl – a £4 billion company that provides international outsourcing solutions – to become their client director at the end of 2010.
Although Kevin enjoyed his work, the requirement of travelling up to 50,000 miles each year was not providing the work/life balance that he wanted. He therefore decided that he wanted to do something new and to work for himself. It was whilst travelling around his home town of Cardiff that he then saw a Cafe2U coffee van and realised that the solution to his career dilemma could be closer than he’d thought!
He explains: “I saw a Cafe2U van driving around my local area and wondered what they did. My wife told me that a van calls at the office next door to where she worked and that they seemed really popular, so I visited the Cafe2U website for more information.
“I knew I wanted to work with an existing proven business model as this would make it easier to launch my own business, and it turned out that franchising would make this journey much quicker because you’re provided with backup and expertise you’d have to find elsewhere if you were starting from scratch.
“I looked at a lot of franchise websites so I could compare the opportunities that were available, but Cafe2U was the one that caught my imagination; they were listed more or less everywhere so it became clear that they were a strong option. I liked the business model and the professionalism that the Cafe2U franchise offered.
“Further research about the industry told me that the coffee market is growing at a fast pace so this was a major contributory factor to my decision. The business mobility was also a factor because if you’ve got a coffee shop, you have to wait for the customers to come to you. I’m not reliant on customers coming to me; I visit them and go where the demand is.
“I spent 6 months conducting very thorough research, 3 months of which involved driving around looking at different territories. It helped me to build an understanding of how many customers I might have. Cafe2U organised for me to meet with and follow the Bristol franchise partner on his rounds – and even though it was bucketing it down with rain he still had plenty of customers coming out to him, so it was good to see what a ‘worst case scenario’ could be. Cafe2U also arranged for me to meet with the Cardiff franchise partner, whose van I had originally seen. He also took me on a van ride and met up with me a few times at the end of his day. This meant there was plenty of time to discuss things without disrupting his round – it was a very positive experience.
“The training at Cafe2U head office was brilliant because it gave me a better understanding about coffee overall, provided expert barista training, and helped me understand how to run my own business – experience I did not have. Having worked in sales and marketing previously, they didn’t need to train me on that side of things as much but each franchise partner has a franchise development manager that they can always contact, along with the head office team. One topic I also learnt from training was how coffee is harvested. This allows me to speak with more authority, especially as you can get into more meaningful conversations with customers this way.”
Kevin is married to Lisa, has four children – Lloyd, Zoe, Sam, and Nia – and in his spare time he enjoys reading, playing football and golf. Kevin launched his Cardiff North East territory in February 2012 and finds the new lifestyle very rewarding with big plans for the future.
He concludes: “I want to continue growing the business and eventually put another van on the territory. My advice for anyone looking to buy a franchise would be to research, research, research! You cannot research enough. Talk to as many franchise partners as possible and spend time with them to see what the job is really like. It has to be the right decision for you – it certainly was for me!”
Jon Hinde joined Cafe2U in August 2012, five years after his first enquiry. After just those few months, Jon has really got to grips with his franchise business in Preston and has already scooped up Cafe2U’s Supreme Bean Award at their annual national leadership conference in March 2013.
Jon has a passion for travelling. So, after finishing his A-levels, with a scholarship to play football and study a degree in psychology in America, he left the UK behind. After his 4-year degree, he decided to stay in America for a while to coach football before returning to the UK where he worked for social and civil services before joining the Royal Mail as a postman. However, he had been considering doing something completely different for quite a while. So he started to look into owning his own business five years ago.
Jon says: “Franchising is something that I have been familiar with for a long time. When I was in America I noticed that a lot of businesses are franchised and when I was looking to have a business myself, it was the logical choice for me.
“I haven’t run my own business before, so I wasn’t one hundred percent sure about all the aspects that go along with running a business yourself and although I wanted to be my own boss I also wanted the security of choosing a business and system that was already successful.
“After some initial research I came across Cafe2U. I realised quite early on, from looking at different franchises, that Cafe2U offered a franchise model and business concept that I felt quite comfortable with. Being outdoors, meeting people and selling a good product really appealed to me.
“Cafe2U were open and gave me the opportunity to speak to a variety of franchise partners and they also spoke to me about the pros and cons of the business. I never felt that they had anything to hide. I was not restricted to speaking to people that they handpicked like I had experienced with some other franchises. I also got to meet members of the franchise support team. I just felt comfortable about the whole setup.
“I first met Tom Acland, Cafe2U’s UK managing director, during my initial research five years ago but, due to financial reasons, it wasn’t the right time for me to join then. During the last five years I never felt out of touch with Cafe2U, as Tom kept me informed through e-newsletters and asked me how I was doing without any pressure. So once I was able to proceed, we met up again and because I’d obviously spent that time researching the business it didn’t take long at all to decide to join Cafe2U.”
So, to guarantee that Jon got his new business off to a flying start, he took part in Cafe2U’s Acceleration Package, a four-week training and support programme for all new Cafe2U franchise partners.
He explains: “I think the Acceleration Package was really good. It offered me the opportunity to learn about the different sides of business management, whilst also providing me with initial field training by a dedicated franchise development manager (FDM). The ongoing support is great; I have regular contact with my FDM. The support team calls me regularly, asking me how I’m doing and so I know that if I need advice I can just pick up the phone.
“Since starting the franchise last August I’ve already done a few events, some of which Cafe2U has notified me of, such as Bolton Food and Drink Festival, and some where I have been approached directly. The referral system Cafe2U has in place is really good, as it makes sure that the nearest franchise partner will be notified of an event enquiry made at headquarters.”
Jon has really made the most out of his training and, as a result of his hard work, he was awarded the Supreme Bean Award at this year’s Cafe2U conference in Leeds. The Supreme Bean Award is awarded to the year’s best new starter at Cafe2U.
He comments: “I only started the franchise in the last week of August so it wasn’t something I expected, even though I knew things were going really well with the franchise. The recognition of my early achievements and hard work really gives me a lot more confidence going forward.
“I want to continue to grow the business and make it as successful as possible and ultimately maybe even add another van.”
Danni Warren first discovered Cafe2U when doing some research into her own business ideas. “I actually came across Cafe2U when looking at ideas on the internet for my next career move,” she says. “I was aware of franchising but didn’t realise the scope until I started looking on the internet.”
Danni was previously a cricket development officer for Middlesex Cricket Club, encouraging girls and women into cricket bringing them through from the grass roots up to county level.
Cafe2U was a complete change in direction for Danni, who explains: “I chose a franchise instead of going it alone as mainly for the support but also for the knowledge. The established business plan helps get your business up and running quickly compared with starting on your own.”
When looking into starting any new business it’s really important to do your research. Danni’s advice to anyone thinking of buying a franchise is: “You never know until you give it a go but take the guess work out by looking at a trusted business model that you can adapt in your own way”.
Danni operates her franchise in the north of Watford and loves being her own boss: “You can do what you want and you know the extra hours you put in are for your own benefit.” She has set herself goals to keep growing the day to day business and her events database too – but still makes sure she has time to play the odd game of cricket herself!
Antonio Petrosino, Cafe2U franchise partner of Merton London, has a total of 28 years experience in the hospitality and catering industry. In his last role, he was a restaurant manager for 13 years. He had always been happy in this role and was very good at helping to run a successful business. In fact, it was only after so many customers complimented his exceptional services that he considered setting up something on his own.
He explains: “I worked all my life for other people and customers used to say to me ’you are managing your restaurant very well!’ I would have to explain to them that I was not the owner I was just there all the time and liked to look after my boss’s restaurant as though it were my own!
“I would often reflect on such remarks but did not make any big decisions until one day I felt that I was ready – or had matured enough, just like blue cheese(!) – to challenge myself to be creative, learn and manage something new.”
Antonio was first made aware of the Cafe2U brand by his partner Angela, following her own experience as a customer. He then proceeded to visit the company website and watch some videos on their YouTube channel about their franchise partners, the annual conference and how they serve their customers. He also contacted head office and spoke to Tom Acland, UK managing director.
Antonio continues: “I started doing some research online and heard about franchising. I liked that it offered a proven business model and the support of an established organisation. When I found out about Cafe2U, I was greatly attracted by the Acceleration Package, as well as the quality beverages and food that they stocked.
“After one month of decision-making, I used some savings and a loan to buy my franchise in May 2011. From there, I undertook a 4-week training course through the Cafe2U Acceleration Package and have since received fantastic on-going support and advice, along with guidance and visits from my franchise development manager.
“In my last job I was starting to feel a kind of boredom, not only earning the same wage but also doing the same tasks. With Cafe2U each day is a different one! I’ve always loved serving people but I also figured that I would spend my life working for others. One day though I just realised, why not work for myself and do what I am good at. As a result, I am now enjoying the satisfaction of supporting something that I truly believe in – offering quality products to customers and providing excellent customer service.
“For anyone who is planning to buy their first franchise, I would recommend that you consider the ethos of the company in question. Do they align with your own ambitions? Can you see yourself as part of their network? I think I’ve definitely found my ideal partnership."
With financial support from family, Alan Fulton was able to get back in control of his work life and set up his Cafe2U franchise in August 2014.
Alan previously worked in the hospitality industry for 22 years in pubs, hotels and clubs. It was an industry which he loved – but unsociable hours which he didn’t!
When he decided to start looking for a business Alan was no stranger to franchising as his father had bought a ChipsAway franchise previously. However he was looking for a beverage-based franchise so he could utilise his previous experience but without the unsociable hours; Cafe2U seemed the perfect option for him.
“I actually looked at the franchise four years before I bought it” explains Alan. “At that time my wife Claire didn’t want me to go ahead with it, however, following a few more years life experience and understanding of the business and further research, Claire was happy for me to pursue it and from getting back in touch it only took me three months to complete the process”.
Alan was so pleased he made the decision and praises the support of the Cafe2U franchise system “Martyn was so passionate about the business and helped me through every step, fully explaining everything and answering all my questions, settling any nerves I had.”
Alan runs his franchise in the south of Aberdeen serving the Cafe2U coffee, hot chocolate and complimentary snacks to businesses in the area. His Cafe2U has proved a hit with the local businesses and his coffee is in high demand. Alan explains one of his customers told him, “Stop worrying about being late, we love your coffee and we plan our breaks around you.” High praise indeed!
Alan is enjoying seeing the business grow but his main motivation for buying the franchise was for the lifestyle change and is now enjoying spending much more quality time with his wife and two sons.