Our Story

Foodco’s story started 30 years ago….

Australia, the late 1980s. Home interest rates hit 17% and mainstream Australia is drinking instant coffee and eating regularly at fast food restaurants. While today’s hipster baristas were still just a twinkle in their parents’ eyes, Foodco’s founders had a driving desire to take their passion for espresso coffee and hand-made fresh food and make everyday Aussies love it.

In 1989, Bob and Wendy Nelson opened their first oven and espresso machine in Coolangatta on Australia’s iconic Gold Coast. With a tasty hand-made menu –almost as good as Mum’s home cooking – paired with espresso, rich and delicious, they felt they’d found a winning formula.

Cafe #1 Muffin Break Coolangatta 1989
Cafe #1 Muffin Break Coolangatta 1989

Starting any business is a labour of love. Despite plenty of sweat and the occasional tears, the Australia was reluctant to release its love for instant coffee. Together with the Fitzgerald family our founders passionately invested in the long-term vision. James Fitzgerald crisscrossed the nation in his Holden Commodore spreading the word and building the business site by site.

Cup by cup and savoury by savoury, loyal customers developed. Many started saying they wanted to have a shop of their own. So we made that happen. Our brands began to transform into the iconic brands that are enjoyed today, from Aberdeen in Scotland to Dunedin in New Zealand.

Growing introduces challenges and we soon realized that our greatest assets – our people – were best placed to overcome them. Serge Infanti, our Chief Executive and investor, was quite literally ‘born into coffee’ (he was born in his parent’s Milanese café!). Serge was one of our early franchise partners. He used his deep knowledge of the business to develop strong systems that support our partners. We’ve continued to build the skills of our people and are proud to see many become leaders in the espresso and hospitality industries.

Australia, present day.  Australia’s palate has matured significantly since the 1980s. Foodco now operates in nearly 600 locations across 7 countries that employ over 8,000 people. We’re excited about the possibilities that a digital world creates, yet one thing remains unchanged – our founders vision that’s underpinned everything we have done since 1989; “people enjoying awesome espresso and hand-made fresh food”