Cain Cooke Shares His Expertise as an Industry Guest Lecturer

Cain Cooke Shares His Expertise as an Industry Guest Lecturer


Cibo Espresso is a household name to any South Australian coffee lover, and Cain Cooke is its proud General Manager. As AIB’s newest Industry Guest Lecturer, Cain will be sharing his experience and business insights in franchising and change management.  

Cain started out his professional life as a real estate agent. At just 18 years old, he went from working within a Century 21 office to managing it. “For an 18-year-old, it was pretty exciting,” says Cain. When he was 20, the State Manager resigned and Cain asked Century 21’s owner for a chance at the job. The answer was initially no, but Cain persisted, and by the time he was 21, he had taken on that role.

Cain threw himself into the experience. He’s a founding member of the Real Estate Institute of South Australia’s (REISA) Next Generation Committee and a regular judge for the REISA Awards.

After eight years at Century 21, Cain moved to Boost Juice to take up the role of National Operations Manager. Specsavers followed, headhunting Cain to help them break into the South Australian market.

When Cibo invited him to come on board, Cain recognised the opportunity for what it was. “It was an opportunity to really take on an entire business. My role is everything from HR to marketing, strategy to supply chain. To have the opportunity to work with a brand that’s born and bred in my home state was something I couldn’t say no to, so here I am.”

As General Manager, Cain leads the entire business unit. That means managing and growing the business, identifying new sites, overseeing the Cibo brand, leading the support for franchisees and more.

In his opinion, successful franchises are those which deliver a positive outcome for both franchisor and franchisee. That’s when the franchise is growing, they’re a positive place to be, the franchisors are making money and the franchisees are getting a good return on their investment with strong support.

He also believes that successful franchises are successful in part because they deliver a consistent experience across locations. Cain explains, “When you’re not getting that level of consistency, that’s where you can see a franchise isn’t working as hard as it could be or doing what needs to be done. A franchisee in a good franchise network will perpetually reinvest in their business.”

He’s passionate about the way that franchising can present a unique opportunity for a small business owner.

“I have seen over the years people come from all walks of life,” Cain says. “Whether they come out of work as a tradesperson or a schoolteacher, they’re able to learn to run a business in a relatively safe environment. I think if it’s done right as a franchisor, you envelope your franchisees with a level of support that sees them achieve success and financial freedom that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.”

We’re delighted to welcome Cain on board as an AIB Industry Guest Lecturer and look forward to the practical insights he will contribute to our Franchising and Managing Change subjects.

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