Kenton Campbell

Kenton Campbell
Zarraffa’s Coffee

Age: 39
Business Est: 1996
Number of staff: 16 (head office)
Growth: 24%
Turnover: $30.5m

Kenton Campbell is exhausted after a national Zarraffa’s franchising conference at O’Reilly’s in the Gold Coast Hinterland and is conducting this interview while buying a new phone charger, en route to Milan for a coffee conference.

It’s typical of the master franchisor and wildlife warrior to be multi-tasking an array of projects simultaneously. Campbell epitomises the kind of entrepreneurial spirit respected and revered by his competitors but remains humble of his achievements.

“I remember when my wife Rachel and I could not afford to drive up to O’Reilly’s to check it out and now here we are outgrowing the venue with more than 100 of our franchisees,” says the 2008 Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

“The franchisees have allowed me to fulfil my legacy, I would not be where I am without them.”

Zarraffa’s now has 37 stores, each averaging annual turnover of $774,000 and Campbell will open another 14 before the end of 2010 in southeast Queensland. There are also plans for another two drive-through outlets on the Gold Coast to add to its Worongary and Toowoomba drive-throughs. The Worongary store has become the No.1 outlet in the country and serves up to 400 cars each day.

Campbell tackles challenges head on, both mentally and physically. Earlier this year he fought his way through four gruelling bouts to be crowned second in Australia for his weight division in Machado ­— a Brazilian jujitsu.

“One thing I don’t do is quit and I don’t quit thinking about it. If I’m passionate about something, I will at least go for it. I don’t mind getting second because by not losing I haven’t learned,” he says.

Like most of the 2009 Gold Coast Business News Young Entrepreneurs, Campbell successfully expanded the business at a time when national retail spend was down.

“It’s all about good planning. Basically I could see what was happening. With the drive-throughs, I had been looking for a number of years. The last year has proved to be pretty good for us considering. We thought, ‘what’s the worst that can happen’?

“We didn’t change what we did. Our loyal customers put their money where their mouth counts. Consumers are not stupid, they are very savvy and we realise that a lot of Australians appreciate good coffee.

“We’re just about ready to take over Brisbane and the new store in Rockhampton is going gangbusters.

Campbell has also been talks with State Opposition leader John-Paul Langbroek regarding urban sprawl and how to minimise the impact of development. The philanthropist is also backing a comprehensive wildlife campaign alongside Bob Irwin to save Australia’s endangered species.

Next year his first book Stick Your Neck Out will also hit the shelves.

“It’s not about what following what other people do. The coffee industry allows me to travel the world,” says Campbell.

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