Being a Hudsons franchisee allows you to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself. So we caught up with former Franchisee Of The Year Trudy Latham to hear her story of hard work and reward.
Seven years ago, Trudy Latham and her husband Tim were thinking about leaving the education sector after 22 years and starting a cafe. They knew that their home town on Burnie, Tasmania was underserved for good coffee but weren’t sure they had the business skills to start from scratch.
Fast forward seven years, and Trudy and Tim are the owners of three thriving Hudsons stores in Northern Tassie and Trudy is the Tasmanian representative on the Hudsons Franchise Advisory Council. We caught Trudy in between heats at the Hudsons 2019 Barista Championships, where Trudy was behind the group heads herself, representing Tasmania (and serving up an amazing Tim Tam-filled Mocha invention!) Spoiler alert, Trudy and her team are the 2019 Champions!
Why did you choose Hudsons seven years ago?
We didn’t have a coffee shop in Burnie that consistently made good coffee. So, it came down to my experience as a traveller I suppose. When we crossed that big Bass Strait, and we hit Melbourne, Hudsons was there. My husband and I both preferred the flavour of the blend, it was only Premium Blend back then. So it came down to flavour of the coffee to start with!
What made you choose to go into a cafe franchise to begin with?
I did not have the business skills that I needed to open up an independent cafe. And that was when we decided that it was the best option was to go with a franchise that would be able to give the support that I needed.
And how supported do you feel as part of the Hudsons team?
I personally feel very supported, but I feel that comes down to relationships that I’ve developed with people. And the positive support I’ve been lucky enough to get includes coffee training, the coffee training has always been really great. Also marketing support – we’ve been able to do some local store marketing with our stores. If I have an idea then they’ve been able to help me develop it.
“I personally feel very supported, but I feel that comes down to relationships that I’ve developed with people.”
— TRUDY LATHAM
Do you have regular contact with other franchisees?
I’ve got a few that I communicate with regularly, because I’m on the FAC, the Franchise Advisory Council as well. I have some strong relationships with the other representatives from the other states, so I represent Tassie. It’s really good to be able to bounce ideas, and if you’ve got an issue with staffing, or you’re not sure about something, to have somebody. You don’t always need to go to head office, but to be able to ask other people how they’re dealing with different situations, and what’s working for them, and what’s not. People that are in the stores.
What’s changed at Hudsons in your seven years?
We’ve had the introduction of our Baristas Choice Blend, and then a couple of years ago, introducing Single Origin. So, the coffee’s really evolved, now we can offer a lot of choice. I think originally we had skinny and full cream milk, and now we have a range of six different milks that we can offer. Three different blends. Plus, our fitouts are evolving. They’re becoming more modern.
How did 22 years of teaching prepare you for the cafe business?
I think because you’re working with people all the time and there’s so many different personalities. You’ve got a class of 25 kids, and that’s becomes threefold because you’ve usually got two parents associated with each of those children. And definitely the leadership side of things towards the end.
What was the process of scaling from one cafe to two, and then three?
Going from one to two, we had a lot of support in the setup of that store. We had some difficulties around finance getting a second one. But didn’t have any difficulties at all getting the third. I actually saw store three sites, so they weren’t sites that Hudson’s had on the radar. There were opportunities that came up, because our second store was actually an existing cafe in the hospital. And it was on the market, and it was just too big an opportunity to pass up. The Devonport store is a brand new building that houses council chambers, Service Tasmania, and a two story library, as well as a convention center. So, when we knew that that was up for grabs and that they had provision for a cafe in there, it was like, “Okay, this is the spot to go in Devonport.” As soon as I was able to say, “Look, I’ve got another site on the radar,” we had the support that we needed.
And just finally, what keeps your customers coming back to your stores?
We stick to Hudsons standards, we do things the way that they expect us to do them. We are consistently good with our coffee, and we provide really good customer service. So, just this week, we had our Burnie Excellence Awards for the CBD, and we were finalist for best cafe restaurant. And I had two of my staff nominated for customer service awards, and one of them was a finalist. I’m pretty proud of that!
Are you interested in following Trudy’s success and becoming a Hudsons franchise partner? Head to our Franchise page to learn more and book a time to chat.