Coffee palace rising to the top
WARWICK'S Zarraffas branch has gone from an empty shop to coffee royalty since it opened early this year, even earning the nickname the "Palace" of all franchises.
The shop is gearing up for its first year celebrations in January, where it will mark 12 months of brewing quality coffee for Warwick residents.
Store supervisor Chloe Grant said the store - which was the fifth in Australia to include a drive-through - would put on a variety of activities to bring people together for the birthday.
"There are talks of getting a jumping castle and face-painting," she said.
"We're going to have it in the back car park, and it will be pretty much turned into a mini-circus!"
The store began serving food and coffee January 6 this year, but was officially opened January 10.
Miss Grant said their first year of operation couldn't have been better.
"It's been much better than we expected - we weren't really sure how we'd go," she said.
"The response from the local community has been fantastic. We know about 80% of our local customers and what their favourite orders are.
"We've also got a lot of tourists coming through."
The out-of-town rush was early in the morning, Miss Grant said, where people on their way through would stop in first thing to get a morning pick-me-up.
"Usually there are people knocking on the door at 4.55am.
"They consist of tradies but also we get so many travellers - and not just on the weekends but during the week."
Miss Grant said the store's success earned them the name of the "Palace" among all Zarraffas stores.
She said the name was given to them in particular for the high number of drive-through customers.
"We have a lot of potential franchisers come and have a look at our store to see how well it's doing," she said.
"We've had quite a few come through that are thinking about opening their own franchise with drive-through."
Owned by mother-daughter pair Tracey and Danielle Slater, the 25 or so employees say the group "feels like a family".
"It really feels like that, and it sounds corny to say so but it's nice," Miss Grant said.
"We ensure everyone supports each other and gets on well, and the whole shop works better for it.
"We've got a good system in place and it's a very family feel."
Miss Grant said the only negative to their first year, when the shop was broken into and money was stolen, but it helped bring the team together more.
Asked what Zarraffas Warwick will concentrate on in the next 12 months, Miss Grant said they'd "keep doing what we're doing".
"We're really proud of what we've done so far and we're looking forward to another successful year," she said.
"I think the key to our success is the quality product we serve.
"A lot of other coffee shops serve sub-standard coffee beans, but ours are roasted and processed and are 100% Arabica beans.
"It's definitely the product that sets us apart and makes a difference."
During the festive season, Zarraffas will remain open from 5am to 9pm every day, except Christmas Day.