Smart coffee chain, Cofix, allows customers to take a break without breaking the bank 

From Valencia to Yerevan, Cofix customers can find comfort in the fact that there’s always an affordable cup of coffee right around the corner. The brand was first founded in 2013 and quickly achieved market success. From there, the company has grown into a multi-national purveyor of fixed-price refreshments, as Chief Operating Officer, Shaun Lewis, begins: “Cofix is a brand that was born of necessity. The founder of Cofix was an entrepreneur who strongly believed in the value of frugality. One day, at a petrol station, he realized that the money he had in his pocket, the equivalent of about ten euros, was insufficient to pay for a coffee, sandwich, and chewing gum. He reasoned that the prices, while not out of the ordinary in his country, were unreasonably high. This epiphany was the genesis of the idea to create a café concept with low fixed prices. In 2013, the first Cofix stores opened, and all items were priced at one euro. The introduction of this new concept received a swift and robust market response, which quickly led to the brand’s widespread growth. By 2015, we had launched our first franchise stores and, in 2016, we entered our first international market.   

Shaun Lewis“Our growth momentum has not waned and today we operate over 480 stores across six countries. In the ten years since our inception, we have evolved considerably while remaining true to our founding mission: to provide our guests with high-quality coffee and delicious food at fair and affordable prices. This pursuit of simplicity and value underpins every decision that we make as a company – whether for the benefit of our guests, our franchise partners, or our employees.   

“The Cofix of today is very much a technology company at its core, but with ample retail touchpoints to allow us to deliver on our mission for all stakeholders. Our talent acquisition strategy is purpose-driven, aimed at spurring innovation within our company. In practice, this means not only hiring the best and most passionate talent from the food and beverage industry, but also from technology, consumer electronics, big data, and other sectors. This approach achieves the kind of diverse brain trust needed to develop novel solutions to complex B2C, B2B, and B2E challenges. Indeed, some of our best innovations, such as Cofix Flex, might not have come to fruition in a more industry-homogenous team.” 

A future in franchise 

Cofix Flex is essentially a store subscription, which offers an entrepreneur the opportunity to receive control of a smart coffee shop that is completely ready for operation in exchange for a monthly payment. 

“We believe that the future of Cofix is franchising, and we are uniquely positioned to enable entrepreneurs to launch and successfully manage their own cafes,” says Shaun. “We understand that we can generate the most value, for guests and partners alike, by focusing on the brand, product, training, customer experience, and technology stack. Our robust franchise system provides the tools and support that allow partners to focus on what they do best – operating their own stores. Cofix takes care of the rest. 

“During the early years of our operation, most of our stores were company-owned and operated. Today, less than ten percent of our total stores are company-owned while the remaining 90 percent are franchised. We will never become a 100 percent franchised company, because there remain compelling reasons for us to own a small number of our own stores. For instance, we operate a select number of our own stores for R&D purposes and to continuously innovate in the realm of operational and training excellence. Additionally, we often deploy our own stores in new markets to validate the concept and unit economics for the benefit of franchisees. However, transitioning to a franchise-centric model has allowed us to free up capital to reinvest into our brand and retail and technology ecosystem, which benefits company and franchisee alike.”   

Value for money Bread from Cofix bakery

It’s no secret that times are challenging for millions of people across the world. In such a harsh economic climate, Cofix offers an affordable alternative, as Shaun affirms: “More than ever, we are committed to carrying out our brand value promise to our guests throughout the world. Our business performance suggests that today’s tough economic climate reinforces the value proposition of our fixed-price model. During periods of uncertainty and increasing inflation, consumers tend to become more price sensitive. Our concept – which is predicated upon delivering high quality coffee and food, an exceptional store experience, and prices that are simple to understand, fair, and affordable – has always enjoyed wide appeal among more price-sensitive populations and among those who demand strong value for their money.” 

To further underscore Cofix’s commitment to its value promise to guests, the company has recently launched several new B2C initiatives. Shaun explains: “While we understood that we were doing a great job in delivering our brand’s value promise within the quick-service coffee café segment, it became clear that there was a demand for expanded menus and a slightly more upscale dining experience. However, it is critically important for us to maintain a strong relationship among price, quality, and value. Our newest format, Cofix Bakery, was launched last year to address this underserved segment seeking a more premium array of products, a relaxing dine-in experience, and affordability. Our Cofix Bakery stores are typically larger than standard Cofix cafes, offering ample comfortable seating, modern design, and a relaxing in-store atmosphere. These stores feature a premium menu including light meals, freshly baked bread and pastries, desserts, beer and wine, and our renowned coffee-based beverages. Within our Cofix Bakery stores, all of our bread is baked in-store, and we use only the highest-quality 100 percent Arabica beans for our coffee-based beverages.” 

Shaun continues: “We also continue to invest in efforts to provide value to our guests beyond our products and store experience. These efforts, under our initiative ‘Beyond Coffee’, strive to better integrate Cofix into the lifestyles of our guests by focusing on what matters to them. Our Beyond Coffee initiative takes many forms: Cofix Music, a program supporting local musicians by providing them with exposure in our stores and hosting summer concerts to introduce them to our communities; Cofix Art, a program highlighting local artists by displaying their work in our stores and, in some cases, featuring their murals on our walls; Cofix Sport, a program sponsoring sporting events, local teams, and other activities; and, of course, our partnerships and collaborations with other companies and organizations. These partnerships and collaborations range from hyper-local organizations to globally recognized brands such as Xbox, Milka, and Warner Bros.” 

Growth trajectory 

Just ten years after its inception, Cofix has gone from a single location to an internationally recognized brand. Showing no signs of slowing down, the company has major plans for the next five years. As Shaun discusses: “We continue to chart our path forward – one that reflects the new normal, embraces sustainable business practices, and aligns with our core ambition to be a globally recognized, loved, and respected brand. As part of our growth plan, we have renewed our focus on Europe and CIS countries, while committing to serious exploration of non-traditional developing markets such as those in Asia or Africa. In the past year, we finalized construction of our new Training Center at Cofix’s European Headquarters in Warsaw, Poland, and launched stores in new countries such as Spain and Armenia. This year, we plan to launch our network in Serbia and Azerbaijan, and we are in the advanced stages of negotiations with master franchise partners in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mexico, Portugal, and several other countries within the EU. We will continue to develop our operational and support competencies to support expansion far beyond our existing operating footprint. 

“Our conversations with prospective master franchisees across different countries have revealed a shared belief in our vision, further validating our path forward. As we take our next steps into new markets, we’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. With every cup of coffee we brew, every new store we open, and every new community we serve, we are one step closer to realizing our global ambitions,” he concludes.