Archive for August, 2007


CEO interview with WallStreetReporter

Interview With:
Steven Bartlett
Chief Executive Officer


Franchise deal reached with brewer and pub company Greene King


The Coffee Republic Served Here franchise agreement will see Green King serve Coffee Republic beverages in 28 of its London pubs.

The deal is part of the chain’s Coffee Republic Serve Here strategy, a concept that aims to have installations of its brand in existing businesses.

The pub industry is undergoing a period of radical change as opening hours are extended and smoking bans are enforced.

As a result, many pubs are looking to offer more food and softer drinks.


Establishing a Coffee Republic


Mark Christie came on board with Coffee Republic when Steven Bartlett took over as CEO of the company in 2005, having previously worked together. He opened his first Deli in Plymouth earlier in Spring 2006 and is the Regional Development Franchise for Devon & Cornwall. Seeing the potential to expand internationally, Mark is also the Master Franchisee for Bulgaria.

Why I chose franchisingI was already working with franchising companies before coming to Coffee Republic and hold the franchises for both Cost-cutters and Wimpy. For a business operator, I believe franchising is the way forward due to the branding. If you chose a strong brand, the name will sell itself and half the work in establishing a new company is done for you.

What I did before taking up a franchise

Before working in franchising, I’d spent 25 years in the navy. The best grounding for this business however came from my experience as a property manager in Plymouth, having worked in estate agency and commercial property. This lends itself very well to knowing what the best sites will be for coffee bars in my areas.

Why I chose Bulgaria

I wanted to introduce the Coffee Republic brand to Bulgaria because I had previously been selling property there and saw the potential in the market. There is huge potential to make a financial profit and it was a completely different type of challenge to setting up businesses in the UK. On average, I travel to Bulgaria about once every two months. I found the Bulgarian people great to work with on a business level, but also as guests in the Deli, its important to work with good people of course.

How the brand is received abroad

The Coffee Republic brand is extremely well received in Bulgaria, its an emerging market and they are very receptive of our brand. I’ve found that working with such a strong brand name has really helped to open doors there and there is a lot of potential for expansion in the near future. We have one Deli open at the moment in Sunny Beach which is a big holiday destination, and I expect to open around 6 or 7 more Delis over the next 12 months.

The differences with an International Deli

The Deli is exactly the same concept as in England, the same great coffee, good service and branding, except for a few small variations to the menu. We don’t sell pork on the menu in Bulgaria and we had to research the market extensively to find out what the local people would be receptive to. The range of menus with Chill-A-Chinos, Tea Republic, etc, means the range has really taken off successfully and for the future we can expect to be the leading coffee brand in Bulgaria ahead of companies like Starbucks and Costa.

The challenges I have faced

The biggest challenge I faced was overcoming the language barrier in Bulgaria and understanding the cultural differences. Breaking into the business community was initially difficult but once I’d met the right people doors began to open. I needed to research the Bulgarian rules and regulations, for example fiscal policy and try to understand the mentality of local customs.

My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise

My advice to anyone thinking of buying a franchise is to do lots of research, and of course, location, location, location! Your site really is key to how successful your business is going to be so you have to be a hundred percent confident that it’s located in the best possible area. Make a sound business plan, seek advice on this if necessary, and really understand your product and its target market.


Barclaycard touch-and-pay soon at Coffee Republic


Barclays has signed up more than 1,000 London shops to accept a touch-and-pay credit card, the bank says.

Chains such as Coffee Republic and Eat will be some of the first to accept the contactless Barclaycard credit card, which will be launched in September.

The idea is inspired by the Oyster payment method adopted by Transport for London, in which commuters press a small card against a special pad.

The card combines chip-and-pin technology with the Oyster travelcard.

The card, called Barclaycard OnePulse, can be used to pay for items costing less than £10 without using a four-digit Pin number or signing for purchases.

Any transaction over £10, however, will still need a Pin to verify it.