Maulik Patel, Cafe2U Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield franchisee, on how lockdown has affected his business
It has been a little short of two years that Maulik has been a Cafe2U franchisee, although he had been in the coffee industry as a Costa Coffee manager of a series of stores. One thing Cafe2U remembers about Maulik when he first started the process of joining is that he didn’t have a driver’s licence, but this wasn’t going to be a ‘sticking point’. He just needed to get on and learn and pass, which thankfully he did. Driving away on the last day of training in a brand new Cafe2U van with only a few hours driving experience from passing his test was a little nervous for us all but let’s fast forward to now.
Maulik’s working day starts at approximately 7:45 am and finishes at 3:30 pm. “However, post lockdown my round is performing better than ever before,” he admits.
His overriding business philosophy is not to give his customers excuses to go elsewhere, so he ensures his coffee is always excellent with lots of products onboard and he likes to have something new to tempt his customers to try out. Also, key to Maulik is providing that perfect excuse for his customers to leave their ‘work’ for five minutes to be appreciated and have some fun and laughter with a Cafe2U barista!
He acknowledges that post lockdown his blue-collar stops have been performing better, so he is concentrating on looking for more opportunities in these kinds of businesses. He feels for office environments, if workers are not working from home, they may be more restricted on leaving the office or more cautious. In some offices, cafes have closed, so when looking for these opportunities, he has managed to pick up a stop which provides 10 to 15 cups a day.
Maulik also believes people are more supportive of local businesses rather than going to chains. He says: “My existing customers come out and support me more than ever.”
He was also certainly appreciated when he was out safely serving key workers during lockdown.
If Maulik’s franchise continues to perform at its current level, he is hoping to not only get married next year but also find a place suitable to live with his wife.