Esquires Coffee Houses

Esquires Coffee is world-renowned as a conscientious market-leading food and beverage brand. In the UK however, the franchise has maintained a low-profile reputation as a bustling, high-quality business with exponential potential. Gareth Samuel reviews how Esquires Coffee is gearing up for the next expansionist phase in its history under new plans to establish an ethical presence nationwide.

The Esquires Coffee brand is admirably synonymous with charity, community and ethics thanks to a corporate-wide dedication to giving something back. Founder of the Esquires Coffee chain in New Zealand, Stuart Deeks, explains that this is an ethos the new-look business will maintain and build upon in the UK. “We are looking for a lot of good franchise owners who want to become part of a business where the sky really is the limit. We have served exclusively Fair Trade coffee in our stores for a long time now and we are planning to do the same with organic coffee.”

In addition to these admirable schemes to give back to farmers and the community, the registered Esquires programme, Fairshare™, will encourage customers to give back to local charities through an intelligent loyalty card scheme that lets customers choose whether to spend points in-store or donate. Equires UK plans to launch this scheme across the network later this year. The Esquires business model is one built upon modern methods of giving back. “Our philosophy is one of a business that will become the heart of a community, whether that’s a village or a city high street,” adds Stuart. “It’s a business for local people to provide a friendly, quality service for local customers. Franchise owners are actively encouraged to get involved in charities in their local area.”

In terms of earnings potential, Esquires has proven worldwide that it can bring prosperity to its franchise owners. Stuart says: “We are looking for people who want to come in and follow our system. We have a great model in place, which became the largest network of coffee houses in New Zealand and we are very confident about what we are offering franchise owners over here in the UK.

“There is really good money to be earned for people who want to come in and work hard to set up a new-look Esquires store.”

Having been the subject of a late 2013 takeover by Cooks Global Foods, Esquires expansion plans have changed dramatically. Currently the business has 32 stores across the UK and Ireland but this will inevitably not be the case for long. The business intends to grow rapidly using a proven model that includes structured, enduring support and modernised practices. “We are bringing in new technologies across our network that centre on quality of beverages,” Stuart explains. It was this attitude towards premium beverages that enabled Stuart and his team to win the Best Food and Beverage System of the Year Award in New Zealand two years running. He continues: “We are looking to open a lot more stores through local people as we have done in many other countries across the world. We have split the UK up into Master Areas and are offering these as investment opportunities, which will enable investors to sub-franchise within them. Ideally we are looking to recruit four new Master territory owners this year.”

The latest development in the Esquires UK revolution is the appointment of a new high-profile Managing Director. Doug Williamson, who founded the company originally in Canada, will be filling the role – providing yet more assurance that new franchise owners will be in the best possible hands. In the UK, Esquires Coventry franchise owner, Steven Prime took the bfa HSBC Young Franchisee of the Year Award in 2013, further reaffirming the business’ potential in Britain.

Investors will receive a full two-week training programme that includes one week of in-store operations practice and a second week of technical and corporate tuition that takes place at the Esquires UK head office. In addition, full site selection, launch programme and continued support are provided by the franchisor, enabling new owners to concentrate on getting their business up and running as soon as possible. Stuart adds: “We support our franchise owners right through their opening and help coordinate a launch. We even train all of the initial staff members so that our franchise owners can watch and learn what is necessary to train an excellent Esquires team.

“One key aspect of this business is that we don’t prepare any food on-site, which means no kitchen is required or chefs, which enables our franchise owners to keep their costs down. This really is a great business for first-timers because, provided they are willing to come in and work hard, we can teach them everything they need to know to be really successful with Esquires.

“We have had brilliant franchise owners all over the world from all walks of life. We have had Lawyers, Doctors, Tradesmen – everyone with the right attitude could become successful through our business model.”

The rebranding of Esquires and subsequent reissuing of expansion plans means that a genuinely great opportunity has arisen for entrepreneurs, looking to acquire a business, to become part of a “business where the sky is the limit,” as Stuart puts it. Inevitably, with Stuart at the helm, having made Esquires a leading coffee house brand in New Zealand – where consumers really are discerning about their coffee – Esquires will become a major player in the food and beverage marketplace. Whether you are a part of its success is down to the limits of you own ambition.