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With its award-winning concoction of New Zealand pillow-soft donuts and other scrumptious treats and beverages, Epiphany Café makes people believe that life is worth enjoying

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In the past few decades, donuts have become beloved and well-known in numerous countries, and it is now being cooked in various models. This sugary and delicious snack can be easily made at home, but the real fun lies in eating the same in bakeries, confectioneries, food stalls, authorised speciality markets, and shopping centers. Donuts are generally deep-fried and come with different toppings and fillings. From time immemorable, people have flocked to the donut counter to get a donut and a cup of coffee. It was the most common and great way to socialize and catch with current events. The donut shop is still continuing to be a place where anyone from any walk of life is welcome. Globally there are various places to savor delicious donuts, but Epiphany Café stands out from the rest. We all deserve sweet remedies, a bit of "me time." Epiphany Café creates and serves extraordinary bites of joy that satisfy all sweet and soft cravings. Everyone loves coffee, and it is a part of most people's daily routine to get a cup of coffee. Coupled with other sweet treats and baked products, all together cultivate relationships and togetherness. The Founder of Epiphany Café was motivated to enter the F&B industry to become a "go-to place," which may bring people together and allow them to celebrate shared memories. From a business point of view, F&B-related businesses will continue to be 'on demand' and with higher chances of sustainability considering a suitable business model targeting the needs of customers in this industry.

The success story

The team decided to offer the four-core products in Epiphany Cafe based on the synergistic needs of its customers, which will drive the sustainability and profitability in the business. The production process and the supply chain management requirements were also considered in developing the types of products that they offer. Epiphany Café's team has also conducted market and industry research that provided insights about the market trend. This has led them to focus on plant-based (organic) and other alternative ingredients with low carb or less sugar content in making their products. For example, the company's 5-in-1 instant coffee is 99% sugar-free. Additionally, its coffee blends developed by Gorgeous Coffee Co. are 100% organic, and Fair Trade certified. The story began a few years ago when Jeths and Mark, engineers and friends, couldn't find the particular quality of pillow-soft donuts in New Zealand that they'd enjoyed on their respective travels and work experiences overseas. After months of research, they became more excited when they found out that the best quality of flour to make the perfect pillow-soft donuts is in New Zealand! The "moment of sudden revelation" [epiphany] came to Jeths and Mark; hence they decided to take on the challenge of becoming NZ's donut-café brand.

Baking can be time-consuming, especially when baking in large quantities, but Epiphany Café easily manages this because demand and resource planning plays an important role in increasing productivity and efficiency in its production facility. The Food Manufacturing division of SFIO has also developed premix from standard recipes, which have contributed to the work efficiency and product consistency, particularly in producing large quantities without compromising the quality of the products. Epiphany Café’s food manufacturing companies within SFIO use a business platform that integrates with its accounting software and ‘point of sale’ (POS) system. It has an ordering portal where the company’s wholesale customers and franchisees can place their orders. As the systems are interfaced, a very minimal manual process is involved in making the end-to-end process seamless. The entire inventory system is also connected to Epiphany’s cloud reporting tool, which performs data analytics that provides insights as to how they can manage the entire supply chain process, including inventory management, demand planning, resource scheduling, delivery services, and supplier relations. 

Maintaining the freshness

SFIO is a conglomerate of franchise business, food manufacturing, coffee, property development as well as technology and software development in New Zealand and Australia. SFIO is aimed to support and enable the strategic expansion and growth of Epiphany brand globally as the conglomerate’s pilot project.

SFIO has developed the SMART-FREEZE Technology enabling the product to be frozen for up to 3-6 months. Once thawed within an hour at an ambient temperature, the products like donuts and cakes are of ‘fresh like quality in terms of appearance, texture, and taste’. Not only that it can address the end-of-day wastage on-site, but it also could eliminate the “limiting” factor to rapidly expand a brand in a given region or country. A central commissary can meet the demand of the entire region or country. This technology has enabled the traditional franchise business to become a diversified model where micro-business concepts can be integrated into. Business operations in these businesses are further enhanced and streamlined as the need for a kitchen on-site to make the products are no longer required. The four-core product model (Donuts, Coffee, Cakes, and Breads) of Epiphany Cafe provides a value proposition not only to its business partners such as franchisees and licensees but also to customers who are looking for premium quality products in one store.

The road ahead

SFIO is currently conducting its fundraising roadshows for its conglomerate, including Epiphany Cafe. The team is also in the process of launching Epiphany Cafe in Australia, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. Talks around the expansion in the USA and other parts of Asia are also ongoing. The first export of Epiphany Café’s 5-in-1 instant coffee crafted by Gorgeous Coffee Co. is scheduled towards the end of 2021. SFIO is also aiming to become a market leader in offering low-carb treats by reducing the sugar content of its products by at least 80% in the next three years. Big plans supported by a detailed roadmap for the expansion of SFIO are underway. Epiphany Cafe global expansion is the pilot project of SFIO. In parallel, the Property Development and the Technology and Software Development projects of SFIO are also in progress.

Meet the leader behind the success of Epiphany Cafe

Jeths Lacson is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Smokefree Innotec, Inc. He is also the Co-Founder of Epiphany Cafe, Ardent Bakers, Gorgeous Coffee and A+ Electrical. Furthermore, He is a Chartered Professional Electrical Engineer and a Certified Asset Management Assessor with over 15 years of professional experience in the different industries. His expertise is in Asset Management and Business Development.

“Our mission is to provide you an experience that will keep you coming back for more. Chill time never tasted so good!”