- Start Up Cost:
- Franchise Type:
- Sector Type:
- Investment Type:
- Food & Drink
- B2B, B2C
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, all-electric mobile café 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 85 franchisees in the UK and over 250 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!
Cafe2U the obvious choice for a hospitality manager
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 working in pubs, hotels and clubs, an industry that he loved, but unsociable hours that he didn’t.
When he decided to start looking for a business Alan was no stranger to franchising as his father had bought a Chips Away franchise previously. However he was looking for a beverage based franchise so he could utilise his previous experience but without the unsociable hours, therefore, Cafe2U seemed the perfect option for him.
“I actually looked at the franchise 4 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 3 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”. 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 2 sons
I usually get to my first stop by 6.45am having received my sandwiches, at home at 6am. I usually check everything, and have my first coffee! My espresso machine and hot oven are turned on before arrival at stop one, so that it is all hot and ready to serve! I will do around 34 stops a day, before I serve my last stop at 2.45pm.
Customers before 9am are still waking up and need their “wake up coffee”, and maybe breakfast, served promptly and with a smile! However, there are others who want to discuss the football, the traffic jams on the A12, and of course the weather! You become a good listener in this job, and it is always interesting what people do get up to!
Serving quick enough for people not to complain seems near on impossible before you start the franchise, and even at the end of training it can seem daunting still, but you soon get quicker, and confident without losing the ability to make the customer feel special and important.
Between 6.45am and 11.30am on my round it should be mainly about the hot drinks – coffee, chocolate and tea – with some snacks, and some hot & cold food. Despite the fact that I have a lot of food focused vans in my area, between 11am and 1.15pm is my peak food selling time, and this is because customers see my service as a reliable, high quality lunchtime service, with the added benefit of getting coffee too. I try to have sold all of my food by 1pm. This minimises waste and means I can clean the pie warmer, and turn it off, during a quiet spot before I get home.
Between 1.30pm and finishing at 2.45pm my hot drinks sales rise again, and I always rotate my sandwiches to make sure the ones that perish that day are at the front, and discounted if needs be. I am home again by 3pm at the latest and I fill up with diesel on the way, as well as collect milk from Tesco’s, review my sandwich order for tomorrow, as well as clean the outside of the van if necessary.
When I get home I spend an hour a day cleaning the van, cleaning the coffee machines, re-merchandising, restocking, and cashing up the till. Then the van is locked up, plugged into garage power for the fridge, and I switch off for the night too!
I write a customer newsletter once a month, (which my wife Jenny helps with) which is a very useful way to remind customers about me, my specials, the time I call, and that I also can do their special events if they want me to. I try to make them fun too!
I make an order with Brakes and Bolling twice a month, and top up if I need to in emergency as and when, and with my sandwiches I have a standing order every week, which I may alter daily depending on sales volume. I have found you cannot totally avoid wastage of sandwiches, but if you are clever with ordering, rotation, and run special prices on nearly out of date items, you can minimise it right down.
I know local marketing is very important to my business – for the daily round as well as the event side of the business. Using the tools and tips that Cafe2U gave me, as well as some of my own, I always do some marketing every week – probably about 30 minutes for the daily round because my round is well established, but I never stop because you never know what you will discover or who you will meet.
Although you do receive leads for events via the Cafe2U website, you don’t know when they will come or how many, so I work 6 months in advance and try to stay close to home as possible – community, clubs, sports, enthusiasts, churches, schools, charity events, and customers – and I will attend approximately 12 per year, which suits me and family just fine. Jenny will help me out at events – both in the planning and on the day!
I will tend to spend 2 hours a month on event marketing. Like any business there are bits I don’t like!
The weather makes it hard to maintain cleanliness standards in the winter, and I work hard on this, as well as always looking for ways of improving the round, and how it operates – recruiting new customers, new stops and new ways of up-selling! I hate paying for the equipment servicing, but I know it is necessary!
On the benefits side, it’s a sociable job, and it is the best feeling knowing that drinks that you create are so much appreciated by their purchasers, every day. I love selling a high quality and distinctive coffee, which allows me to make a good living, meet loads of interesting people, and most of all I love being my own boss and in control of days and weeks, and earnings.
I am not an early bird, and so am usually at stop one by 8.30am having received my sandwich delivery at home by 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. Before my first stop I organise the sandwiches, set the displays, and check my coffee pour times, as well as made myself a coffee. I have also turned on all the machinery before arrival, so that it is hot and ready to serve on arrival. I will complete 50 stops by the time I have done the last one at 4.15pm.
Customers don’t just want a coffee, they want a bit of chat, a bit of a gossip, and they want to be listened to! So while I am making their coffee and serving their breakfast, I am listening to their views on the football, the weather, tales of what they did the evening before and what they did at the weekend!
I came from a background where efficient service, and high standards is paramount – I was a store manager of McDonalds for 20 years. Never the less serving a cappuccino or latte quick enough for people not to complain seemed near on impossible before I started the Cafe2U franchise, and even at the end of training it still seemed daunting, but I soon get quicker, and confident without losing the important Cafe2U quality. One thing I always remember is that customers value great coffee, and don’t mind waiting for it.
I serve hot food right from the start of my round at 8.45am and it slows down by 12.30pm, and my sandwiches seem to sell quickest between 10.30am and 12.15pm. Of course between 8.45am and about 11am, it is mainly about the hot drinks – coffee, chocolate and tea – with some snacks too. All the rounds are a little different and lunch for me tends to peak around 12.15pm, and then switches back to drinks and snacks again for the afternoon, up until my last stop at 4.15pm. I prefer this type of day – starting a bit later than most in the morning, and working through until 4.15pm.
I have very low waste levels, because I take great care with my orders, altering it through the week, and pick the ranges that sell best, as well as rotating my stock in the fridge carefully. I am home again by 4.30pm and I fill up with diesel on the way, as well as collect milk from Aldi for tomorrow, make any alterations to my sandwich order, and count what else I need to restock.
Once I am home I spend 60 minutes, cleaning the van, cleaning the coffee machines, re-merchandising, restocking, and cashing up the till, meaning I am finished by 5.30pm. The van is locked up, plugged into garage power for the fridge for the night.
I tend to clean the outside of the van on Sundays. Monthly, I write my customer marketing email which I use as a way of reminding people about Cafe2U, as well as informing them of my weekly specials, flavoured coffee of the week, or any other local news, or events. I try to keep them interesting, and fun.
Ordering from Brakes is done weekly, and monthly for Tri-Star, and I get a delivery of sandwiches 3 times a week. I have found you cannot totally avoid wastage of sandwiches, but I am careful with ordering, rotation, and regularly run special prices on nearly out of date items, you can minimise it.
Although national marketing information and materials come from the marketing fund, local marketing is my responsibility, and vital for the business. I make sure I always chat to my customers looking for referrals, or introductions for daily stops or event business. This is not expensive, or time consuming because it is direct marketing that and people who trust my Cafe2U service. IE - me talking to potential customers about how great I am!! Even when my round is full, I never stop because you never know what you will discover or who you will meet, and it could be better than my weakest current stop.
Event leads do come through from the website, but you don’t know when they will come or how many, so I also spend about an hour a week looking for events on line. These usually come from Community events, clubs, sports, enthusiasts, churches, schools, charity events and I do a fair bit of work on TV and film sets for location work – just through these channels I would expect to do approximately 41 events of some form or another in the year
As the owner of my Cafe2U franchise I have to measure and maximise my profitability, I have to ensure I retain my customers, and make sure I am constantly thinking about how to build the business further on every level.
I love working outside in the fresh air rather than being stuck in an office, or restaurant. Selling a product which results in customers saying “Wow that is a great cup of coffee” is a fantastic feeling which I never tire of, especially when you are your own boss and in charge of your working day at the same time. I thoroughly enjoy being able to attend events, which I enjoy and am able to make money at the same time, especially when my wife Melanie and son Harry come along to help.
It has been a little short of 2 years that Maulik has been a Cafe2U franchisee,
although he had been in the coffee industry as a Costa Coffee Manager of a series
of stores. One thing we remember about Maulik when he first started the process of
joining is that he didn’t have a driver’s licence, but this wasn’t going to be a ‘sticking
point’ he just needed to get on and learn and pass … which thankfully he did. Driving
away on the last day of training in a brand new Cafe2U van with only a few hours
driving experience from passing his test was a little nervous for us all …. But let’s
fast forward to now …..
Maulik’s working day starts approx. 7:45 and finishes 3:30 and post lockdown his
round is performing better than ever before. His overriding philosophy with his
business, is not to give his customers excuses to go elsewhere, so he ensures his
coffee is always excellent, with lots of products on board, and he likes to have
something new to tempt his customers and try. Also key to Maulik, is providing that
perfect excuse for his customers to leave their ‘work’ for 5 mins, to be appreciated
and have some fun and laughter with a barista at the back of a cafe2U van!
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