December 4, 2014

Do you have the dancing bean passion?

Dancing Bean is about to celebrate 15 years of boutique coffee roasting, and here’s a little bit of insight into their success.

How often do you see a coffee business still running under the same ownership for 15 years or more? Dancing Bean in Brisbane is coming up to that milestone; that’s no mean feat.

When being congratulated on their success, Rob Mergard’s (Dancing Bean Director) standard line is, “Fifteen years later, we are an overnight success”.

Rob says that when he was much younger, someone told him the secret to success is to ”Do what you love … and do it for a long time. By staying in the game, opportunities will eventually find you”.

How many times do you hear of situations where if only the people in question could have stuck around for another six months? You all know how that story ends. Giving up is easy. Anyone can do it. You can only win if you are playing the game.

A great example of sticking with your passion is the opportunity that came to Dancing Bean a few years ago, out of nowhere! Dancing Bean created a partnership with a good friend based in the region, to roast and roll out several espresso bars in Cairo, Egypt. With this came the privilege of being the only roaster of specialty coffee in a city with the population of Australia. A master franchise has now been set up for North Africa and the Middle East.

By staying in the game, Dancing Bean has established a strong relationship with their original landlord. This recently resulted in finally landing a site for their flagship store, a spot that they have been chasing for 15 years, and it’s one of the hottest pieces of coffee retail in Brisbane. Located in the Brisbane Transit Centre on Roma Street, right at the main entrance, the railway station is the second busiest in Brisbane. “We have 14 million people walk within five metres of our coffee counter each year,” says Rob.

Dancing Bean are currently looking for someone to partner in this hot property; however, Rob is very discerning about his business and he knows it will be partnering with the right people that is the real key to success. Rob says, “I can tell you that no matter what dollars are on the table, it’s the person who we feel best about that will end up with the prize.”

When we supply a customer with our beans, we don’t look at their business; we look at the person. If the business is 50 kilo/week but we don’t connect with the person we are dealing with, we will back out. Conversely, we have bent over backwards to help someone who we see great potential in, and it always pays off.

We really love the coffee game. Every year the Golden Bean gives us an opportunity to see how we stack up against everyone else. We medalled seven times this year, so I guess we are doing the basics right. Of course, the usual principles always apply. Stay focused. Stay educated. Be relevant to name a few. Loving your customers is totally essential.

So good old fashioned values win out again. There are no short cuts. Just love what you do, and do it for a long time.


PRob Mergard 0413 000 979.

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