Drive-thru chain Muzz Buzz couples coffee with car washing

The founder of drive-through coffee franchise Muzz Buzz insists there’s no difference between coffee and car washing, after announcing plans to grow the brand by way of a car wash service.


Muzz Buzz, founded by Warren Reynolds, has entered into a joint venture with an unknown company, which will see the development of new sites with Muzz Buzz-branded car washes.


Through a separate joint venture, Muzz Buzz will also roll out drive-through cash machines at its super sites, which will combine the coffee and car washing services.


The development and total concept of each site will require an investment of about $1.2 million. The company has already recruited franchisees for three new stores.


Franchisees have the option of taking on a car washing service, a coffee store or both. While the ATMs are not franchised, franchisees with an ATM on their site will receive subsidised rent.


According to Reynolds, there is no real competition in the car wash industry, so the move makes perfect sense.


“There is no known brand of any significance at all in the car wash industry… There’s [only] a bunch of small businesses with very little capital,” he says.


Reynolds also believes there’s no difference between car washing and coffee because, ultimately, they both revolve around customers.


“We build a brand, not a product… We don’t see ourselves in the coffee industry. We’re in the branding industry and in the marketing industry. Jim’s Group is a good example [of a company similar to ours],” he says.


Having already established a strong foothold in its home state of WA, Melbourne is the next major push for the company, which also has stores in Queensland and South Australia.


But Muzz Buzz is steering clear of Sydney altogether, Reynolds says.


“The [Sydney] property market is still inflated and the infrastructure on the roads is bad. The government hasn’t invested anything in Sydney,” he says.


“It’s a very difficult market. It would cost me a fortune in marketing, and media is overinflated. By expanding into Sydney, I would never have a reasonable return on investment.”


“I would go to Tasmania – I would go to New York – before Sydney.”


There are currently 50 Muzz Buzz stores. Reynolds isn’t planning to grow the network by a specific number, stating he will open “as many as I can get up”.


And while there’s no pressure to take on a super site, he says the two concepts are designed to complement each other. He also highlights the huge emphasis on location.


“A large proportion of the company’s effort goes into property development – we work with all sorts of people. Most of the time, we work with big land developers,” he says.


“They want as much money for their sites as they can get. On the other hand, that’s a great benefit. We’re dealing with people who understand the real estate market.”


“It’s nice to deal with good businesspeople. The quality of the sites is better than anybody else has.”


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