5 to go

5 to go Co-Founder Radu Savopol on becoming a Romanian coffee giant, making brave choices, and the mathematics behind its rapid acceleration

The September / October 2023 Global Coffee Report features 5 to go Co-Founder, Radu Savopol, on his strategic plan to target 1000 coffee shops in Romania over the next four years and the amazing journey of 5 to go

Radu Savopol established 5 to go in 2015 with then 20-year-old business partner Lucian Bădilă after mapping out their business plan on a café napkin. Savopol describes his role as the “mathematician mind” while Bădilă is the “ultimate salesperson”, a complementing partnership that has so far proven successful. They were excited to bring the coffee-to-go concept to Romania after observing its fast uptake and ease of implementation in other countries.

The brand started with a small coffee shop out of a garage in the old centre of Bucharest, but Savopol’s plans were big from the beginning. “We wanted to come up with a business model that responded to the modern consumer [who is] constantly on the move, who needs quality and tasteful products at an optimal price and a simplified purchase process, and a brand to resonate with. And we succeeded", states Radu Savopol.

5 to go opens an average of 13 locations monthly, with the company’s transition into a franchise model key to helping reach approximately 500 coffee shops. Around 420 of those venues fall under the brand’s ‘classic concept’, with others representing ‘coffee corners’ due to partnerships with retail and local businesses including Carrefour, Donuterie, and more.

“One of the most important objectives of the group remains massive development at the national level, by reaching a total of 1000 cafés in Romania in the next four years,” he says.

A key reason for its consistent growth, Savopol says, is the fact that 5 to go is a Romanian business that started from scratch and has a commitment to quality and diversity of products backed by a consolidated team: “I strongly believe that nowadays, the only constant is change. What we can all notice is that people’s passion for quality is constantly growing, and this also applies to coffee drinkers. We have a younger coffee audience. We try to keep up with them and their preferences, and to surprise them with innovations, from the launch of new ranges and products to creative campaigns and special offers.”

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