Acai Brothers mobile model to reduce entry costs

By Nick Hall | 08 Nov 2019 View comments

Australia’s largest superfood and acai café franchise, Acai Brothers has revealed plans to launch an innovative new mobile model. The new Acai Brothers mobile café concept will significantly reduce the entry point for franchisees, meaning more Aussies can buy into the booming health-food business.

Since launching in 2014, Acai Brothers has grown to 21 stores nationwide, with a number of new sites expected to launch in the coming months. Sam Carson, Acai Brothers co-founder and director revealed that interest is already swelling for the new mobile concept.

“We’re in the process of implementing a food-truck model in the next six to 12 months, and that’s really come from customer interest,” Carson told Inside Franchise Business.

“We get so many inquiries for catering, whether it be birthdays, weddings, fetes, sporting events, it’s amazing. Gone are the days where you go to a kid’s sporting match and chow down on a sausage roll or pie; people really want something healthier.”

Acai Brothers mobile model

The co-founder said aside from consumer demand, the primary motivation behind the new Acai Brothers mobile store concept was reducing the barrier to entry. As a brand that leverages a predominantly youth network, access to finance can often be a significant challenge.

“We’ve really seen a shift in business ownership, with more entrepreneurs sub-25 wanting to be part of this business beast, but perhaps don’t have the industry education or financial knowledge,” Carson said.

“For us, it was a case of ‘how do we appeal to someone who is younger, that wants to be a small business owner, but doesn’t have the capacity to get a $300,000 business loan?’ That was really the basis for developing these options; a cheaper model that extends to our target market.”

The new Acai Brothers mobile model isn’t the only new format in the works. The superfood café is also introducing a small-format ‘hole-in-the-wall’ concept store.

The 25-35sqm locations will feature a boutique Summer and Winter menu, with the chain primarily targeting coastal areas across the country. The new models are a significant boost for aspiring entrepreneurs, with investment costs for the Acai Brothers mobile and smaller format stores sitting around $150,000 and $110,000 respectively.

Carson knows first-hand the struggles of financing a franchise venture. The Acai Brothers co-founder and director was formerly a franchisee for gym chain Snap Fitness, an experience he said has helped to form the foundations of the business.

“Coming through the sole trader to franchisee to franchisor path, it’s had a profound impact on our decision-making,” Carson said.

“The franchisees are our customers, the better they do; they better we do and the better the community is served. It’s an equation that we need to get right.”

Acai Brothers future

While consumers will have to wait at least six months to see the first Acai Brothers mobile outlet hit the road, growth within the existing full-format café network is ongoing. The franchise has reported a 15 per cent increase in sales year on year,

Carson revealed that internal recruitment is expected to deliver a significant return for the superfood franchise.

“Store growth is a huge focus for us, not necessarily exploding to 100 stores really quickly, but instead focusing on our current network and how we can turn them into multi-unit operators,” he said.

“Over the next 12 to 18 months we are looking to open about 12 to 15 stores, which we believe is achievable, but within that, there’s quite a bit of room to grow.”