Icons® Coffee Couture is a forward-thinking and health-conscious lifestyle coffee shop chain. They have been making headlines for many interesting reasons. This includes serving the world’s most expensive coffee, hosting the biggest dessert party and being awarded the chef of the month title by Caterer Middle East 2019. This vegan-friendly coffee shop has heads turning in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Germany. In this interview with the Managing Director of Icons Coffee Couture -Elena Weber talks about her guilt-free cuisine. The German model turned entrepreneur knew exactly how to take her knowledge and invest it into a sustainable business venture.
1. How did you enter in the franchise business?
It was our clear vision from the beginning to build Icons as a franchise in order to create a scalable brand that can impact lives and be expanded around the world.
2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?
I got inspired through my time as a fashion model and my desire for sweets and treats I couldn’t eat. During a trip to Argentina, I discovered stevia, which is a 100% natural and calorie-free sweetener. At that time it wasn’t well known and it gave me the inspiration for guilt-free sweets which became the heart of our Coffee Franchise Chain Icons.
3. What inspired the brand name?
The word ‘Icons’ is inspired by the belief that every human being is full of endless potential, dreams and possibilities to achieve the outstanding. Every customer of ours is an ‘Icon’. We are just here to empower your body and mind to achieve your dreams and ‘make life remarkable’.
‘Coffee Couture’ is inspired by the word Haute Couture and my background in the fashion industry and represents the lifestyle part of the concept and everything we do.
4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?
5.What makes your brand different from your competitors?
One of our main differentiation points is our focus on value for money. We provide organic, high-quality ingredients freshly prepared in store for the same price point as our ready-made competition which our customers can enjoy in our more extravagant looking cafe’s. On top, we emphasize on the latest health trends and have many options to suit different lifestyles such as sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb and vegan.
6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?
– Business Experience and Strong skills
– Financial Qualifications, depending on the franchise model
– Share our Vision, Lifestyle and Values
7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?
It depends if it is a single unit, area or master franchisee as well as the country. But usually between 6 months to 2 years.
8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?
One of the major challenges was in the beginning to find good locations. Especially when the brand name is still new, access to prime locations is difficult while it is one of the major success points. Location. Location. Location, no other word is repeated 3 times in almost every business book talking about F&B.
8.1. What is your best achievement?
Finding great people to work with and wonderful Master Franchise Partners to make this journey remarkable.
9. How does your business day start?
With an excellent cup of coffee 😉
10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?
There are so many beautiful moments. And signing with WFA was a great moment, looking back on all the excellent Master Franchise partners we signed with through the network.
11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
Being part of the daily coffee culture, not only in GCC but Europe and Asia. Spreading happiness and inspiration with each cup of coffee.
12. Any tip for the reader who wants to be in the franchisee business?
Focus on the system. It’s not about the best burger or the best coffee. A qualitative product is only the base! But the quality of your system will be one of the true challenges and success factors.
Source: The Franchise Talk