SumoSalad ditches the food court

Sarah Stowe

Which sites are now on the radar? Inside Franchise Business: SumoSalad is exploring new horizons.

SumoSalad plans to open new stores in locations such as hospitals, transport hubs and universities, under a new strategy aimed at taking advantage of growing consumer demand for healthier foods.

Under the strategy, SumoSalad will progressively move its stores currently situated in shopping centre food courts to new locations that are more in line with the brand, according to chief executive Luke Baylis.

“The move away from food courts is one we have been considering for some time but it’s only become a reality following the trialling of pilot sites of Sumo outlets in new strategic locations, such as the Caltex  ‘Foodary’ in Concord, as well as two hospital sites, and two universities within the last 12 months, which has been a huge success,” he said.

“Our brand is all about making healthy food available to all Australians. Our customers have been telling us that there are other, more suitable places where they want our stores to be, including transport hubs, universities and colleges and also hospitals.”

Baylis said SumoSalad was looking at closing up to 10 stores currently located in food courts across Australia over the next year as trading conditions in food courts continued to incur severe cannibalisation from other fast food outlets within the same shopping centres.

He said  Sumo was expected to reopen in more appropriate locations with its enhanced and award winning new concept stores during that time.

“There are currently 108 SumoSalad outlets operating and we expect total store numbers to grow to approximately 115 locations “ he added.

He said the strategy had the support of franchisees. Sumo has also employed leasing firm The Urban Food Collective to assist in the execution of this transformational strategy.

In the next three months, SumoSalad will be opening further stores at Sydney International Airport Terminal, at the Virgin Terminal in Melbourne, Monash University, as well as more Caltex sites. SumoSalad will also be launching its pilot of direct to home and office delivery service.

“At SumoSalad we are completely focused meeting our changing consumers’ needs by making our food more convenient, and even better value,” said Baylis.

“This new direction is a way for us to continue to fulfil our mission of making great tasting, nutritious food accessible, which is a huge issue affecting millions of Australians at the moment as we continue to be inundated with low cost junk food.

“We want take Australia off the podium of being one of the world’s fattest nations. We take this matter very seriously and see the solution as encouraging socially responsible private enterprise to make better food choices more readily available.”