THE COFFEE CLUB GROWS OUT OF THE BOX
Written on the 26 June 2014 by Karen Rickert
THE Coffee Club has taken a fresh approach to expansion plans, launching Australia’s first ever franchised coffee stores within shipping containers.
Setting up shop at Brisbane Domestic Airport, it opened two stores at the Qantas and Virgin terminals on June 14 – with a third store to open next month.
The man behind the idea, George Drivas (pictured), began working for the company at just 14 years of age and climbed his way up the corporate ladder.
Now 25, Drivas will operate the three locations in addition to his store at the departures terminal at Brisbane International Airport.
He tells Brisbane Business News the concept was created to suit the location, taking four to six weeks to construct.
“When we negotiated with Brisbane Airport we only had a short-term lease, so we had to think about what we could put there that was portable,” Drivas says.
“We can move them around to each area after a few years and it’s also a funky little idea to put a coffee shop in a container.”
The stores have generated plenty of interest, which Drivas hopes to channel into a solid return on his investment after a financial outlay that had to meet stringent airport guidelines.
“We’ve had an excellent response from airport staff to passengers coming past; they’ve all taken photos of it and given me positive feedback on using a shipping container,” Drivas says.
The two shipping container stores are the first of their kind in the state, featuring sustainable green roofs with vegetation growing on top.
The Coffee Club director John Lazarou says the idea was innovative and he looks forward to expanding the business this way.
“We pride ourselves on giving franchisees the systems and infrastructure they need to develop their business further,” Lazarou says.
“George knows these systems inside and out and goes above and beyond to fulfil The Coffee Club’s promise by providing our customers with good food, great service and excellent coffee.”
Drivas has grown his team from 40 employees to more than 100 with the new stores, with retention high on his list of his priorities.
“Team morale is a really big thing for me, it keeps me motivated as well – just seeing happy faces on the staff.
“The way I treat my staff is the way they treat customers. If my staff are happy where they’re employed, they’ll work harder as well.”
Drivas is busy finalising the third store, set to open mid-July at the Brisbane Airport Service Centre.