From logistics to coffee: how becoming a franchise owner changed one man’s life

In early 2016 Matt Hunt reached a juncture in his life where he knew he needed to pursue significant change. He decided that after 30 years of working within a high-pressure environment in the logistics industry, he wanted to take back control of his life and open his own business.

“My phone was always on,” he comments. “I was needed day and night and the demands of my job were only increasing.” He knew that now was the time to do something completely different and decided that opening a franchise would give him the best chance of success.

After some initial research, Matt’s next step was to visit The British & International Franchise Exhibition. He was initially interested in pursuing a franchise in the estate agency sector, but he was curious to explore the full range of opportunities which would be under one roof at the exhibition.

With an open mind, he approached a number of brands representing different sectors at the event to learn about their products and business models. Among the brands that attracted his interest was Cafe2U, a mobile coffee franchise. As he began to learn more about the company and their business model, and in particular their transparent and supportive way of working, he realised that this was the sort of opportunity he was looking for.

Feeling very positive about Cafe2U, Matt initiated a meeting that same day at the event with Franchise Finance, winners of the 2017 Best Franchise Awards ‘Best Service Providers.’ Franchise Finance helped guide him on the practicalities of pursuing a franchise with Cafe2U, a brand they know well, and he felt further reassured that this franchise would meet all his needs.

After further research and due diligence, including speaking with existing Cafe2U franchisees, Matt signed as the Cafe2U franchise partner for Stevenage. After completing the brand’s training programme, he opened for business in November 2016.

Matt comments: “I had no experience in the retail coffee industry, but I’ve been proven right in my choice of partnership with Cafe2U. I’ve received valuable support from head office and the network of existing franchise partners every step of the way. I still benefit from pro-active and effective input from Cafe2U’s business development manager to grow my income.”

Pursuing a franchise in the food and drink sector

The restaurant industry in the UK has grown steadily in recent years, as more consumers choose to eat out, and in 2016 there were approximately 83,634 businesses operating in the restaurant and mobile food service industry in the UK[1].

The British Franchise Association’s (bfa) own research supports this finding, with an 11% increase in franchise units operating in the hotel and food sector between 2010 and 2015[2].

The variety of options available offers a lot of choice to those looking to invest in their own business. From fast food restaurants to dessert parlours, van-based tea & coffee enterprises to pizza delivery, there is a food and drink franchise to suit a variety of investment levels and operational needs.

Tom Acland, Managing Director of Cafe2U UK, comments: “We recognised that there was a growing desire among consumers for high quality food and drink on the high street. The working population is not on the high street during the day, however, so Cafe2U brings premium quality hot drinks and food to the workplace.”

“Our model offers lower overheads for franchisees as we take them away from the competitive high street and direct to the consumers. The success of this model is demonstrated in our position as the fourth largest coffee chain by unit in the UK.[3]”

Cafe2U’s model has certainly met Matt’s expectations as a franchisee. He summarises: “I’ve now got a business which allows me to answer to myself and my family in terms of workload, and I thoroughly enjoy making customers happy with great coffee and friendly service. I harnessed the advantages offered by going into business via a franchise and have achieved the change in life I was looking for.”

Matt’s success hasn’t ended there. In February 2018, he was named Supreme Bean at the Cafe2U Annual Conference, held at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire. The award recognises the best new additions to the company’s 90 plus mobile coffee vans across the UK. It is given to the franchise partner who has shown great progress in a short amount of time, excelling in the launch process, quickly establishing a strong customer base and showing impressive barista skills.

Follow in Matt’s footsteps

The Franchise Exhibitions present an opportunity to meet with Cafe2U and a broad selection of other food and drink franchises. Among the international and home-grown names you will find at the events in Spring 2018 will be McDonald’s, Broccoli Pizza & Pasta, Esquires Coffee, Delightful Desserts, Sbarro, and VomFASS.

Exclusive to the Franchise Exhibitions

Every brand exhibiting at The Franchise Exhibitions has been through an accreditation process with the bfa, the sole regulatory body for the industry. Its aim is to promote ethical franchising practice in the UK and help the industry develop credibility, influence, and favourable circumstance for growth.

Find out more about upcoming exhibtions and book your free tickets to follow in Matt’s footsteps. 


[1] Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/298871/number-of-restaurants-in-the-united-kingdom/
[2] Soucre: bfa NatWest Franchise Survey 2015
[3] Source: Project Café2017 UK report from Allegra World Coffee Portal

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