Meet Paul and Tom, the founders of Roast'd Coffee. Living in Vancouver, these two Australians saw an opportunity to unite two of their favorite things, a love for coffee and their love for Canada. In our interview with them they talk about the challenges of starting a business in a foreign country and the many setbacks and surprises along the way. Now Paul and Tom enjoy delivering their coffee to the cast and crew on TV and movie sets. They offer some great advice for our readers who are also looking to start their own business.
What is Roast’d Coffee and what makes it unique?
Roast’d is a completely self-sufficient mobile coffee van which produces specialty espresso coffee for events, festivals and TV and movie sets. What sets us apart is that we can go anywhere, at any time, open our doors and make quality espresso drinks right there and then. We have previously been on TV sets serving at midnight and beyond to help the cast and crew get through their shift.
What inspired you to start the business?
The inspiration for starting our business was the opportunity to take something we loved, like good quality coffee and bring it to the streets of Vancouver. Originally from Melbourne, Australia we were spoiled for amazing coffee at every turn. Since moving to Canada and serving some time in the food truck industry, it became apparent that there was a real lack of quality coffee attending these events. So a thought occurred – why not bring quality coffee to the people!?
How did you get where you are today? Quickly walk us through some of the major steps in your journey.
There were many, many steps to get from that thought, to being operational today. Some of the major steps were creating funding for our project, which we sourced from outside investors who believed in the idea as much as we do. We also had to be able to take a café, and store it all in the back of a small Ford Transit Connect. As this is the heart of our business, this had to be done to the best of our ability.
The van not only has to meet government and health board requirements, but also be able to withstand the day to day operations of a café and be able to produce quality specialty coffee that you’d find in Vancouver’s best café’s.
Running a business in a foreign country must come with its challenges. What challenges have you encountered and how did you overcome them?
We definitely came across our fair share of challenges. Apart from your typical start up challenges such as securing funding, we found that the specialty coffee culture in Vancouver is still quite new. Learning the sweet spot between what we know to be good coffee and what appeals to Canadian’s taste has been key to making Roast’d successful. Sourcing the right product and creating relationships with these businesses was key for us to be able to produce the quality of espresso we wanted. Securing the right van, and finding the best machine that we could confidently rely on to produce quality espresso and meet consumer demand also proved challenging.
If you only had one minute to give your best advice to someone looking to start their own business, what would it be?
Be prepared for things to go sideways at any point. It’s just what happens when you’re starting a new business – what is important is how you handle it. You can either turn away from it and give up, or you can tell yourself that there must be a way to overcome this, and search every avenue for a solution.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
What are your plans for Roast’d Coffee? Where do you see it in 5 years time?
We plan to continue to explore the TV and movie set market. It seems to be a niche, which our business has fallen into. It wasn’t our intention at the beginning, but after finding our feet and getting a demand for quality coffee on sets, we have provided a great service and enjoy working with the cast and crews. We hope to explore sporting events, music festivals and the real estate market as well. A big part of our 5-year plan is to expand through franchising. Speciality coffee in Vancouver, Canada is really starting to hit its stride with so many exciting new cafes popping up and we hope to help drive this with our unique take on specialty coffee.
Anything else you would like to add or share?
We are still trying to grow our social media presence on Instagram, Facebook and our website. So, whether you’re a coffee fanatic or a food truck enthusiast, you’ll be able to find something to enjoy on one of our social pages.