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Best Coffee Franchise: 10 Tips on How to Choose a Coffee Franchise

A Scooter's Coffee drive-thru coffee kiosk.

The coffee industry is a prosperous one, and coffee franchises are hot. Deciding to partner with a franchise brand, rather than going independently, to open a coffee shop is a wise choice for many reasons. Finding the best coffee franchise for your goals is the next step.

A franchise comes with brand awareness and reputation, built over years before you even buy your franchise. And the system that comes with franchise ownership gives franchisees a strong business plan from day one, with technology, support, and programs for success.

Buying a franchise also gives the local owner the benefits of larger marketing and advertising campaigns, helping drive business traffic and interest.

Knowing that going the franchise route holds such advantages over opening an independent business, the big question, then, is how to choose the best coffee franchise.

1. Investment Level

You will want to look at the total initial investment level, as well as the franchise fee and ongoing royalty fees of the best coffee shop franchise opportunities. Initial fees get you the right to use the franchise brand and get you set up to start your business. Royalty fees contribute to things such as the national advertising fund for the brand.

If you have a cap on the amount of funding or financing available to you, your budget may help you narrow the field to franchises you can afford, right off the bat.

2. Type of Franchise Model

Within the coffee world are sit-down-and-hang-out coffee shops, drive-thru coffee kiosks with no customer seating, and other models. Determining which is the right fit is a function of various factors, including how much you want to invest up front, how much overhead (labor being a large percentage of cost), and what your area or neighborhood needs or demands.

Some franchise brands may not offer different models, so deciding which type you want to open will help narrow the field to those that do.

3. Brand Awareness and Reputation

The more well known the brand, the more instant momentum your venture will enjoy from the start — even before the start, as buzz begins to build around your community about the approaching opening.

Consider the correlation between a chain’s geographical reach and the brand awareness created. A brand that has garnered attention but hasn’t yet opened in your area may be the perfect choice.

But also pay attention to what the franchising industry itself has to say about which brands are on the rise.

4. What Franchisees Say

The proof is in the pudding or, in this case, the coffee cup. Don’t be shy about contacting current franchise owners in nearby regions to ask about their experience with the brand.

Ask them if the company follows through on its promises and support. Find out what it was like to open; was it difficult, or was it a seamless process? Did the company help with site selection and pre-opening advertising and grand-opening help?

What guidance does the brand give along the way? How long did it take to break even and then realize a profit?

What are any negative aspects of owning the franchise?

5. Support

This is part of number four above, but also one of the more important pieces of the puzzle. Every brand will promise comprehensive ongoing support, but talking to franchisees is a great way to find out what’s true where the rubber meets the road.

6. Operating Costs

This is something you evaluate when choosing the type of coffee shop model, and talking to franchisees is a good way to find out if the company’s estimates hold true in the real world. The scope of your examination should include costs of labor, property/rent, goods sold, and more.

Evaluate what works for you. For instance, if you want to keep things as simple as possible and keep labor and other costs to a minimum, a drive-thru kiosk may be the right model. If a given brand doesn’t offer that type of shop, find one that does.

7. Growth

The coffee industry itself continues to show growth, so you’re in the right arena already.

Any good franchise brand should be able to show a trajectory of year-over-year growth. All brands will experience dips as the market fluctuates, but limit your final options to brands that are able to show increases in revenue over time.

8. Innovation and Point of Difference

Strongly consider choosing a brand that offers something a little different for the area. Whether it is an angle of drive-thru convenience in an under-served location or a better product, look at what is missing and fill that void.

For instance, maybe a number of customers in your area would love to have an alternative to the Starbucks locations they are used to, and a fresh brand would be welcome.

9. Your Own Experience

Trust your instincts, too. After reducing your choices to a final several, visit locations of the different coffee shop brands. Experience the vibe, the service, and the products. Factor your findings into your decision.

10. Scalability

Some say buying one franchise location is “buying yourself a job,” but by buying into multiple locations, it can become more than just a job. It can become a business.

A lower-cost, simpler franchise concept such as a Scooter’s Coffee franchise may lend itself more readily to being scalable, adding new locations as you go. When those locations are in the same region, it becomes a strong network, and profit grows exponentially.

By studying coffee brands through the lens of these factors, you can find the best coffee franchise for you.

Scooter’s Coffee has been serving up delicious coffee, tasty treats, and genuine smiles since 1998. Contact Scooter’s Coffee about starting your franchise today to learn more about joining the Scooter’s team and making your dreams a reality.

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