Fresh focus for fast food brands

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Inside Franchise Business: fresh opportunities with Pacific Retail brandsWhy there's a new future for fast-food brands Go Sushi, Kick Juice Bars, The Cheeky Beans and Wasabi Warriors.

Kate McMahon heads up the parent company Pacific Retail and is taking the initiative to move the brands into the supermarket fresh-food space.

“We’re essentially picking up the model, changing the displays to an open grab’n’go counter, putting kiosks into supermarkets. That’s for all our brands.

“You cap the rents at 10 per cent. We know it’s a financial model that gets the franchise off to a good start. Sushi is so seasonal that the business model with rental caps is a massive benefit.

“We have never gone into food courts because the locations are hidden and destination focussed, and sushi is grab and go. We have been in corner or edge sites or kiosks.”

She says “massive” rents are a clear deterrent for shopping-centre locations. “We want our franchisees to control rents so they can invest back into the business and marketing.”

Longer trading hours, lower upfront costs and the ability to match franchisees with other passionate retailers are also strong drivers for the new partnership.

“We’re working with Supa IGAs, which are being really innovative, thinking through how they do fresh food and enhancing the customer experience. Working with them is exciting. We think about how we can bring theatre into it, the customer watching sushi being made.”

Dinner trade

McMahon says the supermarket link also opens up the dinner trade, a long-term ambition for the brands that has yet to be realised.

“It’s a massive market. We know that when we keep a store open on a Thursday late night, the sales equal lunchtime, so it doubles turnover.”

While the initiative is launching in partnership with Supa IGA there will be further partnership opportunities for the concession-style outlets, says McMahon. “It might be Caltex, supermarkets, aquatic centres.”

In New Zealand, Pacific Retail launched The Cheeky Beans cafe, focussed on healthy eating, in aquatic centres.

“You need coffee, a few of the naughties, but it’s really about healthy sushi, fruit juice, salad, sandwiches, wraps, healthy muffins. This has a cafe feel but the menu is fresh, healthy food.”

McMahon is looking at expanding from the two outlets - not just in aquatic centres but supermarkets.

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