The Coffee Club marks 30 years with a new look

By Sarah Stowe | 15 Jan 2020 View comments

What do you do when your business has been trading for 30 years? After the big celebration, of course, you look to the future. The Coffee Club, born in Queensland, has spent two years in a transitional phase, priming for a new look to be showcased in its third decade. 

The culmination is a new contemporary store design ready for the millennial families the chain is wanting to attract.

Nick Bryden, CEO, says independent coffee shops are today’s big competitors to the cafe network, which push the brand to ensure it is distinctive.

“We’ve had a strong brand that people have grown up with. We provide great coffee, consistency and convenience,” says Bryden. “Our store design has been very successful but needed to remain relevant to younger audiences.”

The Coffee Club is moving away from its tagline ‘Where will I meet you’. The business launches its new brand communications tagline in March 2020 which will be in line with its new brand positioning and identity.

But developing a new-look business isn’t just about branding, signage and the menu.

“It’s also about adding a good experience with a digital program so we’ve launched an app, and that’s been a big initiative that’s going well. It makes it easier and rewarding to choose The Coffee Club.”

Digital innovation

The digital initiative has been implemented in its first phase, which encourages customers to get discounts and order rewards. Stage two is to enable online ordering.

Bryden is proud that the business is an innovative franchise organisation – it’s been listed as a finalist in awards for customer experience as a result of becoming better at responding to customers’ needs.

The business is working very closely with franchisees to drive a higher level of engagement in the business, and supporting innovations in the menu, operating platforms and training.

It’s been two years of transformation for The Coffee Club, says Bryden, and the strong results bode well for an even better 2020.

“Our model is financially good, it’s a fairly low capital requirement compared to other quick service restaurant brands and we’re very much focused on strong paybacks for franchisees. There’s a balance between the capital investment, rental costs and turnover.”

Traditionally a mainstay of shopping centres, The Coffee Club’s footprint has expanded through higher traffic locations, for instance sites in transit hubs, and drive-through outlets. Expansion through NSW and Victoria is up next, with both regional and metro stores, and regional centres, in the plan.

This year Melbourne, the tough town that is hard for most coffee chains, has been cracked, and Bryden describes it as “our big success”. 

Counter culture

When it comes to a strong franchise culture, Bryden brings a belief that a company’s ethos is a source of competitive advantage. 

“It’s probably working on two dimensions. You need a head office that really understands and responds to the needs of customers and franchisees and their teams.

“Secondly, we’ve launched a program to drive the employee value proposition, to make sure our staff are proud working for us, understand the values we hold, and what’s expected. I believe that customer experience is only as good as the people delivering it.”

The program is designed to provide a toolkit for franchisees and team leaders to help direct, coach and encourage frontline staff, so the culture is seen to be coming “across the counter”.