LET’S CATCH UP
As our very first franchisee, Martin hit the ground running in Harrogate to bring Coffee Blue to the people of North Yorkshire. We last caught up with Martin just after his first week on the roads, and three months down the line, we’re seeing how he’s getting on.
You’ve been on the round for a few months now, how has it been?
It’s been building slowly, getting a really good clientele. I haven’t changed the round a great deal since when I first started because everyone’s been so responsive what we’re offering. I’ve had lots of good comments about the coffee and I’m now selling more hot food. I’ve had to buy an extra tray for my oven to accommodate all the hot food!
I’m still selling marginally more coffees than I am food, but there’s no real pattern to how many people come out each day. There might be one on a site on one day, and half a dozen the next. Some people just want food, the majority want coffee. Some offices on Fridays want hot chocolates for everybody. I’m managing to sell out of hot food every day now, too.
What kind of hot food are you doing?
I do sausage rolls, pasties, a variety of pies, hot paninis and hot ciabattas. I’m almost at the limit of what I can fit in the oven!
How does the round compare now to when you first started?
When I first started, I was doing the two main business sites and I’m now I’m doing three building sites as well. I go to them and they’re quite good, especially when it’s cold, wet and miserable.
Have people been more open to buying a cup of coffee now it’s a lot colder?
Well, I’m busier now, but I think it was a growth thing anyway. You’ll go to the one stop and you’ll get the same two or three people every day. Now there’s more and more people out and they get used to it.
It’s really important that you keep to your set times to get to places, because people have set breaks and they know when you’re coming. You’ve got to be consistent, on time and also with the quality of the products you’re selling as well.
People have their favourites and they’ll get a little bit disappointed if you haven’t got what you want, but it’s definitely going in the right direction.
How are your regulars?
I have lots of regulars. The loyalty cards work really well. On Thursday I’m picking a winner for a competition I’ve been doing – all completed loyalty cards have gone into a draw to be picked at the end of the month. The prizes might be a bottle of wine, or ten free coffees, or something like that. Just something to promote it. I’ve had a lot of people asking me this week when I’m going announce the results and I’ve got lots of cards I could pick a winner from.
Monday last week, I gave away fifteen free coffees. I’ve got that many, so it really does work. I’ve just had to order another lot of loyalty cards, I’ve gone through that many. One or two have rung me up from the telephone number on the loyalty card to ask if I can come back that day for more coffee.
Have you been doing anything for Christmas?
No, I’ve just concentrated on my Monday to Friday. This Friday is my last day before Christmas and I’m starting up again on the 7th of January. After that, I’m going to look at weekend work and events. I wanted to establish my Monday to Friday and now I’ve done that I can look into additional bookings. On Friday, on my last day, I’m giving out free mince pies with every coffee.
What have you learnt since you first started the round?
Be efficient and get to places on time. Be really pleasant with people – even if they’re not your customers. If someone walks past, say “hi, how are you?” It’s amazing what responses you get back from people, because the next time they see you, they’ll come and buy a coffee because you’ve broken the ice. Just being efficient, really, that’s the main thing.
And make sure you put all your milk away before you drive off, because it will go everywhere! It’s a matter of getting in the routine. Even if you’re only driving a short distance, make sure everything’s packed away before you go!