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The race for a share of New Zealand’s coffee consumption is brewing. A growing number of franchise brands are entering the country’s coffee shop scene, hoping to attract customers from independent coffee shops, established chains and global coffee companies. The Black and White Coffee Cartel is one of them. The brand started as a cafe in central Christchurch in 2015 by Bink Bowler and now has 14 branches, including one in Auckland. Two more are currently open, in Ashburton and Timaru, with more planned for later this year.

Tony Yin, who owns the Black and White franchise business with partners including former All Black member Reuben Thorne, said he planned to open up to five cafes a year and set out ambitious expansion plans after acquiring Bowler in mid-2020 plan.

He said the pandemic slowed their initial growth, but they are making up for lost time. “We’re still focused on the local New Zealand market, but maybe in the next year or two we’ll look at Australia, or maybe China or Hong Kong.” A more cautious growth model is Sierra Cafe, which started in Auckland’s Ponsonby and now has a store in the North The island has 19 branches. The cafe has its own app. Sierra plans to open more stores in Auckland and Wellington, as well as expand into the South Island. Senior operations manager Adrian Brown said the company was considering a site in Christchurch before the pandemic, but given the economic downturn it preferred to buy the existing cafe group.

“Points of sale that are close to each other are best positioned to leverage resources, supplies and support.” He described competition in the cafe market as “ridiculous” because money was made more through capital gains than sales.

Brown said challenges include staffing, attracting and retaining younger customers, and that communities are turning their backs on branded cafes in favor of boutique restaurants because of the flow of money. Both Black and White and Sierra compete with established New Zealand franchise Robert Harris, which has 20 stores across the country and sells 2.4 million cups of coffee a year; Coffee Culture started in Christchurch and currently has 19 cafes, mainly in Southern region of the island. Australian chains in the market include Coffee Club with 63 franchised stores in New Zealand, Colombus Coffee with 75 franchised stores, Muffin Break (33 stores), Jamaica Blue, Gloria Jeans and Hudsons (now owned by Emirates Group ). Other brands include PJs from the US, Esquires from Canada and Illy from Italy.

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