Two things the Coffee Club won’t succeed without
QUEENSLAND coffee pioneer The Coffee Club needs to extend itself beyond store and menu makeovers and employ 'hipster' baristas and dump its "corporate-esque" uniforms if it really wants to lure Millennials, says a marketing expert.
The Coffee Club, which is owned by Minor DKL Food Group, is undergoing a major revamp that includes new-look cups and brighter in-store colours as well as a modernised logo to be launched in February.
One of the first outlets to be given a makeover was the chain's inaugural cafe at Eagle Street Pier which opened in 1989.
Minor DKL Food Group CEO Nick Bryden said the aim has been to capture millennial families, but QUT Business School professor Gary Mortimer said, while it's all a step in the right direction, more needs to be done.
He said the younger generation are more demanding than the ones before them and were averse to shopping and dining at large franchise chains.
"Gen Z, Gen Y and Millennials are definitely seeking a more authentic experience," Mr Mortimer said.
"The art though is employing the right team members and this is a paradigm shift for The Coffee Club to move away from corporate-esque styled black uniforms.
"They need to have, dare I say it, the hipster barista that connects with the younger audience."
The slight change in The Coffee Club's direction comes in their 30th year.
The cafe chain started in Brisbane in 1989, the same year another Queensland-founded chain Hog's Breath Cafe, now known as Hog's Australia's Steakhouse, opened in Airlie Beach.
Both franchises have had their challenges in staying relevant recent years in the face of store closures.
A number of Coffee Clubs have shut over the past 14 months, including Petrie Terrace, Wilston and Sherwood.
Hog's Breath has also reduced its Brisbane footprint with Petrie Terrace and Indooroopilly closing while the Aspley store has been reduced in size.
Across Australia, eight have ceased trading over the past 12 months including Coolangatta and two New Zealand outlets have called it a day.
Hog's Breath CEO Ross Worth declined to comment but said in an interview earlier this year that, "it's unquestionably the toughest environment we've seen in our thirty year history."
"In addition to a decrease in spending, we've also had to adapt to completely new customer eating habits with the arrival of Uber Eats and other food delivery services."
Mr Mortimer said at least Hog's Breath had survived where others had failed like imported steak restaurant chains brands such as Lone Star Tavern and The Keg.
He said Hog's Breath was built on being a cheap casual dining experience, but that was no longer the case.
"There were a couple of other mobs up here, that are gone now, Lone Star Steakhouse and The Keg, and they failed because … the costs became challenging," he said.
"Hog's Breath was very successful when it kicked off because it was casual dining and cheaper than a restaurant but it's become expensive.
"We've also seen discretionary spending fall and people want a casual dining experience that doesn't break the bank."
Mr Bryden told The Courier-Mail that they had three specific goals in mind to ensure The Coffee Club remained a strong brand and relevant for all consumers.
He said they had invested heavily in their digital platform and their new refits included wireless charging stations for mobile phones.
"We set out to do three things - transform the brand, adding to our digital layer and building our culture with franchisees.
"Those three things have led to regaining that younger audience while at the same time supporting our current loyal customers.
"We now it's working because we have growth now in terms of sales."