Australian Franchises

Xpresso Delight franchise takes the grind out of the working week

Written on the 18 March 2009

SOMEWHERE, right now, there’s an Xpresso Delight franchisee earning better than the national average wage for working under 10 hours per week.

Some people might not call that work and that’s exactly what the founders of Xpresso Delight, Paul Crabtree and Stephen Spitz, had in mind when they created the concept which has just been ranked the 11th “Fastest-Growing Franchise” by outlet in BRW’s Fast Franchises 2009. They have also won the “2008 Australian Business Award for Enterprise” in the Cafes and Restaurants category.

Prior to founding Xpresso Delight, Crabtree while in his 40s, worked 80 hour weeks in his marketing and business coaching businesses while caring for a young family. He could see a gap in the market for a business opportunity that helped time-poor Australians earn a full-time wage while cutting their working hours simply because he was one of them.

“The businesses I was running at the time were very successful but it got to the point where it didn’t matter how much money I was making because I had no life outside of work,” Paul said.

“I decided to sell all of my businesses and to look for something that would allow me to work less than 25 hours per week and never employ another person again. The vending industry was my first choice because the machines do all of the work for you and maximise the time-to-money ratio. So, I looked for opportunities in that market.”

In 2004, he founded gourmet coffee machine franchise Xpresso Delight in Sydney with his business partner Stephen Spitz. Five years later, the business has 98 franchisees and was named in the top five fastest growing franchises by revenue in 2008 and 2009 in the BRW Fast Franchises rankings.

Xpresso Delight works by franchisees placing fully automated, commercial-grade, gourmet espresso coffee machines into workplaces free-of-cost, charging just $1 per cup, and servicing the machines which occurs once a week.

“The market at the time was saturated with vending machines using instant coffee and powdered milk which didn’t give customers a café-quality coffee. Through the due diligence process I was able to source high-quality, gourmet coffee machines that used real beans and fresh milk and I instantly saw how popular they would be with gourmet coffee drinkers.”

Spitz joined the business almost immediately after Paul started installing the machines into workplaces and together they quickly realised the potential of franchising.

“I was doing some contract work at an office in 2003 and one day Paul walked in to install a coffee machine,” Stephen said. “We already knew each other and once we started talking about what he was doing with his new business venture I became very interested in the bigger picture of where we could take this opportunity.

“I joined the business as Paul’s business partner and within eight weeks of establishing Xpresso Delight we had the foundations of a great enterprise. We quickly realised the business model and systems could easily be duplicated through franchising.

“I had also owned a number of successful businesses like Paul and what I loved about the idea of franchising Xpresso Delight was not only reducing the hours I was working but also maximizing the time-to-money ratio for franchisees as well.

“The success of the business has been built on its ability to provide franchisees with an impressive return on time invested. We also promise franchisees will make a minimum 40 percent revenue return on capital investment within the first six months or their franchise fee is refunded which reduces some of the risk of going into business.

“It’s an ideal business for families with children looking for a second income but still wanting flexibility in working hours or for full-time workers wanting to boost their income.”

Stephen said the long-term goal was to expand its coverage of the Australian and New Zealand marketplace and start expanding internationally.

“We would be extremely happy with just one percent of the potential coffee market in Australia and New Zealand which is 10,000 machines and about 1000 franchisees. By the end of 2010 we’re aiming to have 200 franchisees in the domestic market and we will start introducing the concept to international markets later this year.

“We also introduced our mobile coffee van division Xpresso Delight coffee&go in 2008 to capitalise on the growing demand for a full-time coffee franchise alternative and we currently have three franchisees. We expect to add another 10 coffee&go franchisees by the end of the year.”

Five years after establishing Xpresso Delight, Paul said they had achieved their goal to enjoy a better work-life balance.

“I was brought up to think that if you want to earn more money, you work more hours and I’ve done my fair share of 16 hour days, six days a week,” Paul said. “Now I get up at 6:00 am, go to the gym, take my daughter to school and have total flexibility for the rest of the day.

“Stephen also enjoys greater flexibility and has been travelling overseas on and off for the past three months. Meanwhile the business has continued to run smoothly because the systems we have in place as franchisors are equally as good as the systems we have in place for our franchisees.”

More information on Xpresso Delight franchise opportunities.

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