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“We’ll be close to 100 sites within three years”

“We’ll be close to 100 sites within three years”

Drop’s mission is to be the UK’s leading virtual on-demand wine cellar, with a national footprint and within-the-hour availability. CEO Bobby Watkins explains all

When did you start the business and why?

We started Drop on the back of what seemed like a very simple question: how can it be so easy to order great food, a taxi or a bunch of flowers on demand from a smartphone and yet be so difficult to do with great wine?

We wanted to be able to access the wines we loved - wines made well, by independent and independently minded producers, wines with a little magic, a little something to talk about - without spending an age on a website or in a wine shop.

And since it seemed no one else was going to do it, we thought we’d better do it ourselves.

Why have you decided to franchise the concept?

Drop’s mission is to be the UK’s leading virtual on-demand wine cellar, with a national footprint and within-the-hour availability in towns and cities across the UK.

Franchising the concept enables us to bring this great service to more people quicker, while empowering entrepreneurs across the UK through our 20- plus years of experience in the industry, in addition to the buying power, branding and technology infrastructure.

Our customers like to engage with Drop across virtual app, bar and bottle shop formats, so having a franchise partnership network just seems perfect to achieve this across the country.

How are you funding your expansion plans?

We completed a crowdfunding campaign in February 2021, which is being used to build out further features in our app, finance our marketing and develop the team.

The franchise arrangements are bought in partnerships, which help to fuel the growth for the specific areas.

What type of franchisee are you looking to recruit?

We’re wine enthusiasts, business developers and digital pioneers, so are looking for like-minded people to join us.

We’d like all our franchisees to share our passion for looking after customers with great quality wine.

We welcome conversations with interested people, from wine professionals looking to own and manage their own bar, to investors looking to open multiple franchise sites, to more digitally focused parties interested in rolling out the purely logistics/distribution hubs.

How much does the franchise cost and what does a franchisee get for their money?

The upfront franchise fee is £30,000, which includes guidance on the retail set-up and operations, as well as all brand marketing costs.

Additionally, Drop will be responsible for providing the app tech, including back-end stock integration and our customer management system, inventory management and buying at a central level.

Franchisees will have ownership of a wine store and bar, gain access to an exciting wine stock and a curated range of wines available at great prices with a large UK stockholding and receive all the revenue generated by their Drop bar, shop and delivery service in their area.

Can you give us an idea of earnings potential?

The realistic gross revenue is £1 million-plus, depending on the location of the store or bar.

Tell us about your app and the technology behind IT

Available on iOS and Android, the Drop app makes it really simple for anyone to choose great wine. In fact, we like to say that the right wine finds the consumer, rather than the other way round. You can filter based on colour, keywords and price range, with a slider to select where on the scale of rich to light you prefer.

As we progress, more AI features will be integrated, which will use the search and buying history to drive recommendations to the consumer.

You want to open 15 new sites across the south east in the next 12 months. What’s your plan once these have been established?

We will continue to expand across the whole of the UK and are already speaking to potential franchisees in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We think we’ll be close to 100 sites across the UK within three years.

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