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Thread: Franchise coffee ground to a halt because it fails to stimulate us.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Franchise coffee ground to a halt because it fails to stimulate us.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/eat-drink/2018/03/03/franchise-coffee-grinds-to-halt/

    Love this quote,

    "I suppose to some extent people like to see someone with a furrowed brow, putting in the concentration, playing with the grinder, tampering the cap, doing the milk”

    Playing with the grinder, tampering the cap, doing the milk eh, sounds almost obscene,Farrah Plummer is obviously a terrier when it comes to research.

    And this little gem "Australian and cuisine continues to take the US by storm! (four stores) long way between drinks, For all you Angelinos, @BluestoneLane is now open in Studio City, in addition to its popular stores in New York, Pennsylvania and San Francisco!" what a load of rubbish, true you will find the odd Aussie running a cafe, however they really are a rarity, "New York Times has described the arrival of Australian baristas and coffeeshops as “an invasion” the author fails to mention that the article is approaching 4 years old published July 2014.

    Are we Australians that insecure that we grasp at any vestige of approval, seems we constantly have an Aussie contender for fame and fortune in the US, who sadly (for some obscure bit of bad luck) seldom quite makes the grade.

    Having said that, I believe Australians have had quite an influence on American espresso over the past 20 or so years (for the better)

    Interesting that the American model regularly fails here in OZ, different dynamics at work, the medical people along with media here in Australia are constantly reminding us of the evils of sugar, salt and fat, in the US you seldom hear a word about healthy eating, in fact just the opposite, the message is "consume" doesn't matter what, as long as its loaded with unhealthy substances, get as much of it into you as you possibly can.

    Some of the current crop of American food shows on TV at the moment are beyond belief, they take the art of gluttony to a new level.
    Last edited by Yelta; 4th March 2018 at 12:33 PM.
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    The iced mochas and sugary syrups of franchise coffee have failed to overcome Australia’s ingrained bean snobbery, leaving large retail operators with a weak financial brew.
    Is that meant to be tongue in cheek? How does a desire for a good tasting product become "Australia’s ingrained bean snobbery". Starbucks is nothing more than a glorified hot milkshake diner. (with apologies to 50's style diners).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford View Post
    Is that meant to be tongue in cheek? How does a desire for a good tasting product become "Australia’s ingrained bean snobbery". Starbucks is nothing more than a glorified hot milkshake diner. (with apologies to 50's style diners).
    I imagine Andy has had quite a bit to do with the combination of the words coffee and snob in Australia.

    I agree with your assessment of Starbucks, not to my taste at all.

    Not sure if you experienced Australian cafe coffee in the 50's, it was truly abysmal, we were just transitioning from Bickfords coffee and chickory of the post war years to the latest thing, instant coffee, what a step up.
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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I don't mind the combination of the words "coffee" and "snob" on here because it is an 'in-joke' for us, but I don't like being called a "Coffee snob" by others (wife and friends) because it isn't snobbery to know the difference between good and bad coffee. Some of my friends, mainly those who like a bucket of coffee-flavoured hot milk, confuse "snob" with "enthusiast".
    Some people aren't discriminating about anything, and I sometimes wish I was one of those because life is a lot easier if you don't care whether the wine, food, coffee etc is good or bad. You just walk into the first Cafe/Bistro you come across and it will be fine.
    A meeting I used to go to always provided Gloria Jean's coffees to attendees. I never liked the taste of it - but the cafe seems to do OK so obviously a lot of other folks like it.
    As little as a decade ago you would struggle to get a decent coffee travelling between capital cities, now all the truck-stops have an espresso machine but the problem is the rubbish bean they are putting through it (and the clueless operators and the cleanliness of the machine).

  5. #5
    Senior Member rusty888's Avatar
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    I guess the main thing is people’s acceptance. A lot of people use pods or instant at home hence these places are always seen as “better” and a nice “treat”. I’ve done many regional trips and whilst some of these places can do many things wrong they survive because I like many others can accept what they are. Would I be a regular? No, but they have their place.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    I think what the article is trying to get at isn’t totally wrong. It’s timely due to RFG’s current issues obviously, but it’s really an opinion piece masquerading as news. It’s full of ‘journalese’ type language and ‘facts’ that are anything but unfortunately.
    The reality is actually quite different as most of us here on CS know: most Australians are perfectly happy with fairly average coffee and there’s definitely a demand for franchise style operations. However some brands are struggling at the moment partly because that market is saturated, but also because they’ve just coasted along for many years without changing much and have been left behind by brands doing it better.
    There will be a rationalisation in this part of the market for sure, but franchises won’t disappear. Here in NZ the biggest coffee retailer in the country is a franchise - Wild Bean Cafe. They do what they do very well, but it’s coffee roasted dark and oily (by Cerebos) and it’s quite disgusting really. Geez, even McCafe is quite popular!!! Most Robert Harris and some Gloria Jeans cafes here are getting facelifts. The Robert Harris cafes now look like a typical ‘specialty’ cafe and have come up quite good. And they’re as busy as always. Not sure how GJs will do here and places like BeanBay’s will struggle as well if they don’t keep up with Wild Bean and Robert Harris.

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    The article is a load of baloney.

    RFG bought it's losses on themselves and it's not the poor franchisees who did it either...RFG have gone in and financially raped franchisees, either by closing a brand down and taking away the earning capacity of a store which the franchisee paid a lot of money for. I can think of a couple of brands here in S.A. Jamacia Blue and BeanBay's (not beanbays... forum software auto corrects to that when I type 2 b's together)Espresso, or dramatically increasing renewal and upgrade costs. Micheles is a classic example here. Not only are the stores in shopping centres getting ripped a new one from rent, the franchisor rips them a new one on franchise renewals and very much increased upgrade costs (not originally disclosed). There's a lot of extra coffees, cakes and pastries to be sold to bring back an extra $200,000.00 plus upgrade costs over 5 years and frankly the extra revenue generated (if any) doesn't come anywhere near the upgrade costs... Don't worry, if the franchisee can't afford this, RFG just churn (take over and resell) them and seek another sucker. RFG have done this to so many that it's now on the nose to all sorts of investors and they won't go near it. I can guarantee I will NEVER be involved with this group at any level. There's a high possibility the CJ's franchisee you go to has been screwed too and they will be locked into making coffee with franchise approved beans only regardless of the beans quality.

    It's not so much the customer is more discerning rather, the franchisee being able to stay in business and provide mediocre coffee at a reasonable cost. People who are at shopping centres will go to cafes in the grounds if cafes are there, and some people will still make a special trip to the store for a coffee and cake or whatever, not stay away because of on line shopping.

    On the flip side, I can think of a franchise around here that seems to do well, Cibo's, and I can think of a few independent cafes that seem to do well... Have you noticed that food like lunches and snacks are becoming more and more prevalent and diversification a necessity for cafes to survive? Or is it only me just noticing that now?

    Just re read Yeltas original post and the above is way off topic....Sorry mate...

    Gloria Jeans was a brand which was bought from the U.S in the 70's by memory? and until recently has been successful, Maccas and Hungry Jacks or Burger King and Dominoes all come from the U.S. and are successful. There are many food brands in the U.S which have not made it here.

    I'm not sure but I think Boost has done OK in the U.S. but happy to stand corrected, those stores mentioned in the article, I've never heard of. I'm not sure of any cafe brands from here that have done well in the U.S. One exception comes to mind...The McCafe concept was originally floated in Melbourne I believe and did so well McDonald's expanded it and it is now a world wide success story for them.

    I haven't been to the U.S. recently so can't comment on how we Aussies have influenced espresso making but on youTube there seems some nice espresso there now.

    I have been to Paris and noticed I can get a nice espresso and cappuccino if I specifically ask for it which seemed to be an impossibility 20 odd years ago where all you would get is the American style coffee, or some dishwashing water with a touch of milk added.

    I agree there are different dynamics at play but us as a nation are not far behind the U.S when it comes to big unhealthy people and our eating habits, although I agree that the wild gluttonous U.S T.V shows we recently see here take vulgarity to another level. I like my food but some of the things you see on these shows just make feel a little sick.


    Cheers.
    Last edited by bigdaddy; 5th March 2018 at 04:56 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    The unfortunate thing is that there will be another bunch of Joes ready to take the place of those who've just been churned in this process. Hopefully the current controversy might encourage more people to do more detailed research, and be more cynical of the pitch that is put to them. But a lot of people are hell-bent on being self-employed, and these franchises often seem like the quickest way into that position (and of course, some franchise opportunities might actually represent a fair deal).
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    "There's a high possibility the CJ's franchisee you go to has been screwed too and they will be locked into making coffee with franchise approved beans only regardless of the beans quality."

    I can understand this from the Franchisor's perspective, in that they are trying to create a 'McDonalds of Coffee' where it doesn't matter which branch you go to they taste the same (or as close as possible given the vagaries of making coffee). But to charge an exorbitant amount way over the market rate for these beans is unconscionable, and you can guarantee they are screwing the coffee bean supplier to the last cent (so much so they would be cutting corners) and making more on it as the middle man than the roaster is.

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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockford View Post
    "There's a high possibility the CJ's franchisee you go to has been screwed too and they will be locked into making coffee with franchise approved beans only regardless of the beans quality."

    I can understand this from the Franchisor's perspective, in that they are trying to create a 'McDonalds of Coffee' where it doesn't matter which branch you go to they taste the same (or as close as possible given the vagaries of making coffee). But to charge an exorbitant amount way over the market rate for these beans is unconscionable, and you can guarantee they are screwing the coffee bean supplier to the last cent (so much so they would be cutting corners) and making more on it as the middle man than the roaster is.
    This particular company actually OWNS the roasting facilities. So the coffee should be very well priced, no reason for it to be otherwise. If it’s not that’s inexcusable.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Wonder how long the Krispy Kreme franchises will survive?
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    They’ve already gone bust once in Australia. It was in about 2011/12 I think.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    They’ve already gone bust once in Australia. It was in about 2011/12 I think.
    I must have blinked.
    When the franchise opened up North of Adelaide a while back, my wife called in on the way home and bought a dozen regular donuts as a treat $27, that's $2.25 each for sugar/cinnamon donuts we haven't returned.

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    It (and the clueless operators and the cleanliness of the machine).
    I have been known to walk into cafes and walk straight out, as I could smell the stale coffee smell as soon as I walked in

    I don't mind being called a coffee snob, I suppose it lets people know not to offer me instant. Most people I visit, I ask for a cup of tea
    Having the right equipment, or even the right coffee means nothing. We were at some family gathering and my son offered to make coffee in their moka pot. As he stood there spooning in the coffee (they did have a grinder) my cousin walked past and said: Gosh take half that coffee out! Way too much, it will be too strong, only fill it half full!
    He obliged, but both of us had tea :-)

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I must have blinked.
    When the franchise opened up North of Adelaide a while back, my wife called in on the way home and bought a dozen regular donuts as a treat $27, that's $2.25 each for sugar/cinnamon donuts we haven't returned.
    I didn't know either. I did try them once when they first arrived in Melbourne (having listened to all the hype - some people supposedly flew to Sydney just to buy some) and wasn't at all impressed. Apart from the price, I have had much better doughnuts

  16. #16
    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    From what I read GJ has gone bust for lots of reasons (mostly because of the way the franchisor behaved) but I am not surprised that we have not taken to these American style cafes. I have never tasted either GJ or Starbucks. Must admit, when they first showed up, I planned to taste their coffee just once, but then saw their prices and thought, you must be kidding!
    I find it surprising that any Australian would buy coffee from them when they can get a much better cup near by a lot cheaper. Very few suburbs don't have at least one good coffee shop. I remember house hunting a few years ago and I asked the RE person where to find a good cup of coffee. We have GJ at the shopping centre, she offered. Decided not to buy in that suburb :-)
    I suppose there must be some Australians that frequent these places (maybe they are the coffeesnobs, thinking the price equates quality) but I would think it would be mainly tourists.

  17. #17
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Franchise coffee ground to a halt because it fails to stimulate us.

    Quote Originally Posted by csutak40 View Post
    I didn't know either. I did try them once when they first arrived in Melbourne (having listened to all the hype - some people supposedly flew to Sydney just to buy some) and wasn't at all impressed. Apart from the price, I have had much better doughnuts
    As a former donut connoisseur I can honestly say that Krispy Kreme suck. I never understood why people got so excited about crap donuts. They’re just as bad in the US.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    As a former donut connoisseur I can honestly say that Krispy Kreme suck. I never understood why people got so excited about crap donuts. They’re just as bad in the US.
    No argument from me on this gem "Krispy Kreme suck" KK are to donuts what Starbucks is to coffee.

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    No argument from me on this gem "Krispy Kreme suck" KK are to donuts what Starbucks is to coffee.
    You're just being silly now. Krispy Kreme are very nice. Like all donuts you've got to get them fresh, as they go stale very quickly.

  20. #20
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    I would hazard a guess that a large part of the decline in these businesses is the change in taste and eating habits of Australians. We are told to embrace healthier eating so sugar loaded products such as cakes and donuts will be in decline. The franchisors try to protect their profits leaving the franchisee to carry the burden.
    The cafe scene has progressed from the frothy style we used to consume in the 1980s which gave way to the Starbucks 'sensation' which in turn gave way to the new wave of coffee that saw cafe goers become more discerning in their tastes. I remember 50m queues at the local Starbucks in 2008. Five years later there was no queue and plenty of vacant tables while the specialty coffee operators like Mecca and Single Origin were growing in popularity.
    Last edited by flynnaus; 9th March 2018 at 07:59 PM.

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    Before Expo 88 in Brisbane, there were no Alfresco dining and very few coffee shops. Wife and I would drive from Ipswich to Brisbane at least once a week to buy a proper coffee. We had an Atomic back then.
    After Expo there was an explosion of Alfresco with reasonable quality coffee IIRC.

    Now every corner store, fish n chip shop, bakery, and servo spits out Brisbane river.
    At least in the midst of all this fakery and confusion there are real artisans of the trade, and rarely a franchise amongst them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
    You're just being silly now. Krispy Kreme are very nice. Like all donuts you've got to get them fresh, as they go stale very quickly.
    I hate to disagree, but KK donuts taste just like a bowl of sugar - even when fresh out of the oven at their US HQ (or in NY, NY, NY, or in Central City - three tries was two too many). Add a bit of brown colouring and the fakery is complete.

    After 16 months in the US I only managed to find OK donuts at one place (the local King Sooper in Lakewood, CO., baked on the spot). The other King Sooper branches were more like KK donuts, and when I asked the Lakewood baker about it he laughed and said his regulars love his doughnuts. The other branches use the King Sooper standard mix which they can order in bulk. He makes his from scratch. Strange, he is a new immigrant Danish guy... Almost every Oz doughnut is a vast improvement straight out of their ovens (Dreamy donuts excepted - God knows they are also dreadful and as bad as KK). I doubt the US people know what a good doughnut is, so how can they develop the taste for one?

    Mind you the "land of coffee and donuts" was a huge disappointment on both grounds. I only had two great coffees in the 16 months I was there - Victors at Redmond WA and a little place in Montrose CO. Both had a long queue of people standing in the snow awaiting their fix, both had "genuine European coffee" signs and both had Irish roasters. If you like overroasted and overextracted coffee then the famous ones in NY and San Fran may be to your taste. They certainly aren't to mine. Oh, and those dreadful, ubiquitous dripolators stewing coffee for hours... even instant is better than that.

    Ironically, Victors is a stones throw from Starbucks HQ, which was almost empty at the time... So IMO US Americans do know what good coffee is, they just can't get it easily.

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    Agreed, Krusty Kreme donuts are dreadful.

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    Oh, and those dreadful, ubiquitous dripolators stewing coffee for hours... even instant is better than that.

    Instant coffee is not better than drip coffee. You can't have tried Tim Horton's coffee. They throw it out after 20 minutes maximum if it's not sold and make a fresh batch. And their donuts are delicious too.

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    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Flying out of Brisbane after a conference several years ago I was amazed to watch people buying large boxes of KK from the airport shop to take home to their families in Regional Queensland.
    I didn't get it then and I don't get it now as KK are a very ordinary Donut and by the time you got them home they weren't fresh either.
    I'd always rather have a slice of baked cheesecake anyhow.

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