And The Winner Is
Zarraffa’s unveils 2016 Franchisee of the Year
Mixing business with family can be a bit of a gamble, but it’s one that has paid off for Zarraffa’s Warwick mother and daughter duo Tracey Slater and Danielle Cook.
In fact, the pair capped off their best year yet by being named Zarraffa’s Coffee’s 2016 Franchisee of the Year at the company’s annual awards event on the Gold Coast in November.
In a stellar year for the company, the regional Warwick store was the top all around performer, proving that coffee culture is a strong retail constant in markets from the coast to the bush.
“It’s a firm indictment, not only for our brand, but for the strength of coffee as a retail staple in both metro and regional markets,” says Zarraffa’s CEO Kenton Campbell.
“Our plans to extend our footprint are based primarily on our customers and their access to convenient coffee, and it is operators like Tracey and Danielle who exemplify the experience.”
Since relocating to Warwick from Brisbane to open the company’s fifth drive-thru location in 2011, Danielle and Tracey have seen their store go from strength to strength.
It’s a firm indictment, not only for our brand, but for the strength of coffee as a retail staple in both metro and regional markets.
We caught up with Danielle to chat about the secrets to the family’s success.
Congratulations on being named Zarraffa’s 2016 Franchisee of the Year. What made you stand out from the rest?
I don’t know why we won but I do know we follow the brand to the letter. We don’t buck the Zarraffa’s system; we follow it because it’s tried and true. I think the other big thing that sets us apart from the others is that we are very community minded. We have a lot of sponsorships in town, including the Warwick Cowboys (rugby league club), as well as a couple of touch teams. We also do a bit of charity work. We very rarely say no to people when they come into the store asking for support. Obviously you can’t help everyone, but they always walk away with something, whether it’s a drink card or something. They support us and we support them.
How has the town reacted to your win?
The reaction from the town knowing we won the award has been lovely with lots of people coming in to say congratulations. It’s one of those towns where everyone says hello and everyone is really friendly. Warwick is quite small but we have quite a large following and a loyal customer base. Out of the 600-plus coffees we make a day, probably half are regular customers that come through. We know them by name, and we know their coffees.
How do you make the mother/daughter partnership work?
Mum and I are best friends; we’ve always been really close. Obviously we have our arguments, but at the end of the day, we know we have each other’s backs. Mum lets me take the reigns as far as business acumen is concerned and she does more of a food role. I think that is why we are so successful. We are very much a part of the business and we are there every single day, doing long hours, working with the staff right beside them on the coffee machines. We are truly blessed to have the most wonderful staff. I don’t think we would have won the award without them.
What changes have you seen since starting your business?
I don’t know if we are trailblazers, but since we have been here, other cafés and specialty coffee shops have popped up. I’ve also definitely noticed since we opened until now that people are more vocal about their coffee and what they want. When we first opened, if you asked a customer what sort of coffee they were after, they would just say white coffee. But I think now we are getting that education out there that you can make your coffee weaker, stronger, hotter, colder, you can have more texture or less texture. I think people are really attuned to that now.
What’s next for you guys?
The store is going through a refit at the moment, just revamping and making it look like new again. We are really focused on growing the store, making it the best it can be, really being a part of the community and building a successful brand in this community.
Several other star performers from across the Zarraffa’s network were also recognised at the glittering awards event, held at RACV Royal Pines Resort.
The 2016 Store of the Year Award was awarded to the Beenleigh store and franchisees Nick and Kelly Daswani for the second year running. Nick put the achievement down to the commitment of the team.
“I like to live by the ethos that ‘no one ever gave his best and regretted it’, and I would say that is especially true of our staff – there are definitely no regrets and we have been fortunate enough to be rewarded two years in a row for it,” he said.
The 2016 Awards also recognised new talent in the company, ironically through a long-established store.
Miami One on the Gold Coast took out this year’s Rookie of the Year Award, with owners Ben and Camilla Martin, alongside Rebecca and Courtney Seager, working diligently to build up the business and create high customer satisfaction since taking on the franchise in May 2014.
The CEO Encouragement Award was presented to the Coolangatta franchise, which has continued to build a solid business in the southern Gold Coast area.
It is another example of an established store being given a new lease on life through hard work and collaboration by franchisees Marcus and Melissa Free, who purchased the franchise in mid-2014.
“It’s been a big couple of years of consolidation with some stores being turned over to new ownership and the 2016 Awards are testament to our franchisees’ commitment to our system and, I believe, to the support delivered to ensure health across our entire franchise network,” Kenton says.
“We are entering our 20th year of retailing and I cannot express my excitement for what’s to come in the next few years.
“There are incredible opportunities for expansion in new markets, which will deliver better convenience for our customers, through new and improved food offerings, a more comfortable in-store experience, and a brand new base of operations, all built around the same exceptional coffee we have always been known for.
“All of this, combined with an incredible foundation of dedicated franchisees and amazing customers, is what I have been working towards since opening my first store in 1996 and is genuinely a dream come true.”
2016 Award Recipients
FRANCHISEE OF THE YEAR
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE WARWICK (TRACEY SLATER AND DANIELLE COOK)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (6-12 MONTHS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE MIAMI ONE (BEN AND CAMILLA MARTIN, WITH REBECCA AND COURTNEY SEAGER)
CEO ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE COOLANGATTA (MARCUS AND MELISSA FREE)
STORE OF THE YEAR
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE BEENLEIGH (NICK AND KELLY DASWANI)
GROWTH AWARD (LESS THAN 2 YEARS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE FAIRFIELD (BRENDON, DEBBIE AND COREY BLAKEMORE)
DRIVE THRU GROWTH AWARD (2 YEARS PLUS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE KALGOORLIE (SCOTT & KYLA PATERSON)
STRIP MALL GROWTH AWARD (2 YEARS PLUS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE JIMBOOMBA (ANNA FRASER)
INTERNAL SHOPPING CENTRE GROWTH AWARD (2 YEARS PLUS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE CAPALABA (PREM & DEE KESHWANI)
EXTERNAL SHOPPING CENTRE GROWTH AWARD (2 YEARS PLUS TRADING)
ZARRAFFA’S COFFEE HARBOUR TOWN (KENTON & RACHEL CAMPBELL)