Sweet Smell of Success for Barnsley Coffee Franchise

A Barnsley businessman who is setting up a national coffee franchise is urging others to do the same.

Ian Hobson has launched Coffee Concept and is confident of seeing the brand in shops across the UK.

Coffee Concept is based on a system Ian has been trialling in South Yorkshire for 12 months with great success. Ian’s company hires out, or sells, drinks-making machines to small businesses and organisations, who can then sell the drinks on to the public at a profit.

Among the 150 outlets signed up locally are golf clubs, DIY stores, venues and riding stables.

Ian said: “It works for any place where the public come to. They may be popping in to buy some nails or waiting to pick their daughter up from dance class. They have the chance to buy a hot drink and the outlet gets another income.”

Rather than his company roll out Coffee Concept across the country, Ian said they had decided to expand as a franchise. The franchise feasibility study was supported byBarnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP), which is part-financed by the European Union’s 2007-13 European Regional Development Fund.

The plan is to sell a Coffee Concept franchise in each of hundreds of discrete geographic locations and for each franchisee to be responsible for supplying and servicing the outlets in their area. After an initial outlay the franchisee should recoup their investment in just over a year.

The franchisee will be supplied with everything they need to run the business, from uniforms and marketing materials to water boilers and cups.

“We did look at whether we could run Coffee Concept in the same way, with our own suppliers and engineers working with the outlets, but decided it would need more intense support.

“Initially we gave up on the idea, but then our SYSGEP business support manager at Barnsley Council introduced us to franchising and now it’s all systems go”.

“We have tested out the concept with the outlets we have in South Yorkshire. We have made mistakes and learned from them and now we have a business model that works”.

“I can’t wait until the day when I go into a shop or venue in Penzance or Inverness and they are selling drinks under the Coffee Concept brand,” said Ian.

Adrian Waite, Barnsley Council’s SYSGEP sector growth manager, introduced Coffee Concept to experts from The Franchising Centre.

Adrian said: “Coffee Concept is perfect for franchising. It is a cost effective way to expand the business in Barnsley, but it also creates business opportunities for hundreds of franchisees around the country and in turn an extra income for the businesses that sell the drinks.”

There are more than 900 franchisor brands operating in the UK, with a combined annual turnover of £13.4billion, employing nearly 600,000 people.

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