5 bean-smart facts about Mrs Fields coffee
Cafes today are about more than the food and beverage mix. Here CEO Peter Elligett answers a quick Q&A about the Mrs Fields coffee experience.
The business has been trading for more than 40 years, and franchising since 1994. Now more than ever it’s all about the coffee.
Why is it important to the business to roast your own coffee beans?
Mrs Fields is a vertically integrated business – we manufacture most of the bakery items for our stores. About 20 years ago, when we first started selling espresso coffee in our stores, we purchased coffee from contract roasters.
Unfortunately, we were not always able to rely on consistent quality coffee beans so we invested in a roasting plant, brought in a master roaster, spent a great deal of time with focus groups trialling different blends that most suited the Australian palate and then started roasting ourselves, using only the finest quality beans.
We also invested in a full time barista trainer, a 5 day barista training course to ensure that our franchisees and their staff were all up to scratch on the preparation of espresso coffees and then ongoing follow up training for all our stores.
Tell us about the Mrs Fields coffee options
We have two coffee options in our stores. Our house blend uses four different beans with complementary characteristics that are all roasted individually to ensure that the best is extracted from each origin before blending them together.
We also have a single origin option that rotates on a bi-monthly basis – at the moment, we are serving a beautiful Honduran coffee.
How important is coffee to the Mrs Fields cafe?
Coffee is about 35 per cent of our total sales so really the most important part of our business. I think that people generally underrate franchise chains when it comes to quality coffee.
However, in most cases, you will find that they have good equipment and quality systems in place backed up by thorough and ongoing training to achieve a high level of consistency.
What training do baristas get?
Baristas have five days initial training both in the classroom and one-on-one in our training school. There is also barista assistance during the opening of the store and then ongoing PASEC training for individual staff and franchisees.
What coffee is most popular?
It has changed over the years going from flat white to latte and now cappuccino is the number one beverage. Chai latte is also increasing year by year.