Cofix, the new café chain which began offering coffee at 5 NIS a pop to much fanfare announced Sunday its intentions to open five additional cafes at a total investment of NIS 2 million.
Two of the branches will be in Tel Aviv – one on Ha’arbaa St. and the other on the corner of Hertzl and Yehuda Halevi – and the other three will be outside the city in Natanya, Givatayim and Rishon Lezion.
By the end of January 2014 the total of branches nationwide will be eight, an impressive feat considering its first branch was opened on September 30 of this year on Ibn Gvirol St. and was immediately followed by an additional store on King George St.
The chain’s launch inspired widespread public debate regarding the price of coffee and even prompted regulators to launch investigations into price fixing by the major coffee chains.
Cofix is currently being credited with revolutionizing the way and amount Israelis will pay for a cappuccino to go; as well as causing Aroma – as well as other coffee chains – to lower prices and create a specialized 5 NIS menu.
The surprising speed in which the chain has been opening up branches is probably a result of the company’s newest partner and CEO Gil Unger, a partner in Hagshama private equity fund, who recently formulated a long term strategy for Cofix according to which some 50 news braches will be opened by the end of 2014.
Since opening its doors, Cofix has been forced to drop a number of items from its menus, for example pre-cut fruits and vegetables, as well as ice-cream, but still sells sandwiches, different types of coffee, natural freshly squeezed juices and all manner of baked goods at 5 NIS. In the future, the company might also sell products like shampoo for the same price.
According to owner and Hadshama partner Avi Katz, the social-economic vision behind the company is a desire to offer an accostable menu at a fixed price – but not necessarily the cheapest one. Such a vision is made possible thanks to the small size of each chapter (40 square meters) in strategic locations throughout the city.
According to the chain, it has already sold over 150,000 units of either juice, coffee or food. All products are sold in take-away form and hence cannot be enjoyed in the branch itself. However, since the launch, the Ibn Gvirol branch offers a few chairs.
At first the chain faced a number of issues resulting from high demands, and now it seems Cofix is employing more workers than it initially planed to – what could have a long term effect on its financial forecasts.
An additional problem the chain faces is claims that its sandwiches are not fresh enough, as a Channel 10 report claimed. In a story the TV channel ran, it showed a Cofix manager instructing workers to sell sandwiches made during evening hours on the following day – despite them being branded as fresh – with the manager further noting that such sandwiches can be sold up to three days after being made.
In response to accusations, Cofix claimed that the laminated sandwiches it receives every evening are stored in refrigerators until morning, in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, and never for more than 24 hours – usually even less.