Full steam ahead for Degani expansion

Born in the late 1990s, Degani quickly became a leader in Melbourne’s burgeoning café scene.

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According to the brand’s National Franchise Development Manager Martin Hesse. “At Degani, we often had enquiry from interested parties that have seen our cafes in Victoria and want to replicate that in their home state,” Martin says. “We now have a presence in Queensland and are soon to open multiple sites in NSW and also our first in Western Australia.” Martin says the brand did not directly choose to expand into these two states, rather the decision was made for them. “Obviously with our success and rapid growth in Victoria, this was always on the cards and part of Degani’s expansion strategy, but the market beat us to it and with many people from all around Australia visiting Melbourne and experiencing the café scene, we were soon taking enquiry from all states,” he says. “In fact we also get a lot of enquiry from people who have visited from overseas and liked what they saw in one of the many Degani cafes in Melbourne.” 

Point of difference

Martin says Degani’s point of difference is what has seen the brand succeed since its establishment, offering something new to both consumers and franchisees. “Degani is not a heat and serve franchise offering, which seems to attract those who need assistance and support but also those who want to put their own passion and soul into the business,” he says. “At Degani every menu is unique and every Degani is tailor-built, so no two are exactly the same. It’s this flexibility that attracts interest. Low entry costs and royalties are an added bonus.  “Competition is when your customers can’t tell you apart from your competitors. When buying a franchise, my customers want a clear point of difference and we definitely deliver that. “Degani has a more European feel. We actually encourage diversity and the inclusion of the franchisee’s culture into the menu. We aren’t about milkshake-sized coffee cups – we are about quality and the feeling you are eating a dish that someone actually cared about creating. You won’t get that in a robotic franchise system.” Training and support is not offered to Degani franchisees, it is insisted, according to Martin, who says he expects to be inundated with interest from potential franchisees once the NSW and WA franchises are up and running.

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“At Degani we take great care in ensuring that our franchisees are capable of operating a successful café,” he says. “Our training program is run over five weeks and covers both theory and practical sessions. We also include in-store training, which everyone loves. If you want to learn to ride a bike then the best way is to actually get on a bike. “We offer different business models to cater for different budgets and locations. Every site is different, every store is different and every franchisee has different requirements. To be successful at what we do we have to be flexible.” It’s all in the attitude when it comes to selecting the right franchisee, according to Martin, who says service is just as important as the product you are offering. “We look for passion – that is the key to success,” he says. “We can train the skills needed but we can’t train attitude. A good support network helps – especially when establishing the business as you will need to put in long hours. Customer focus and service experience is also important. “People may come into a Degani for the awesome coffee or a lovely meal, but quite often it’s how they were treated and the service they received that keeps them coming back and recommending that café to friends.”