What started as a love affair in the coffee capital of the world over two decades ago, has evolved into one of Australia’s most successful coffee franchise chains for Zarraffa’s Coffee founder Kenton Campbell.
Celebrating a 20 year milestone in one of the world’s most competitive industries this week, the American ex-pat is thrilled to have a continued love for, and business growth in, people’s daily grind.
“It has been 20 years this week since I started in the coffee industry in Seattle USA, and what an amazing journey it has been,” said Kenton.
Kenton remembers fondly the feeling of serving people their daily caffeine needs from his cart, brightening their day with a bit of chatter and a cup of java.
“It doesn’t feel all that long ago when I was at the beginning of my coffee journey pushing around my first coffee cart and bringing home a grand earning of just $45.00.”
The move to Australia in 1995 and starting up Queensland-based Zarraffa’s Coffee from a $9,000 personal loan is a true Aussie battler tale.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Zarraffa’s Coffee as a brand and of its evolution to date. We started out operating a wholesale coffee business on the Gold Coast 17 years ago that has evolved today into a 60-strong, franchised coffee outlet business.”
“It continues to be our daily pursuit at Zarraffa’s to keep our product and service number one, to ensure maximum taste and convenience for our customers that rely on their daily coffee.”
Kenton said his number one emotion when reflecting on his journey to date is gratitude.
“Ultimately I need thank our franchisees and staff who work diligently on and in this business. Many people say you can’t run a successful business without good staff and good product and this is absolutely true.”
“It is also thanks to the loyalty of our customers; the ones who keep the love and passion for Zarraffa’s going, that I am very appreciative of. Without them, we would still be just one store in one shopping centre.”
Kenton believes the evolution of convenience coffee and the move to drive-thru and other non-traditional operations are the key to his renewed energy year after year and why the business keeps expanding.
“All through the years, despite the challenges of a growing business, my love for the coffee industry has never been stronger. Moving with the needs and demands of our customers, while supporting our franchisees has never been more important as we expand our territories.”
The opening of five stores in Western Australia in late 2012 and the prospect of reaching 70 stores by the end of 2013 means the company has no plans to slow down yet.
Reflecting on the journey so far, Kenton still pinches himself that the one-time coffee cart operator now oversees an Australian franchising success story, spanning both coasts of the country.
“It is thanks to the loyalty of our customers and the faith in our brand that we have been able to grow this business nationally, most recently into WA. My focus in the coming years is an ongoing commitment to our product and service standards; to ensure ‘our giraffes’ continually stand proud.”
“The business has reached new heights and I recognise that it has become bigger than me, it has changed my life and that of my family’s, as well as that of our partners - our franchisees - who have the means and tools to make their business dreams come true.”
“At the end of the day this is what fuels me and is what will lay the foundation for the next decade...or two, to come.”