Daniel Isaac, an accomplished senior executive in the coffee franchise industry, started his journey as the Group General Manager of The Coffee Emporium in May 2014. Upon joining the coffee franchise, Daniel realised he had come across a brand with great growth potential that needed to be set in motion.
A strategic thinker and commercially astute leader, Daniel initiated his tenure with the coffee brand by conducting a thorough due diligence of the business. He quickly realised there were many untapped opportunities the brand needed to grasp to fully materialise growth. Facing a highly competitive landscape as presented by the franchising industry in Australia, Daniel was moved by a sheer sense of urgency to roll up his sleeves to get the job done with his team.
During the past 18 months, Daniel has led a major brand transformation for the premium coffee franchisor. He focused on positioning the brand to enhance growth, triggering a transformation that permeated multiple consumer touch points for the brand such as a new coffee house design and fit-out, brand website, food menu, training program and national marketing calendar.
“All of these points are key to the brand’s long-term strategy, designed to nurture a strong emotional connection with guests whilst effectively positioning the brand as a premium player. Inspiring my team was paramount in driving change, motivating every team member in the organisation to materialise a vision focused on rendering some impressive results for The Coffee Emporium including QSR Media’s 2016 ‘Best Brand Transformation Award’,” says Daniel.
The road to transformation
The journey to winning the award was not easy, as one of the most challenging aspects Daniel faced was challenging the status quo to really disrupt the prevailing mind-set. He quickly realised he needed to bring people along on the journey to take the brand to the next level through implementation of game changing strategies focused on accelerating growth.
“Change management is always hard because people are so set in their ways. I did a lot of work with franchise partners to get them engaged and aligned with The Coffee Emporium’s vision, mission and values. Every single opportunity I have with them counts. Under my leadership, we rolled-out a series of workshops throughout the year aimed at adding value to our franchise partners and their team members,” says Daniel.
A new look and feel
New coffee house fit-outs were the top priority. They were designed to create an amazing guest experience by providing a sophisticated ambiance that recreates the atmosphere of traditional European cafés. Best of class fit-outs have enabled the brand to increase food category sales by 38% and beverage category sales by 95% in the past year.
“Of course, it wasn’t just the fit-outs that led to this increase, it was also the improvements made to the food and beverage options. Following key retail trends, The Coffee Emporium re-designed its menu offerings to address Australian consumers’ demand for quality, gourmet and convenience. Its menu has evolved to incorporate over 200 items across food and beverage. Previously, each café had different products based on the location and demographic. With the extensive new menu, franchise partners have the flexibility to customise their menu to suit their clientele, while maintaining consistency and alignment with The Coffee Emporium brand,” says Daniel.
Daniel recognised the company’s website and social media presence were also integral to re-positioning the brand as a premium player. Now, the company’s Instagram and Facebook presence allows customers to follow and engage with The Coffee Emporium online. The feeds are incorporated into the website so there are always new, attractive photos of the coffee houses to entice existing guests and potential customers.
The new, user friendly design also allows prospective franchise partners to access critical brand information, such as application forms, FAQs and information pack.
“The new layout was designed taking into account different users’ needs like, for example, prospective franchise partners and customers who are seeking the latest news on The Coffee Emporium,” explains Daniel. This is particularly important considering Daniel and Directors John and Sam Ayoub, plan to open a dozen new coffee houses every year, while maintaining a balanced approach.
Partners in change
The Coffee Emporium’s supply partners have also been instrumental in the company’s brand transformation. Daniel worked closely with supply partners to make sure the new menu complemented the brand. And they have frequent catch-ups and brainstorming sessions to address challenges and areas of opportunity where they can give and receive feedback and discuss upcoming promotions. The Coffee Emporium has designed a 12-month marketing calendar in partnership with its global ingredients supply partner. Every 2 months, the brand will release a limited-time-only beverage offering, such as a line of Summer Smoothies.
“We drew upon the latest findings from the annual beverage flavour trend research, which indicate up-and-coming and emerging flavours in Australia,” said Daniel. “Results have been promising, as new limited-time beverage offers have positively impacted group sales of cold beverages by 95% versus the previous year.”
Not just a coffee shop
All indications are that the brand transformation has been a raging success. Sales are up, plans for growth are in place and guest feedback is glowing. Daniel’s leadership style was paramount in driving the change. The Coffee Emporium is no longer “just a coffee shop”. It’s a premium brand, offering gourmet food for breakfast, lunch & dinner and innovative beverages to its valued guests.
Now it’s set to take that offering to other key markets around the globe. The company opened its first international venue in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2015. Now, Daniel has plans to expand the brand further into Middle East and North Africa, as well as China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
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