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Founded in 1978 in New Orleans, PJ’s Coffee is now a franchise with more than 100 stores throughout the United States and abroad. Find out how Ballard Brands (which owns PJ’s Coffee) invested in the franchise brand and fast-tracked its growth with effective digital marketing.

  • Franchise Industry: Coffee
  • Challenge: Attracting qualified franchisees and accelerating brand growth
  • Location: Covington, LA
The Client's website on 3 mobile phones.

The Challenge

When Ballard Brands purchased PJ’s Coffee and added the brand to their franchise portfolio, they knew it had the potential to grow into a national and international powerhouse.

(After all, the New Orleans-based brand was backed by premium coffee products and decades of excellent service marked by southern hospitality.)

But they also knew that to reach this type of success, PJ’s Coffee needed a solid growth strategy. So, Ballard Brands recruited David Mesa as their Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer to lead the charge.

David went straight to work, strengthening PJ’s Coffee’s branding and working to attract new franchisees organically through Ballard Brands’ internal networks. But he knew that was only the beginning—the next step was to refine the process for attracting franchisees from the Internet.

That’s when David enlisted the help of a digital marketing company that specialized in franchise development.

A partner that could not only improve the online appeal of PJ’s Coffee to prospective franchisees, but more importantly, deliver higher-quality leads that were more likely turn into new franchise deals.

“Right from the outset, our marketing partner asked us about our goals and how we measure success. For us, success is not about impressions or inquiries, but qualified leads. Ever since we signed with our new marketing partner, we’ve noticed a significant improvement in the quality of the franchisee applications we’re receiving, which has resulted in more closed deals.”

—David Mesa, Executive Vice President, and Chief Development Officer, Ballard Brands

A website designed to capture and keep the interest of prospective franchisees.

“With our redesign, we now have a franchise development website that is more interactive and engaging. As a result, we’ve seen dramatic increases in the amount of time visitors spend on our site.”
—David Mesa, Executive Vice President, and Chief Development Officer, Ballard Brands
The client's website on an iPad.

A strategy focused on money-generating results, not just awareness.

“It’s very easy for franchises to get caught up in building awareness. But if your marketing doesn’t deliver deals at the end of the day, it’s irrelevant. And our marketing company gets that!”

—David Mesa, Executive Vice President, and Chief Development Officer, Ballard Brands

A screen shot of the client's website.

A marketing team acting as an extension of the brand.

“We view our marketing partner as a part of our overall development team. In the first six months, we set a goal to have weekly calls with our marketing manager. On the calls, they helped us break down our data and gave us recommendations for how we could improve our marketing strategy. Now, because we trust our marketing team so much, we’ve moved to biweekly meetings, but they’re still as hands-on with our campaign as ever.”
David Mesa, Executive Vice President, and Chief Development Officer, Ballard Brands

The Outcome

  • Stores scheduled to open in 2019 30
  • total number of stores by the end of 2019 130+
  • year-over-year increase in store openings 57%
  • Beating average cost per deal by 10-12%

David has not only succeeded in accelerating the growth of PJ’s Coffee, but he’s found a way to do it with more efficiency and at lower costs.

And he says it’s all possible with the help of his trusted marketing partner…


Hear from David Mesa

"Scorpion’s service is phenomenal. Ever since we started working with them, we’ve been able to maximize our recruitment efforts, and we’ve seen a consistent positive return on investment. We couldn’t have achieved this level of growth so quickly without a hands-on partner like Scorpion."

David Mesa Executive Vice President, and Chief Development Officer, Ballard Brands
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