Since opening their first coffee bar in August 2006, Andrew and Chris Brown have not looked back and now own a chain of establishments throughout Gauteng.
The brothers also ended off 2013 on a high note by winning the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Shortlisted after a tough vetting process, telephonic interviews and an on-site visit, Andrew and Chris were announced as the competition winners.
But things have not always been smooth-sailing for the owner-managers of The Daily Buzz, an up-and-coming chain of coffee bars in Gauteng that services the corporate industry with specialty coffee.
“We were unable to secure funding from the banks for our business, so Andrew was forced to take a loan from his bond,” says Chris, the operations director.
Ironically, they opened their first coffee bar on the premises of one of South Africa’s biggest banks.
The idea of starting a coffee bar came to Andrew when he was experiencing below par service and quality from his then employer’s canteen which relied on outsourced services.
“I was living overseas at the time and I did a barista course in London where I was trained by the world’s number one barista,” says Chris.
He says he was trained abroad because, at the time, South Africa did not have many good barista training schools, but this has improved over the past seven years.
Chris then moved back to South Africa and, three months later, the pair opened the coffee bar after going back and forth on what the necessary processes entailed.
“We were initially told that we needed permission from the canteen operators, who were outsourced. They gave us permission, but thought that we would be gone in three months,” says Chris.
Today, almost eight years later, The Daily Buzz has seven branches, situated on the premises of clients such as Standard Bank, Rand Merchant Bank and KPMG. The Daily Buzz has also grown from a staff of two to 60.
Chris attributes the business’ success to good recruitment and investing in their staff – employees of The Daily Buzz also attend regular training programmes.
“We spend a lot of time on recruitment. We look at personality. Experience and skill are secondary as this can be taught,” says Chris.
He says the highlights of being in business thus far was winning the 2013 Sanlam/Business Partner Entrepreneur of the Year award.
That Andrew and Chris were well on their way to achieving the need to provide quality service to corporate employees was evident in that the awards’ panel judge of the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year awards, Stefan Beyers’ words.
“Ultimately what made The Daily Buzz stand out was the combination of a high quality product and a determined focus on customer service and experience.”
The pair’s other highlight was opening their second branch.
“A request for a second branch to be opened was some sort of acknowledgement that we were on the right track and it was also an acknowledgement of our hard work,” says Chris.
He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to find mentors in their industries so they don’t end up making common mistakes.
Says Chris: “There is someone who has already walked your path. If you find that someone who did what you do then it could make your path easier.”