6 ways a cafe franchisee can achieve success

Sarah Stowe

Tim Bunyan worked for years at McDonald’s, racking up corporate and franchise store experience for the mega fast food brand. Then he found the lure of owning his own business irresistible.

“I was looking to get my own business and while checking the different brands available I came across a manager I’d worked with when I was a teenager at Maccas. He recommended Foodco as a franchisor.”

Tim was intrigued, and when he found out the brands in the group had been recognised for their franchisee support, he knew it was a business to investigate because franchisor support is critical.

It was the Jamaica Blue cafe brand that resonated with him. Tim took his time with the search for the right franchise location and has now been trading for five years at the Baldivis store in Western Australia. He’s been so successful as a franchisee that he’s scooped up some awards for his retailing prowess, including the top spot for Stockland’s National Retailer of the Year in 2019.

Tim enjoys his cafe lifestyle, finding success is not just financial.

“I always liked retail and food, but it’s the staff and customer interaction that I enjoy the most. When you build a strong team, it’s very rewarding. It’s an opportunity to help young people get further in life and set up in their careers. A lot of time it’s their first job. The grounding we can give them will set up, and that’s really rewarding,” he says.

So what would he suggest are the best ways to ensure a cafe franchise is a business success?

Here are Tim’s top 6 ways for success as a cafe franchisee

  1. Pick the best location
  2. Check profitability potential
  3. Build the right team
  4. Hire top talent – regularly
  5. Plan for the future
  6. Treasure your customers


  1. Pick the best location

Take time to find the right site and do your research on what’s a good position, which shopping centres are right, which shops you need nearby. Work out what drives customers to the store. Then, when all the boxes are ticked, it’s the right location.  

“I took six months to find the right location, says Tim. “But don’t turn down a site for fear of competition.

  1. Check the business can be profitable

Be aware that competition will come and you have to factor that in to the decision making process – projecting the impact competition will have.

“Project sales, what will happen if sales drop, and have a financial plan. There are some major competitors out there.”

Profitability is very important, so understanding your bottom line and cashflow is vital. 

  1. Build the right team

The key to success is the team, staff members who support you in your goals, and are motivated and excited. It takes time to build a good team, and hiring and training are the most important elements.

And when you’ve found a great pool of talent, keep recruiting from the pool.

“Maybe 30 per cent of my staff are juniors, and I employ a lot of siblings because I know they share the same family environment, they’ll have a similar approach,” he says.

  1. Hire top talent when you find it

Tim recommends employing a regular hiring process to avoid missing top talent. “Hire for quality, not numbers. If someone is fantastic, they’ll go to your competition and you’ll be missing their talents,” he says. 

Keep your staff numbers at a good level, so you don’t have to hire in a panic – that becomes a long term problem.

  1. Plan ahead

Put money aside for the future and plan your business operations.

Consider what you can do to make the business better in three months time and in six months time. 

“Remember that junior staff are not productive for a few months and you need to plan ahead for the busy times,” he points out.

  1. Treasure your customers

“You have to treasure every customer; they choose your business over the competition, so do whatever you can to get them to return. It’s easy to be distracted from customers and your main purpose.”