In Focus
FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Find out how Sumo Salad's new brand experience has seen sales soar by 50%

New mantra and big changes in SumoSalad, in an effort to improve food and customer experience. Newly refurbished stores designed to elevate healthy dining gives a glimpse on the chain's new branding and proves to be the right direction for the brand.  

Luke Baylis, founder of SumoSalad shared that their newly designed stores has been seeing 50% increase in sales compared to the unrefurbished stores, this according to him, is due to the brand overhaul and new visual identity of the new store design increasing traffic.

The chain announced a new mantra the chain will be embodying, which will bring about significant change to its current stores, suppliers and menu.

"Food with Purpose," SumoSalad’s new manifesto, takes a holistic approach to healthy food and considers how food is sourced, produced and sold in store. Its old mantra "eat large, stay slim," has now been phased out.

The original manifesto was to bring healthy and accessible food to consumers which the chain has successfully achieved in the last 11 years, now the brand focuses more on the process leading to the final product.

With the chain's operations now geared towards the newly introduced ethos, a long-term plan has been set in place to improve localisation, research and provide free range and ethically sourced produce. The brand will now encourage seasonal eating through menus, provide community support through education and make long-term system wide product improvements.

According to Baylis, the changes has been a great internal challenge for the chain, like on sourcing free range chickens, ethical proteins, sourcing local products, using local tradespeople and engaging with the community.

SumoSalad will be the first QSR to create a direct connection to its supply chain.

Other challenges include the reformulation of food to make it even more nutritious, the integration of cooking stations, entering new supplier agreements, and simplifying its menu.

Training is key to the program, he noted. One example is that the chain takes its staff out to farms where the produce is grown.

EXCITING FOOD OFFERINGS

SumoSalad will be incorporating global trends to its new product lines.

"The challenge has also been to make healthy food exciting," noted Baylis.

The chain has taken cues from the trends and will now be offering items inspired by them. Some of these include dinner (which is something new to SumoSalad) and seasonal produce offerings, adding in 28-hour slow cooked menu items and cold press juices on the menu.

Some global trends Baylis thinks are interesting are Scandinavian food (slow cooking at reduced temperatures), food trucks, cold press, and Korean food, among others.

IMPROVING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

In a bold effort to make the food and store environment more exciting, SumoSalad will be installing hydroponic vertical garden walls at select stores. The installation boasts fresh and seasonal vegetables and herbs, grown and maintained in store and where possible, served in meals.

Store refurbishment is set to go through the entire network of over 100 stores in 3 years.

The new store design will focus on educating customers and its format will be built around modular style with four components, which includes Breakfast and Juices, Theatre of Food/Made to Order, Deli Section, and Individual Hot Pots.

The chain is now starting to incorporate new elements to its current stores and despite the large focus on educating consumer, based on data from the first stores with the new design, the new style is being accepted well and has not slowed down average order times.

SumoSalad aims to have 250 stores across Australia in five years. The chain kicks off its overseas expansion this year in Asia, North and South America. 

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