Be Inspired: Black Milk
Black Milk first arrived in the form of a small café situated in the eclectic surroundings of Manchester’s Affleck’s Palace. Operating from a compact space with just five tables, Black Milk immediately struck a chord with customers who were looking for something different. With the popularity of dessert only cafés coinciding with Black Milks chocolate topped cereal inventions, soon the only way to get a table on the weekend, was to reserve one.
Fast forward barely two years later and Black Milk Cereal have not only opened a second location - once again in Manchester’s thriving city centre - but have also decided to embark into the lucrative world of franchising. The accolade of the brands first ever franchisee goes to regular customer Fayaz Patel, who will open the new Black Milk branch in Bolton this September.
Founders and owners Andy Young and Oliver Taylor, have struck gold with their unique concept and have plans to develop the brand even further across the UK. We caught up with Andy, one half of Black Milk….
How did Black Milk Cereal begin Andy….
Oliver and I started running events together around five years ago whilst at University. Starting out in the U.K, we quickly grew and took our event to Spain.
Although we took pride in delivering incredible experiences for large crowds, we wanted to develop a more permanent concept that was available to enjoy day in day out.
Did you have a background in the food and drink industry prior to opening your franchise?
Oliver is from a family of restauranteurs and has worked for leading companies like Gaucho and Lounge 10. My experience is far more event orientated although I worked for TV chef James Martin for a year whilst starting up Black Milk with Oliver.
What made you choose the franchise model over running an independent business?
We want to explore and encourage the growth of our concept through both franchising and investment in our own cafes. We believe both avenues to growth can be achieved simultaneously.
Also the franchisees vested interest in their investment means that we can now rely on others to be our eyes and ears when we (business owners) can’t always be there.
How long did the process take from the franchise enquiry to the launch of your franchise?
Fayaz first approached us at the end of 2016. As we were in the middle of building our second cafe at the time, we agreed that the best path would be to learn from the construction process and early months of the Manchester café. We would then apply our knowledge to the build and opening of the Bolton cafe
How did you fund the venture and how easy was it to secure the capital?
We started our first cafe with £1,000 each and have continued to reinvest nearly all the funds that come in to the company in to growth. This has meant working 80 hour weeks, however it has without doubt been worth the sacrifices.
We’ve take small loans from time to time but have managed to grow without leveraging the company too much or relying on outside investment.
How would you describe the market at the moment in terms of demand, numbers, competition and growth?
Demand for dessert cafes is surging and we see many competitors entering at the bottom end of the market. We set ourselves out at the premium end of the market, and see little to no competition in this sub-segment of the market. Our growth has been averaging in double digit percentage points each month since opening, giving us total confidence there is plenary of room for expansion and growth
We value growing at a sustainable pace above all else. Black Milk will be here for many years to come.
Tuesday, 12th September, 2017