Lava Coffee on getting the balance right
Established in Mackay, north Queensland, in 2008 with the goal of providing an affordable entry point for entrepreneurs looking to break into the coffee market, Lava Coffee now has franchises throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
“We are well aware of the importance of staying 'on-trend' in the always-developing coffee marketplace,” says GM Christine Wadsworth. “Being aware of trends in your industry is certainly important. It is equally important not to be distracted by fads that are here one day and gone the next.
“Ultimately, the customer wants a great cup of coffee every time – this is built on having quality and consistency in your blend, baristas, equipment and training.”
Wadsworth says Lava Coffee has a strong relationship with its roasters, Seven Miles Coffee, which maintains the blend and ensures equipment and techniques are always at the “cutting edge of coffee evolution”.
But, she says, that is only one part of the equation. “When this coffee expertise is combined with the knowhow of a management team that has a wealth of franchising experience, our franchisees have several advantages over independent boutiques.”
Managing costs is a big part of the Lava model, ensuring franchisee profit. “Some businesses may have great turnover levels, but if they are burdened by large financing, rental and staffing costs it is very difficult for the business owner to turn a healthy profit,” says Wadsworth.
“This is something we are very aware of at Lava. We will never sell a franchise if we are not completely comfortable with the cost structure.”
Sites are also chosen carefully. While some sections of the coffee industry are becoming congested and expensive, Lava’s focus on non-traditional locations and “out-of-the-box” concepts set it apart from most, says Wadsworth.