Brewing Success: The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Franchise Journey

Yousif Abdulghani, Chief Development Officer at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, started on his franchise journey three decades ago as a McDonald’s franchisee in Bahrain, acquiring valuable insights into the dynamics of successful franchisor-franchisee relationships.

With The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® born in Southern California in 1963, a brand passionately committed to uniting devoted customers with thoughtfully handcrafted products, let’s delve into this interview to unravel the secrets behind his remarkable journey and success.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

My experience in franchising dates back 30 years ago, when I started as a franchisee of McDonald’s in my home country, Bahrain. After a few years, I moved to the franchisor’s side and have progressed throughout my career in different organizations either on the franchisee or the franchisor side. This has given me a deep understanding of the franchisee-franchisor relationship and what is required to build a strong and healthy partnership to ensure mutual success.

2. Tell us about the history of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® was founded in Southern California in1963 by Herb & Mona Hyman who traveled to Europe and discovered how rich and complex a good cup of coffee should be. They decided to open a small store in Los Angeles, California to sell gourmet beans that came from places like Costa Rica, Colombia & Kenya. From modest beginnings, The Coffee Beans & Tea Leaf® brand has evolved to become a modern, global specialty coffee and tea house that inspires new experiences through different flavors from around the world.

Today, the brand is owned today by the Jollibee Group of Companies and is headquartered in Singapore.

3. What differentiates The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® from competitors?

In the highly competitive coffee and tea landscape, what sets The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® apart is this – “We serve the Best Specialty Coffee & Tea at the Highest Quality. And we Welcome the World with Care in every Cup.”

We consistently offer the best of coffee and tea in one experience—from the finest sources to the most delicious preparations. From the highest quality sourcing and roasting to preparation, we take pride in doing things the right way, to the highest of standards. For example, we individually, small batch roast our beans to bring out the unique, original flavor of every bean.

We bring together global flavors and stories, sparking curiosity about our world with every cup. Equally important is our commitment to community. We value the people and places we source from around the world and do our part to ensure they thrive.

4. What are the essential qualities you look for in a franchisee?

We are looking for like-minded partners who are passionate about our brand and share our values and vision of becoming one of the top global specialty coffee & tea brands. Beyond business experience, the necessary capital and market knowledge, we value a partner who is willing to be hands-on or build a strong organizational capability to operate the franchise and to follow our proven operating systems. Above all, we love growing with a partner who is committed to excellence and integrity and can’t wait to share our coffee & tea with the world.

5. How is The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf leveraging its franchise network to accelerate growth?

We believe in a shared vision of success: one where our brand flourishes alongside the growth of our valued partners. And we put this philosophy into action by equipping our franchisees with training and ongoing support in all areas of the cafe business to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to thrive. This includes marketing resources and tools to help franchisees personalize their local marketing efforts and connect with their communities, café design, site selection assistance, access to industry experts, and so.

We see our franchisees as partners; and we’re committed to their long-term success and invest in their growth alongside our own. And we continue to make key investments in areas like product innovation, technology, marketing and café development to fuel future growth.

6. What are The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s plans for expansion into new markets?

We’re always looking to share our passion for handcrafted beverages and unique coffee and tea experiences with new communities across the globe. We carefully evaluate potential markets based on factors like consumer preferences, economic growth, development potential and alignment with our brand values and we continue to see great potential in the Middle East in markets such as the UAE and Egypt as well as in other parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand.

7. Where do you see The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in the next five years?

Our goal is to be among the global Top 5 coffee & tea brands in the next five years. We’ll achieve this through international expansion, continuous product innovation, and building strong customer connections. Expect strategic cafe openings, exciting new beverages and products, as well tech-driven personalization. It’s not going to be without challenges but by staying true to our core values, embracing agility and adapting to market shifts, and listening to our customers we’re confident that we can lead this industry and be recognized for quality, innovation and our deep connection with our communities and customers.

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