Time for a change

Henrik Jespersen enjoyed a long and happy career in the hotel industry with the last two decades spent in senior management positions. Since 2008, Henrik had been in a largely desk-based job and in recent years he’d started to miss a more active and people-facing role.

Henrik started looking into franchising as a route to doing something different and owning his own business. At various stages of his research he visited The Franchise Exhibitions to take advantage of expert advice and to meet brands face-to-face.

Finding the right franchise

It was a visit to The National Franchise Exhibition in February 2018 that proved to be the catalyst for change for him. Henrik was increasingly drawn to van-based businesses which would get him out and about and dealing directly with customers, but he’d yet to find the one which was right for him. At this exhibition, he came across Really Awesome Coffee, a mobile coffee franchise.

The state-of-the-art van which Really Awesome Coffee showcased at the exhibition caught his attention. Henrik looked around the vehicle and chatted with members of the Really Awesome Coffee management team. After speaking one-to-one with the founder of the business, Kevin Haswell, for 40 minutes, Henrik felt confident he’d found the business for him. Henrik comments:

“I’d been looking for a business which would allow me to work as my own boss, but which would get me outside and away from a desk. My career in the hotel and catering industry meant that a mobile coffee and food venture tapped into some of my experience. I was very impressed with Kevin, the business model and the van itself.”

Next steps

Things moved at a fast pace after meeting Really Awesome Coffee at the exhibition. Henrik explains:

“Really, the next step in the process would have been for me to attend a discovery day at head office to find out more about the business. I booked in for that, but I’d been so impressed at the event with Kevin’s open and honest explanation of the concept and the equipment, that I didn’t want to wait for the discovery day to find out more.”

“I arranged to spend half a day with Kevin at their offices not long after the exhibition. Kevin took me through all the facts and figures and clearly explained what I could expect to get out of a franchise with Really Awesome Coffee, and what I would have to put in. He also put me in touch with other franchisees.”

While Henrik waited for the discovery day, he carried on his due diligence and made contact with existing franchisees.

Henrik comments:

“The franchisees I spoke with all had different backgrounds and aspirations, but what was consistent was how happy they all were with how things were being run by head office. They’d only had good experiences and all implicitly trusted Kevin and his team. This was a key indicator to me that this would be a good franchise for me to invest in.”

Henrik attended the discovery day in April and made the final decision to sign up as a franchisee there and then. He explains:

“I went into the day pretty sure it was the business for me. My background in the hotel industry meant that I had some experience with coffee and so I recognised that Really Awesome Coffee is just that – really awesome.”

“I was confident in the head office team, and the franchise itself would let me manage my own workload, get out and about and have contact with customers again. So, the product, the equipment, business concept and team all added up to be the right business for me.”

Support and training

Once Henrik had signed for his territory of Leicester West, he spent a week and a half being trained on everything from barista skills to the franchise’s marketing options, point of sale system and cashing up sheets. Henrik also joined the Coventry coffee round for two days to get hands-on experience with the day-to-day operations.

The second week of Henrik’s training focused on how he would build up his coffee round and his income. A dedicated franchise development manager then spent a further week and a half in his territory to go through the research he’d already done and to go out with him to arrange demonstrations to local businesses, securing initial interest and site bookings.

Really Awesome Coffee Leicester West launches

On 11 June, Henrik launched his Really Awesome Coffee franchise, fewer than four months after having discovered the brand at The National Franchise Exhibition. He still has regular contact with head office and after six weeks of operation his business development manager made the second of many two-day support visits to optimise the daily coffee round and opportunities. Henrik comments:

“Obviously it’s the early days of my business but everything is going exactly to plan. Kevin and team did a fantastic job of setting my expectations and being very clear about how things would run in the first six months, so there have been no surprises. Their pragmatic and transparent approach was one of the things which attracted me to them in the first place!”

“I am really pleased with how things are going. I’ve got the support of head office but am running my own business. I enjoyed my previous career, but this is a breath of fresh air. There just isn’t the stress l used to encounter in my job and I feel far healthier. Though I’m tired physically because I am out and about, I am far less mentally tired!”

“Doing something you’ve chosen to do, you enjoy doing and have autonomy over really is a positive experience!”

If you would like to follow in Henrik’s footsteps and leave the stress of employment behind and be your own boss, explore the possibilities at an upcoming franchise exhibition.

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