In Focus
LEGAL | Staff Reporter, Australia

‘A clean start': Sumo discusses its future plans, eyes expansion of wellness café concept

CEO Luke Baylis says the healthy fast food chain will see continued growth off a smaller “but more productive” network.

Sumo chief executive officer Luke Baylis has officially returned as the company’s director after creditors voted in favour of his deed of company arrangement.

Last July saw the healthy fast food chain being placed into voluntary administration, stating that the move was part of a long-term strategy to restructure while citing “legacy issues” posing as challenges for the brand.

QSR Media spoke to Baylis, who talked about the brand’s restructuring, the things he has learned during the administration process and the expansion of their Wellness café concept.

QSR Media: What's been happening since the deed of company arrangement (DOCA)?
The DOCA has provided the Sumo business the unique opportunity to address legacy issues in an intensive manner to create a very stable platform for our future business. During this process we have been able to remove non-viable parts of our business and keep the profitable and high performance parts of the business. This essentially provides us a clean start and an incredibly strong platform for future growth.

QSR Media: What were some of the things you’ve learned during the process?
I have been surprised by how much people love the Sumo brand and our purpose to make Australia a healthier nation. I now have a much greater appreciation of how iconic our brand is and how important it is that we exist to serve our purpose.

We have been overwhelmed by the support shown to us to by our customers and other stakeholders. You need to be bold in business and not afraid to make necessary changes, and then you need the resilience to see those changes through.

QSR Media: What can we expect from Sumo in the coming months?
Now that the restructure is complete, you will see continued strong LFL (like-for-like) sales and core business growth off a smaller but more productive network, the launch of wellness ready meals & salads in new channels, and the expansion of the Sumo Wellness café concept.

QSR Media: Can you briefly discuss the wellness cafe model you’ve been trialling?
The Wellness café is a high experience multi daypart offering selling a broader range of fresh healthy products that Sumo is synonymous with. The food, customer ambience, and service are all elevated significantly to create this Wellness experience.

This new format brings value to our customers in more than just product and price. The Sumo wellness café leverages Sumo’s credibility, trust & 90% brand awareness in Wellness. We intend to manage a very controlled rollout with only 3 new cafes planned in the next 12 months.

(Photo credit: SumoSalad Facebook page)

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