When it comes to giving back and supporting the community The Coffee Club New Zealand are a shining example in the hospitality industry. They have been actively supporting a range of not for profit, charity and community organisations nationally for over 13 years! Some of these include Kids Can, The SPCA and Make a Wish Foundation just to name a few!
The Coffee Club New Zealand have made this work part of their brand mission and core values, encouraging franchisees to be actively involved with charity and community groups at a regional level.
We sat down with Director and Marketing Manager of The Coffee Club, Andy Lucas to learn more about the work they do in the community and find out what motivates their team to get involved.
Clearly community work and giving back is very important to The Coffee Club (TCC) – what’s the story behind how it all started? And what has motivated TCC to have such a strong presence in this area?
Before bringing The Coffee Club to New Zealand, Brad (Director and Property Manager of TCC) and I were both heavily involved with The Coffee Club in Australia. They too were always committed to supporting charities and not for profit organizations and were very big on giving back to the community. We saw the great work they did in this area and it was something that we felt very strongly about when we brought the brand to New Zealand, that we wanted to be heavily involved in community work and supporting local communities who were also our customers. Since then it’s something that we have naturally continued to be involved with not only because we feel it’s the right thing to do but also it’s an extremely good way to connect our brand with communities and support them with meaningful initiatives.
TCC support a lot of not for profits, charities and community initiatives; when choosing an organisation to work with is there anything specific you look for?
We have always believed that there needs to be an element of commercial benefit, however more importantly than this it’s often a gut feel of supporting and partnering with organisations that do genuinely great work in the community. It probably goes without saying that we have also partnered with organisations that we have a strong sense of affiliation to, for example SPCA because of the great work they do with animals since we are both animal lovers ourselves. As our business has grown and our support financially has increased, we have become better at reviewing where the support goes and how it helps the organisations that we provide financial benefit too and this is something that we always review to make sure we are making a difference in the long run.
Is there a certain organisation close to your heart that you work with?
The two charity organisations that we feel very strongly towards are SPCA and KidsCan. SPCA because we just love animals and KidsCan because we have been with them for such a long time and we see how valuable the work is that they do with children in underprivileged schools.
One of your annual fundraisers which you do with KidsCan is a coffee cup design competition for school children – can you tell me a little about that?
It originally started in 2014 when we were looking for something to put on our take away cups over the Christmas period and we were thinking of ideas to create something a little different, Brad had the idea to ask KidsCan to help come up with the design.
Since then it has evolved and developed into the competition which the kids look forward to every year and now has significant prizes involved for the winners and also highly commended prizes. As it has evolved it’s been so wonderful to see the talent from the children and even more exciting to be able to show that off to the public in such a festive way.
A lot of the time when people think of supporting charity or Not for Profits they go immediately to a monetary donation, but for a lot of hospitality businesses right now this might not seem like an option. Do you have any advice for how these businesses can get involved?
There are absolutely other ways to support, the most obvious is giving your own time. In addition to the financial contribution we make we also get involved heavily with giving our time and asking our team to support with their time towards the charity groups. For example at KidsCan we regularly help with packing food in their warehouse which involves our team taking half a day out. In addition we provide a lot of organisations with gift vouchers for TCC which means we don’t have to come up with a financial contribution immediately but it is a way of giving a product which can at times be used for raffles or other money fundraising opportunities.
Over your years of working with and for the community do you have any significant moments which stand out?
When we run the KidsCan cup competition we need to ring the winners, this involves calling the teacher of the winning child at their school and giving them the good news. Something so simple like delivering this positive news is always met with such intense happiness and gratitude. After making several of these phone calls over the years we realise the significant impact our support means to these families and schools, and it’s a great reminder of why we support them.
How does your team get involved and what impact does this have on team morale and wellbeing?
Each year our team are involved in several events and activities which are aimed at helping the community groups that we are involved with, for example with KidsCan our team are personally involved in the school day trips which we sponsor, this allows our team to have a personal impact on children from the low decile schools. We are also involved with packing food at the KidsCan warehouse at least twice a year and have supported Ronald McDonald House several times which involves our team designing and cooking a three course menu for the children and families who are staying there.
Not only are we giving back to the community and helping those in need but we are providing an opportunity for our own team to get personally involved and see the positive and significant impacts they can make on the community groups we are involved with. Being a close knit group and business we are very hands on and are able to see the positive impact this has on our own team as they become more invested and involved in wanting to support charity groups, and having a voice in the decision making process for who and how we support in the future.
With everything TCC has planned for 2023 in this space, what are you most excited about?
We are just excited to get our business back on track with no disruptions which also means our ability to support charity groups is able to return to normal. Although small, one of the exciting changes this year is we are updating the artwork to our fluffy cups. These are an important fundraising initiative where $0.50 from every fluffy goes towards KidsCan and just this initiative alone raises over $25,000 a year for them. The new fluffy cup design will be launched in the next few months and is a colourful drawing of kids and animals which sums up our support of New Zealand charity organisations as well.
A big thank you to Andy Lucas and The Coffee Club for taking the time to let us into their world and give us some insights on the incredible work they do!