Bike Cafe goes Baltic
Why has Bike Cafe decided to expand to the Baltic states and why now?
The Baltic states are of interest to us for several reasons. First of all, they are close to Poland, which is important with regard to the provision and ease of logistical support and supply chains. Moreover, these are countries that all have a very similar ‘cafe culture’ to that of Poland and which, like us in Poland, have growing consumer awareness as regards high-quality coffee. Many cities in these countries have an administrative procedural framework for activating mobile gastronomy and allowing it to function without too many unnecessary obstacles. Finally, all these countries enjoy a standard of living similar to each other and that of Poland.
What’s your strategy for developing the Bike Cafe franchise in these countries?
Our optimal objective is to secure a master franchise holder with several units in the capital city and then distribution to the remaining major cities and tourist resorts. But we are flexible and will remain open to smaller-scale locations in some areas.
What do you feel marks you out from your competitors ?
Above all else, it's our flexibility. As a result of the outdoor nature of our business, we do not try to enforce any days or hours of opening for our outlets. Using that mobility as an asset we enable our franchises to change location in order to access those points where there is the greatest potential for sales. The way we work is transparent and is compatible with the character of the business concept of a cafe for cyclists. We don’t have flat-rate franchise fees, just a commission which is included in the price of coffee beans ordered by the franchisee. This ensures that the franchisee only pays us when he or she actually earns.
What do potential franchisees want to know the most when they consider Bike Cafe?
Predictably enough they want to know how much you can earn. They also ask us about the mobility range and effectiveness of the bicycles Bike Cafe uses, how to arrange the necessary logistics, and which products sell the best. We answer all questions and treat each case individually. And we make sure that we provide good training so that franchisees can avoid making unnecessary errors when they get going with their business.
According to your experience, what is the key to success for your franchisees?
Commitment and maintenance of high quality. Given a bit of luck, one can find a good location and then the business begins to roll. But even a location with more modest traffic, if backed up with the right engagement in marketing and maintaining high quality of service, they can get a really good conversion rate. I really appreciate such cases when Bike Cafe becomes a meeting point, when it becomes a part of the landscape and has a following of a troop of loyal clients. Those kinds of cases really give me a buzz.
The Bike Cafe Concept
Bike Cafe is a result of bringing together two passions: bikes and coffee. The cafes are actually placed on specially adapted bicycles which can move freely in urban spaces. That mobility ensures that the business can be where the customers are, in other words where on a given day the heart of the city is beating.
The business that began in 2012 in Poznań, Poland. Bike Cafe became a franchise in 2014 and has spread to many cities. Bike cafes can also be found in Finland, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland and Hungary. There are already over a hundred franchised units active.
There are three types of places the mobile unit can be located. The first is offering coffee on the go on busy streets, in parks, and close to tourist spots. The second is at events such as conferences, festivals or markets. The third is in shopping centers, transport terminals, or office blocks.
The solutions the company offers, enable the Bike Cafe vehicles to be open for business for over 10 hours without the need for connection to power or water. The equipment works in silence in all climates, therefore it is an all-year round rather than a seasonal business.
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Bike Cafe is expanding to the Baltic states. It’s an outdoor concept that can work in all climates.
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