The 10 biggest coffee franchises in the Australian market


Coffee is one of the go-to categories for many considering a small business in Australia.

Ever wondered about what brands are making the biggest impact? 

It should help your research too...

The 10 Biggest Coffee Franchises Franchise Buyer

We really love coffee in Australia. And as a result, we also love it as an option for getting into business too - that's why coffee franchises are often so popular.

But, as we've discovered, finding data on who's who, and their attributes amongst the swathe of coffee franchises, can be a challenge. You really need to understand the broader market of competition if you are considering investing in any coffee franchise.

We created this list to help make your research and decision making process easier. We'll update as the market changes, and as we get more information for you.

1. McDonald's / McCafe - 1,000+ locations (AU)

The McDonald's McCafe concept started in Melbourne in 1993. Since then it has been adopted globally with great success. While challenging to pin point precise McCafe numbers, restaurant numbers are in excess of 1,000 in Australia, and a restaurant without a cafe, or at the least espresso coffee representation - you just don't find.

  • CEO = Andrew Gregory
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1971 (first in Australia)
  • Investment = $2mil (approx) 
  • Initial Franchise fee = $60,000
  • Ongoing Fees = 4% advertising fee & 5% royalty fee & monthly rental fixed base+
  • Training = 12 months (min) (full time, unpaid)

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 80,591,352 (global) followers
  • Instagram = 159K followers
  • Twitter = 32.5k followers
  • LinkedIn = 1,230,277 (global) followers

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2. The Coffee Club - 267 locations (AU)

The Coffee Club has re-branded in recent years to refresh the concept that needed modernisation into the market. With a larger store size (kitchen and seating areas) than many of it's competitors, the business has always been strong in it's menu breadth and rotation of new items and celebrity backed promotions that are appropriate to it's target audience. Owned by Minor DKL Food Group.

  • CEO = Nick Bryden (of Group)
  • Headquarters located = South Brisbane, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1998
  • Investment = $450K - $750k
  • Initial Franchise fee = Included in investment
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 6% royalty fee
  • Training = 6 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 104,290 followers
  • Instagram = 18K followers
  • Twitter = 244 followers
  • LinkedIn = 1,636 followers

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3. Donut King - 250+ locations (AU)

Still very much a go-to 'treat' option in the market, the brand has remained relatively strong in recent years, as other competitors shrunk further in comparison.

The brand's heavy focus on shopping centre locations has been both effective, and posed challenges. Going forward like many food retailers, managing rent costs will be even more important. Owned by Retail Food Group.

  • CEO = Andrew Badcock (National GM)
  • Headquarters located = Southport, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1981
  • Investment = $280K - $380K
  • Initial Franchise fee = $50k
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 7% franchise service fee 
  • Training = 4-5 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 232,720 followers
  • Instagram = 38.7k followers
  • Twitter = 298 followers
  • LinkedIn = 77 followers

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4. Muffin Break - 210 locations

Has carved a clear niche in it's market and embraces it's older demographic appeal. Of interest in it's expansion strategy, and exposing it to younger demographics, it also has an agreement with a children's play centre brand (CROCS), to place a cafe in every play centre that they open. Again, like others focused in shopping centres, going forward, managing rent costs will be important.The brand is owned by Foodco.

  • CEO = Natalie Brennan (GM) and Serge Infanti (Group MD)
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1998
  • Investment = From $250K - $500k
  • Initial Franchise fee = Included in investment
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 7% royalty
  • Training = 4+ weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 210,660 followers
  • Instagram = 5.5K followers
  • Twitter = NA
  • LinkedIn = 327 followers

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5. Gloria Jean's - 200+ locations (AU)

After once having significantly higher location numbers, the brand has receded over recent years, yet still remains a key player in the market. A significant re-branding away from their nostalgic look of many years prior has arguably not helped the brand. It also appears that this re-brand has not been consistently adopted across the network. 

With a balance of stand-alone, and in shopping centre locations, rent management is again important going forward. Owned by Retail Food Group.

  • CEO = Charmain Cheand & Megan Tan (MD)
  • Headquarters located = Castlehill, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1979 (founded)
  • Investment = $380K - $600K
  • Initial Franchise fee = $50,000
  • Ongoing Fees = 2% marketing fee & 6% royalty fee
  • Training = 6+ weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 342,946 followers
  • Instagram = 12.6K followers
  • Twitter = 7,246 followers
  • LinkedIn = 2,838 followers

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6. Jamaica Blue - 119 locations* 

This brand looks refreshed and back with a great look and feel to it. Looks a nice balance of coffee and fresh food, in a menu range that looks not too much and not too little.

Again, like others focused in shopping centres, going forward, managing rent costs will be important.The brand is owned by Foodco.

  • CEO = Matthew Williams (GM) and Serge Infanti (Group MD)
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1995
  • Investment = $200K - $600K+
  • Initial Franchise fee = Include in investment range
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 6% royalty fee
  • Training = 6 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 79,890 followers
  • Instagram = 5.3K followers
  • Twitter = NA
  • LinkedIn =  183 followers

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*Number correct as at Feb 19

7. Xpresso Delight - 100+ locations (AU)

A different addition to this list with it being a coffee vending machine business placed into workplaces. Designed to focus on franchise owner flexibility rather than having a fixed premises location, payment is per cup. The lowest cost franchise entry onto this list.

  • CEO = Stephen Spitz (Co-founder)
  • Headquarters located = Gold Coast, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 2003 (established)
  • Investment = from $49,500
  • Initial Franchise fee = TBC
  • Ongoing Fees = Royalty per cup sold (15 cents)
  • Training = 4 weeks initial

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 688 followers
  • Instagram = 29 followers
  • Twitter = 86 followers
  • LinkedIn = 190 followers

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8. Cafe2U - 100 locations (AU)

A mobile cafe business working a territory with coffee, specialty drinks and some snacks. Was highly prominent in the earliest years of the concept with fewer competitors, but it's success no doubt attracted many others. Numbers have receded from it's peak. Owned by Retail Food Group.

  • CEO = TBC 
  • Headquarters located = Southport, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 2000
  • Investment = $130k+
  • Initial Franchise fee = Included in investment
  • Ongoing Fees = Fixed fees
  • Training = 4 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 5,527 followers
  • Instagram = 294 followers
  • Twitter = 1,493 followers
  • LinkedIn = 194 followers

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9. Soul Origin - 99 locations

A business with an on-trend, high energy feel with it's fresh food and coffee offer. Has an innovative fresh food production approach that removes a lot of food preparation work and time for the franchise owner and team. 

The kiosk approach to the locations keeps some construction costs down. The brand's heavy focus on shopping centre locations has been effective for a period of growth, and posed challenges more recently. Going forward like many food retailers, managing rent costs will be even more important. 

  • CEO = Adam Neill (COO)
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 2014
  • Investment = $300K - $400K
  • Initial Franchise fee = TBC
  • Ongoing Fees = TBC marketing fee & 9% royalty fee
  • Training = 6 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 40,566 followers
  • Instagram = 1.9K followers
  • Twitter = NA
  • LinkedIn = NA

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10. Michel's Patisserie - 94 locations

The business has very much receded from it's peak, where on some searches online recording 300+ locations still. ere are some of the information we gathered for your research.

The brand's heavy focus on shopping centre locations has been effective for a period, and posed challenges, as did additional competition for the concept. Going forward like many food retailers, managing rent costs will be even more important. Owned by Retail Food Group.

  • CEO = TBC
  • Headquarters located = Southport, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1988 (commenced)
  • Investment = $320K - $400K
  • Initial Franchise fee = $50k
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 7% service fee
  • Training = 4-5 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 40,566 followers
  • Instagram = 1.9K followers
  • Twitter = NA
  • LinkedIn = NA

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11. Zarraffa's Coffee - 92 locations

We added an 11th as we think this is a brand to watch.

This brand is very much a QLD success story. The vast majority of its locations are still in QLD (84), with an effort to expand out of the state again now firmly in play. Both NSW and WA are active areas of interest for expansion currently.

The brands' drive-thru executions have been a key focus for the business, and many of the locations being taken are focused on this capability.

  • CEO = Kenton Campbell (MD)
  • Headquarters located = Eagleby, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1999
  • Investment = From $750k (drive-thru)
  • Initial Franchise fee = TBC
  • Ongoing Fees = 3% marketing fee & 8% royalties
  • Training = 10+ weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 47,658 followers
  • Instagram = 9K followers
  • Twitter = NA
  • LinkedIn = 993 followers

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Note: And of course, please contact the brands direct for the most up to date information, as while we've done our best to be as accurate as possible, we know some of this information can be a moving target at times unfortunately!