Time to WKSHOP your coffee


WKSHOP is a roastery committed to helping businesses reach their potential, providing specialty coffee solutions with a suite of services and professional support to bring each brand to life. 

The year 2020 saw some businesses thrive, and others struggle to survive, making WKSHOP’s business model as a one stop shop for coffee businesses one of the most valuable in the market.

“We have seen a transition in the Australian coffee industry where small- to medium-sized cafés, franchises, and roasteries are now seeking support to help grow their business. They are looking for a contract roaster who can partner with them on their growth journey,” says WKSHOP Sales Director James Rodger.

“When they visit our roastery and get to know our WKSHOP team and the expertise we have in a range of services, including contract roasting, training, custom packaging, technical support, and marketing assistance, it’s like a feeling of relief because we understand what it takes to achieve their business goals. WKSHOP is about taking the pressure off businesses and watching them thrive. They fall in love with what WKSHOP is about because we are more than just a supplier.” 

Since its inception in 2019 between James, his wife and Creative Director Danielle Saleh, and sister-in-law and Marketing Director Nicole Saleh, the company has devoted its efforts to becoming an extension of its customers’ businesses. 

“Our vision is to supply, create, educate, and innovate your coffee business. When we started in 2019, we wanted to build something unique and different for the industry that went beyond supplying coffee to our customers,” Nicole says. 

“We started with an understanding that every customer is different. What one customer needs may be very different to the next. We have a strong foundation with specialty contract coffee roasting, but we wanted to work in partnership with our customers and support them on their growth journey to help them fulfill their goals and dreams.” 

To do that, WKSHOP unpacks each business to understand its vision and provides tailored solutions to help reach the next stage of its growth. 

WKSHOP is passionate about six core pillars of support to ensure ongoing growth and success. The first is its dedication to contract roasting. WKSHOP works closely with each customer to develop roast profiles based on a considered selection of premium green beans. Its use of Italian-manufactured Brambati roasters ensures it can create micro batches through to large volumes of custom blends to suit customers’ needs. 

“First and foremost, you need to ensure you have a great product. If the quality of your product isn’t up to scratch the brand will fall quickly. Once coffee quality is secured, then you can move onto other important touchpoints of the business,” James says.

The second pillar is the WKSHOP Academy, where the team takes a holistic approach to business development. It works with partners to improve business strategy and establish plans to thrive. The Academy offers baristas and café owners a range of practical training courses and pathways in espresso and alterative brewing methods, cupping sessions, equipment training, and company induction programs to empower baristas with the tools to execute coffee of the highest quality.

Nicole adds that training doesn’t just reflect how well a coffee is made, but how businesses can make small changes to the way they operate to improve their efficiencies, which can impact profitability. 

“We have developed training programs and tools for business owners to provide them with cost effective solutions to streamline their operations. It’s amazing to see the results once they have implemented what they have learned into their business,” she says.

With the need to adapt during COVID-19, the WKSHOP Academy will expand its online training and launch a digital training platform this year.

WKSHOP’s third pillar of support is custom packaging. It helps customers with packaging design and solutions for retail packs to takeaway cups to ensure products look as good as the coffee tastes.

Marketing and social media is also considered. Thanks to WKSHOP’s vast experience working with local and international brands, it can advise customers on a marketing strategy, as well as photography services and social media techniques to bring their brand to life. 

“The more brands can engage with clientele the more likely they are to build trust. It’s important to focus on social media engagement and start conversations by using this cost effective marketing tool that can really enhance a brand,” Nicole says.

WKSHOP also has a wide range of machinery to fit the needs of each customer, from espresso machines and grinders to milk dispensing devices, accessories and parts. Machine customisation is available to match brand and café design aesthetics. Equally as important is the technical support available to ensure equipment is running at peak condition. WKSHOP’s team of technicians provide preventative maintenance schedules to ongoing servicing and after sales support. 

The last of WKSHOP’s core pillars is its ability to look beyond its coffee offering to other products that can complement and add value to the growth of a business. This includes WKSHOP’s own range of tea, chocolate, and bottled water.

“We are delivering holistic experiences and tailored solutions to help businesses grow and thrive. Whether it’s a franchise, café, restaurant, or a completely new venture, we work together to understand their goals, then work in partnership to get them to where they want to be,” Danielle says. 

“We’re not only looking at their product needs but their overall strategy and the opportunity to take their business to the next level.”

One such company to benefit from WKSHOP’s support is a franchise group who sought out the company to help improve its coffee offering. Once achieved, WKSHOP expanded its services to include an overhaul of the franchise’s packaging, the upgrade of equipment, curated capsules, and staff training.

“We ended up enhancing all segments of the business which evolved from a simple conversation about coffee into a much bigger relationship,” James says. 

An established café also partnered with WKSHOP to develop its own custom blend of coffee and help evolve the brand in the marketplace. The shop went from using 110 kilograms to 150 kilograms of coffee each week, and that’s during the peak of COVID-19.

“We had a number of customers that grew their businesses during COVID, some by 30 per cent, and others by 40 and 50 per cent, which was a real surprise. It was exciting to work with these customers to meet their demand and supply growth, and train their teams online,” he says.

“On the other hand, some customers during the COVID climate had their business fall by 50 per cent [in sales], and we continue to help rebuild these businesses one step at a time. Let’s look at how we can evolve your business to adapt to the changes and see you survive. Let’s work on marketing, online concepts, safety procedures in the café, how to achieve workflow with reduced staff, how to sell more product. You have to adapt to the marketplace during these times.” 

WKSHOP services new and established businesses nationally and has recently expanded its customer reach to Malaysia. Guiding each company on their own succession path is a team of around 20 experienced staff including Head Roaster Paul Golding, National Sales Manager Nicholas Naso, National Commercial Manager Malcolm Bible, Technical Manager Paul Martin, and Academy Training Manager Melita Ferraro, among many others. 

At the helm is the leadership team that continues to inspire and lead staff to uphold the company vision. 

“We have a wealth of experience in the WKSHOP team. How we use that to help our customers succeed is a thrill to watch unfold, and something that excites me on a day to day basis,” Nicole says. 

“We’re passionate about delivering a complete brand experience. It’s this passion that drives business growth and helps evolve WKSHOP in the market too.” 

For more information, visit www.wkshop.com.au, call 1800 849 335 or email hello@wkshop.com.au

This article appears in the February 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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