“I started The Coffee Co because I was gatvol of bad coffee,” says Christo König. So much so, that he gave up drinking the beverage while working as an accountant, before deciding, 17 years ago, to do something about it.
Inspired by those dark days of terrible coffee, The Coffee Co. is an office coffee solutions provider. “Our aim is to bring great coffee into your workplace at under R7 a cup,” says Christo. Fresh coffee beans are roasted in-house at two coffee roasteries, either in Cape Town or in Johannesburg, and distributed to clients through a network of 36 franchises across the country. The company also supply and service 8 distinct brands of imported coffee machines (Jura, WMF, Schaerer, Queen, Godrej etc.) for clients to rent. To meet the requirements of a vending coffee machine, The Coffee Co. also manufactures and supplies their own milk products and hot chocolates.
One of the company’s biggest milestones came in 2005 when Christo took on a partner, who has a 50% stake in the business and started The Coffee Co. in Gauteng, with its base in Boksburg. As the company expanded and gained clients all over the country, transportation costs began racking up. They decided to establish a second coffee roastery in Johannesburg so that beans wouldn’t have to be transported from Cape Town to the Northern parts of South Africa, which not only saved money but also ensured that clients had the freshest beans possible.
One of the biggest challenges that the company deals with is easy access to cash: “We don’t have a big balance sheet, or investors with deep pockets,” says Christo. “We have to supply coffee machines that we import ourselves, and our foreign suppliers want that money upfront even though the machines only arrive two months later. That’s where Genfin came in.”
Genfin provides customised funding solutions to the hospitality industry. “The Genfin team organised and approved the short-term funding we required to import coffee machines. It took just three working days from the date we were introduced to Genfin to the money reaching my bank account,” says Christo. “That type of service is just incredible! If we had received the funds later, we would have lost the import special offer as well as lost on the exchange rate. It is always great to work with a company that stands by their commitments and delivers what was promised.”
Looking to the future, Christo is confident that they’ll have 150 franchises: “We want to sell a million cups of coffee a day! It might not happen in the next couple of years, but we’ll get there eventually.” And even further into the future? “I want Elon Musk to take the first cup of our coffee to Mars!”