Work in association with one of the biggest brands in the world

Opportunities are available everywhere in the UK'to get in on the groundfloor of The Cup Company's franchise network and associate your business start-up with Nestlé and other leading brands

The opportunity to co-brand your new business start-up with an international company doesn't come along often, but The Cup Company's association with Nestlé will provide its franchisees with a very powerful impact when it comes to providing market opportunities in the 'to go' market. Now the company is expanding with further franchise opportunities being made available throughout the UK.

Nestlé's popular range of in-cup drinks, previously only available to major companies in the UK, plus Nestlé-branded confectionary and other snack products, are at the core of the offering. The Cup Company's business model is based on the simple but effective distribution of these products via boxes sited in places of work. 'The box concept is not a new one,' says Managing Director Stewart Watson. 'It's very similar to selling products such as fruit and vegetables which are left at the farmer's gate, or newspapers at stations, or even entrance fees to car parks and museums. These are often left unattended and payments are made without any supervision and with no obvious problems. What is surprising is the simple fact that once people have got used to paying for goods this way the issue of payment is never in question.

'We have found that in some cases, due to the popularity of the boxes someone in the company is allocated to supervising it. In one recent incident a note was left in one box from the supervisor addressed to the 'chocolate fairy' which somewhat amused our driver!'

Stewart originally worked alongside Nestlé to pioneer the 'in-cup' and the product now sells over six million units a year internationally in the commercial market. It was his enthusiasm for the product which drove him to launch The Cup Company in 2000 and since then more brands have been added to the portfolio. The company-owned operation has established a proven methodology for this part of the business with over 150 companies in Cambridge taking boxes with great success, but it is via franchising that The Cup Company plans to serve the national marketplace where outgoing, well organised and self-motivated individuals are sought to drive forward the expansion of the concept.

'To make a success of the business a franchisee needs to be able to build and maintain strong working relationships,' says Stewart. 'The earning potential is very much based upon the franchisee's own ability and, importantly, it provides a very favourable work/life balance.

'There are usually tea and coffee facilities in the workplace but if an employee wants anything else then they may have to go to the high street to buy it. The 'in-cup' is the new solution to this perennial problem, offering the customer branded drinks such as coffee, latte, mocha, cappuccino, hot chocolate, tea and soups all at a fraction of the cost of those being supplied by high street
coffee shops.'

The Cup Company has also signed an agreement with a cake manufacturer to supply a range of appetising slices in the box. 'The combination of snacks and drinks in this format is ideally suited for the smaller business,' says Stewart, 'and with the personal touch of an enthusiastic person, the business will be a success.'

Looking forward, Stewart has already identified a further potential revenue stream for the unique 'in-cup' system and again the beauty of it is in its simplicity. The ever expanding 'to go' market is an ideal place to sell this range of in cups and snacks and with this in mind he has further developed a unique carousel system which displays the variety of in cups available to the consumer. Having recently placed a carousel and boiler system in a busy forecourt, Stewart has been amazed at the rapid growth of the business with this. 'Our customer has been absolutely delighted with the new system,' says Stewart. 'Their sales have doubled with the new 'in-cups'.

The Cup Company's franchise package includes comprehensive training covering product knowledge, financial management, sales & marketing, field training and re-stocking procedures. 'By joining The Cup Company franchise you will become part of one of the biggest brands in the world,' reflects Stewart. 'Brand awareness is essential and all franchisees will be made aware of its importance to their own company and accordingly will be licensed to operate using the brand under the terms and conditions of the franchisor's licence.'

The initial investment also covers corporate dress, vehicle livery, stationery, initial stock for the first 100 customers, plus launch and ongoing support. 'Once the initial training is completed the support does not end there,' adds Stewart. 'Our team of sales people will assist the franchisee for the first two weeks to identify potential customers and place boxes with them. On an ongoing basis, The Cup Company is available at all times to help with any issues, problems or queries that arise. In addition we are continually looking at product development and new ideas to maximise both short and long term business development. This is a new and very exciting opportunity in the UK marketplace and we are looking to establish a national network of franchisees that will create high value businesses with a nationally branded product partner.'

Reported by Stuart Anderson