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Sydney coffee franchise to be “bigger than Starbucks”

Coffee EmporiumSydney-based franchise opens first international store in Abu Dhabi in the UAE, with ambitions to make the brand “bigger than Starbucks”.

John Ayoub, partner at The Coffee Emporium, told Inside Retail PREMIUM of the business’ rollout plans in the Middle East and North Africa alongside new international master franchise partner, Global Catering Services.

The coffee franchise celebrated the opening of its first Abu Dhabi store last weekend, with another two to open this month, followed by one in Dubai in July.

“The coffee market in Abu Dhabi is still very much unmatured. We have very high standards in Australia in making coffee, so we have really high expectations, and they [Global Catering Services] have no limitations, they think they could be bigger than Starbucks over the next 10 years or so, and we want to support them and back them up,” said Ayoub.

Under the master franchise agreement, the expectation is to enter 21 countries at five stores a year.

“The plan is to start with the UAE and then look at the Middle East, starting in Kuwait next year, then Jordan, and hopefully move towards North Africa over the next few years,” he said.

The Coffee Emporium opened its first store in Bankstown, Sydney, in 1991 and today has 28 stores operating across NSW and Victoria.

Locally, the brand has plans to go national under the direction of new group GM, Daniel Isaac, formerly of Gloria Jean’s and Michel’s Patisserie, with a rollout of 10 to 12 new stores a year. Four stores in Victoria and two in NSW are slated to open by year end.

Store models vary from kiosks to inline shops and a flagship wine bar model, with sizes ranging from 20sqm to 200sqm.

Kiosks offer coffee, cakes, and pastries; inline stores offer a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner depending on location; and the wine bar concept includes a full food and wine menu, and hole in the wall espresso bar with single origin coffee, high end equipment, french pastries and baguettes, and is tailored to a younger crowd.

Ayoub told Inside Retail PREMIUM, the plan is to open one flagship wine bar concept in each capital city across Australia.

Store models and menus have been slightly tweaked to suit new international markets.

“We make sure we can adjust to the country and the locals in that country can get excited about the food offering that we have. The only thing that’s non negotiable is our coffee, our coffee is our hero and we want to make sure that everything we do is up to a very high standard.

“From a humble shop in Bankstown to a national brand and now a global brand, I can’t tell you how promising it looks.”

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2041. To subscribe, click here.

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