From the Coffee Cart to Franchise Success

Boaz Keeda | Fibonacci Coffee

From the coffee cart to franchise success: The Fibonacci Coffee story

I remember arriving in Australia vividly, it was 1999 and it was just before the Olympic Games in Sydney. I had spent four years working in security in my native Israel and I thought that I could use my experience here in Australia professionally.

As is often the case in life, the best laid plans sometimes don’t come to fruition. The security teams for the Olympics were already allocated and I found myself searching for work, unsure of what my next steps would be.
It seems a large leap to go from being a security specialist to working in hospitality, but there are similarities. I had learned from my previous work to take a people first approach and always wanted to make a positive difference in my work environment. I started working in a ocal coffee shop in Parramatta and fell in love with the industry. For many Australians, the coffee shop is more than a place that serves hot beverages – it is where they congregate to socialise and share stories.
A good coffee shop can become the centre of a community and this appealed to me greatly. After a period of working in this coffee shop, I was offered the opportunity to buy the business and started my own cart serving people in Parramatta. The hours were long and the work was demanding, but I quickly learned the key steps of operating my own business, even if it was a relatively humble beginning. My ethos then with my small cart was the same as it is now; I wanted to give my customers a brilliant experience, not only with the coffee I served but also how they were treated by my staff. Soon, I was expanding and opening other coffee businesses in Sydney, and my brothers travelled from Israel to join the business and help me. There are growing pains involved in any business, especially if it grows as quickly as ours did. A crucial learning early in our journey was that as a business, we were only as good as the team that we hired. If we didn’t invest in our teams, we would fail as a business completely.
We were asked on several occasions if we would consider franchising our business. In each case, our answer was an emphatic no. We were put off by the high levels of bureaucracy and fees involved for any potential franchisee. However, this all changed in 2009, when we met our friend Tal Avni. Together, we started to think differently about the franchise model. What if we could give people an opportunity of owning a franchise with all of the positive aspects and none of the negatives? It was a tall order, but we persisted. We wanted to provide a supportive model for our franchisees that would ultimately benefit our whole team, without any prohibitive fees or bureaucracy often associated with owning a franchise.
We created the Fibonacci Coffee brand to stand for quality and a brilliant experience, regardless of the store that you enter into. I understand that working in our industry is not easy and there is an impetus on each owner to create a supportive environment for their team. We are passionate about creating opportunities not only for young Australians, but also the older workforce who may have been overlooked in employment previously.
A key facet of Fibonacci is how we look after our staff, and in turn we expect our franchisees to support them. The hospitality industry is founded on talented teams. Whether you have one coffee shop or a hundred, you will come unstuck if you do not have a talented and indeed committed team. How can we expect our teams to deliver amazing experiences for our customers if we are neglecting them? At every level of our business, we listen to our team and franchise owners and work hard to make sure they feel supported. Without a motivated and committed team, Fibonacci Coffee would not be able to operate at any level.
When you’re running a business it’s inevitable that there will be failures along the way and my 18 years in the industry has taught me that the learning process continues every single day. We like to share our experience with our staff and franchisees and also hear their thoughts on how we can continue to improve as a business.
We have set ambitious targets for Fibonacci – our first Victoria and Western Australia stores will be open by the end of this year and we want to open 150 stores across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. We currently employ 25 local people in our head office and 100 local people in our franchises, we are hoping to increase this number substantially with our planned franchises. Fibonacci is growing rapidly and we need to make sure that our high standards are maintained. One bad experience in any store from a customer can damage your brand irrevocably.
We have used the Australian Government’s immediate deductions for small businesses to buy essential equipment that will not only make our teams’ lives that bit easier, but ensure that every cup of coffee served at Fibonacci is almost perfect, wherever it is in Australia. We were never going to grow without the best possible equipment for our franchises and Australian Government support was a way to fund this without reducing investment in other key areas like staff. We have purchased ovens, coffee machines and display fridges for all of our franchises. We want all of our teams to feel pride when they come into work every day, and we have been able to achieve this with our new equipment.
Small businesses with a turnover less than $10 million can purchase assets costing less than $20,000 each for their business and deduct the full amount immediately from their income, reducing their tax burden for that year. In our case, we used the equipment to make sure that 
our customers and staff were being given the best possible experience in all of our stores and to fuel our growth. It is essential for every small business owner in Australia to understand that there is support available. When running a franchise business, it is impossible to do it alone, and using you can find out what support is available for your business. 
We are proud of the success of each Fibonacci store, but not only for their sales figures. We are proud that some of our staff have been with us for nearly a decade and have gone on to create highly successful careers within our organisation. Our initial scepticism on the franchise model has been eradicated as we have seen our team expand and their skills grow in each of our stores.
Our business continues to grow – we are inundated with enquiries from potential franchisees. The energy and enthusiasm I see when I meet potential franchisees reminds me of my first days with my first coffee business. If they share our passion and commitment to providing an incredible experience for their team and customers, then we are always excited to hear more.
We are ready to bring the Fibonacci brand throughout Australia, and are excited to bring our talented team and our loyal customers along on the journey.
Boaz Keeda, Fibonacci Coffee
Contact details:
0404 473 564