Tamás Frei fell in love with coffee as a TV, a to roast the beansThis obsession became Café Frei, which he started in 2007 with his business partner Tamás Langár, and today they have sixty-one cafés in Hungary and over a dozen cafés abroad, which are built into a franchise system. The company’s sales exceeded HUF 2 billion in 2019 and has grown into the largest independent coffee shop chain today.
Another chapter in the company’s life is the launch of Tamas Frei’s capsule espresso coffee, the first unflavored coffee in the range. This already indicates a new direction for the company: they will change from a coffee chain to a coffee brand – it turns out From a Forbes article.
This year, Frei and his partner are stepping back from day-to-day business and moving to faster growth with new management. Over the past two years, the establishment of the company’s retail business has begun, with Cafe Frei products now available at Spar and Cserpes bakeries. They started to become a coffee brand by making their products available in coffee shops in every form they could see of their purchasing power.
The capacity and technology of their production facilities were upgraded with an investment of HUF 1.2 billion, which is still in progress, and although they consumed all of their profits in 2020, Frey said he and retail needed the company to survive the coronavirus. Epidemic and closing of restaurants. But its EBITDA was still $1 billion less than planned for 2020 and 2021 combined compared to the pre-virus period.
The company will continue to expand abroad: in January, a café will open in Switzerland, on the northern and southern shores of Lake Geneva, and locations in Germany will open in a year or two. He told Forbes that expansion into overseas markets began everywhere with demo stores and had already closed instead of opening a second. Examples of the latter are Ireland and Sweden, and the closure explains the fact that Frei Cafe does not fit in with the local coffee culture there.
Frey sees the need for a well-functioning Western European niche to be a serious international company, and hopefully it will be launched in Germany within 1-2 years, and listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange or the Polish Stock Exchange.
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