While the coffee culture in the United States is mature in general — as evidenced by the myriad specialty coffee shops seemingly on every street corner — one location that is still plagued by boring roasts is the average American office, but a new franchise based in New York aims to change that.
Xpresso Delight, which supplies premium espresso coffee to offices, is just getting its legs in the US, having been brought here in 2012 by CEO Nigell Lee. The concept has been around since 2003 in Lee’s native Australia, where he was an area representative in the state of Western Australia for the brand.
Franchising since 2004, the brand has about 200 franchisees in Australia and New Zealand. Thus far, in the US, Xpresso Delight has just two corporate franchises in New York and Philadelphia, PA, but now the company is looking to expand.
“For the last few years we’ve been building up the brand and doing a lot of market research,” Lee said during a recent interview from New York.
Rather than having a shop or a vending machine, Xpresso Delight just puts the actual espresso machine right into offices.
“We provide fully automatic espresso coffee machines to offices for free,” Lee explained. “It’s a $7,000 coffee machine. We also supply our own proprietary blend of coffee. It’s an arabica roast.”
When office workers want a cup of coffee, they simply put a cup under the spout of the machine and press the button for whichever kind of coffee they want. The machine grinds fresh beans, draws fresh milk from a refrigerated container that sits next to the machine, heats and froths the milk and pours it into the cup, all within about 30-40 seconds. A digital counter on the machine keeps track of the cups of coffee it serves and the client is charged per cup accordingly.
The machines are able to make regular coffee, espresso, macchiato, flat white, cappuccinos latte and even hot chocolate.
Charging clients on a per cup basis is how Xpresso Delight is able to provide the machines to clients for free, plus also provide service and cleaning to the machine once per week. The company will even replace a malfunctioning machine on the same day free of charge.
Looking to Expand
Lee pinpointed three demographics of people the brand is eyeing for potential franchisees
The first is stay-at-home parents who have been out of the workforce and who want to jump back in, but don’t have the flexibility for a full-time job. Xpresso Delight offers them the opportunity to work one, two or three days per week with hours of their choosing.
Secondly, Lee said, people who already have an existing route that takes them through commercial businesses, like a vending machine franchisee, would also benefit from adding Xpresso Delight to their routes.
And, thirdly, people who want a passive income by setting up the business, but having others perform the servicing, would also make a good Xpresso Delight franchisee.
While the company would be willing to speak to anyone in the US who is interested, the CEO said, their 2016 goal is to expand throughout the northeast and southeast US.
“What we’re trying to do is build a concentration model where we can build out from New York and beyond from that,” he said.
Behind the Rest of the World
It’s evident the US coffee market is mature, Lee said, but the office coffee market in particular is behind the rest of the world.
Using Australia as an example, the CEO said about 80-90 percent of offices in that country have an espresso coffee machine. Here in the US, he estimated, less than five percent of offices have one.
“What we’re trying to do is make people understand that they can have a better coffee experience in their office,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be boring old pot coffee or a plastic K-Cup.”
One of the reasons offices are keeping their bland brews, Lee noted, is people in the US don’t yet understand how easy it is to have a good cup of coffee in their office. Most offices settle for K-Cup machines, not realizing they can easily and affordably be having the same type of coffee that a barista makes right there in their place of work.
Supporting Franchisee Goals
Xpresso Delight offers two days of training in the franchisee’s home market and then as much on-site training as they require. The company will train them to do the espresso machine installations, train them to do sales and train them to service the machines. And they’ll train the franchisee until they’re comfortable.
“Some people only need one installation and then they’re comfortable with it, some people need ten,” Lee said. “So, we’re out there as much as they need.”
Once franchisees are done with training, Xpresso Delight makes itself available to a franchisee via phone, email or text and helps them grow their business as much as they want, whether it’s just a small operation for extra income, or a much larger operation.
To make Xpresso Delight an attractive franchising opportunity, it was designed to be a home based business with low overhead. Franchisees don’t even need to buy a van but can use the vehicle they already have.
With an already strong coffee culture in the US outside the office, Xpresso Delight is poised to bring brilliant brews inside the office. They just need to find the right franchisees to do it.