US Entrepreneur brings thriving Coffee Concept from Australia Cafe2U wants to grow franchisee network from Central Oregon By Jordan Novet / The Bulletin If Lee Johns has his way, in five years at least 1,000 Cafe2U vans will be delivering high-end coffee to consumers across the United States.
The nationís first, sporting bright red paint, coffee bean graphics and the company logo, began making deliveries in Bend in September.Johns, president of Cafe2U Inc., believes the company is the first in the country to employ a mobile coffee business model.
The companyís drivers travel to customers, rather than wait for them to show up at a bricks-and-mortar cafť, and brew up fresh drinks from a machine in the van.And itís not just drip coffee the drivers peddle.ďIt is a premium gourmet coffee, a darker, full-bodied, rich coffee,Ē Johns said, adding that itís espresso-based.
The price of a drink ranges from $2 to $4, depending on size and style.Johns, 53, does not credit himself with coming up with the concept. He is no longtime coffee expert. For years he and his wife published real estate magazines in Bend.Earlier this year, Johns and the companyís Portland-based CEO traveled to Australia to learn how Cafe2U International conducts business and makes coffee.
They returned with plenty of information ó and the rights to set up Cafe2U franchises in the United States under an independent company.Now the small core of employees working in Bendís NorthWest Crossing are promoting opportunities to manage or own independent franchises, which Johnsí company oversees and markets.They have already started operations in Bend and Riverside, Calif. Seattle and Portland are next. Visiting business parks and other places where many people can take breaks is encouraged.
In the next few months, Lee said he would like to open a training facility in Bend for all new American franchise owners, to avoid sending each one to Australia to learn the Cafe2U way. Itís possible the company could also open a more traditional coffee shop in Central Oregon. Q: What was the experience like, to go to Australia? A: We had a fabulous experience in Australia. We were completely ... more than amazed at the franchise systems and professionalism that Cafe2U had installed. ... Thereís a system for this system, and why a lot of franchises are successful is because they had very solid systems in effect. Q: Isnít there a special Mercedes-Benz van thatís used in Australia? A: Thatís correct. The Mercedes-Benz Vito is used in Australia, and here weíre using the Ford Transit Connect. Q: And why was that decision made? A: The Mercedes-Benz Vito is not available here. And, plus, itís America ó itís Ford. Itís a very economical model. Itís more affordable. And it has that little European look to it, too. Q: And you want to preserve that? A: Yeah, we do. And so far itís performing beautifully. Q: Is it the same physical setup? A: Everything is basically the same. Itís just fitted in a different model. Q: How else does the American model differ from that in other countries? A: No other differences. Weíre following the successful Australia model, other than the different vehicle. ... And the food offerings are American. Q: What are the food products?
A: The food products are sandwiches, cakes, cookies, yogurts ó the usual coffee food fare.