Your foodservice business is unique. Your company values, goals, clients, objectives and more are nothing like anyone else’s. So that’s why 365 focuses on YOU! We provide powerful partnerships that cater to you and your business needs.
We recently sat down with Founder of Well-Bean, Melissa Brown, where she shared with us her unique story and how the 365 Exclusive Partnership has helped her and her company grow. Learn how you can benefit from our partnership too.
1. Tell us all about YOU and Well Bean!
Well-Bean was founded after visiting my parent’s non-profit in Nicaragua called New Song Mission Nicaragua. I wanted to help support the non-profit by bringing in a Nicaraguan resource to sell in the States to give back to New Song. During this trip, we did a coffee farm tour in Matagalpa, Nicaragua and I knew I found my future. I brought home 50 pounds of coffee in my suitcase and wrote a business plan on a napkin during the Delta flight home. Well-Bean was born in February of 2013.
We started off with a coffee cart on a college campus in Wake Forest, NC and then grew into a small, double-sided coffee drive-thru. After 2 years of struggling to make ends meet, I was asked if I could deliver coffee to someone’s office. That year I was able to take over the coffee service at the college where I previously had my coffee cart and that account was more profitable than my entire drive-thru. I quickly sold the drive-thru in 2015 and dove head first into OCS. The company grew from myself and one part-time employee to 15 employees today. We are not only an OCS provider, but we are also the coffee roaster. We have 4 routes in the Raleigh-Durham area and continue to grow as a true competitor in our market.
Our Micro Markets division didn’t start until last June 2018. In 2017, we lost two large contracts because we wouldn’t provide a market. I wanted to avoid them at all cost because I was scared of the risks. OCS & pantry services were a sure thing, but markets scared me to death because I didn’t know anything about vending. Deep down I knew last spring it was now or never to jump into markets if I wanted to gain and obtain large accounts.
Fun Fact: I went to NAMA alone, not knowing a soul in my industry. I visited each micro-market company booth and then came to the 365 booth and the search was over. Free Beer?! I found my people! I actually didn’t get to talk to any of the sales reps because they were too busy but that was a really good sign to me. All the other booths had plenty of time to talk, which spoke leaps and bounds. I came home knowing I wanted in, so I reached out to a few accounts and we opened our first three markets in June last year.
2. What challenges were you experiencing or business objectives were you trying to achieve prior to 365? Why was the 365 Exclusive Partnership the answer?
As a non-vending OCS company, I had a lot to learn! This decision could make or break my company financially. I don’t have deep pockets. We grew this business out of my upstairs and garage and paid our first employee out of my husband’s paycheck. In order to get into markets and stay above water, I HAD to do it right, the first time. I chose 365 because they gained my trust AND they connected me to the best business mentors I have ever had in Steve & Patty Closser, with Translucent LLC. 365 paid for 2 full days of training to set me up for success, and it worked.
3. Tell us about the specific changes you’ve experienced after partnering with 365?
From June last year until today, we have 11 markets open and operating. We will open 3 more over the next 3 weeks and 2 more starting by May. This means in one year’s time, with the help of 365, we will have 16 markets. Who would have known?
Our total revenue grew 65% in the last half of 2018 after launching markets. This was not in markets alone, but our OCS grew because of our ability to offer markets. This year we are projecting to double our revenue from 2018. Micro Markets rounded out our portfolio and helped us gain respect as a legitimate OCS competitor.
4. What advice would you give other operators who are having similar challenges or looking for the same opportunities you were? Would a 365 partnership be something that you would recommend? Why?
Choose your market kiosk provider carefully and don’t dabble in this business. Markets are not an easy addition but a fruitful one and worth the mental real estate. Partner with a company that believes in your ability to be successful and who will help get you off the ground.
I would hands-down recommend 365 Markets! No business relationship is without bumps in the road, but one thing I can promise you is 365 will work promptly to fix any issues so both companies can drive forward to success. It goes without saying, I suggest any Micro Market operator take a look at what 365 can offer and how their responsive customer service, market leading technology, and continual reinvestment in their products can benefit the success of your company.