Interview by Kieran McLoone, deputy editor for Global Franchise.
Odds are, if you’ve been to a supermarket recently, you’ve come across a Sushi Daily franchise. Partnering with Carrefour in France, Spain, and Italy, Albert Heijn in the Netherlands, Waitrose and Asda in the U.K., and other major players throughout the rest of Europe, the brand now operates over 800 kiosks. This means that wherever you go, you can see professional chefs prepping and serving fresh sushi products with a customer-first mentality.
Unlike some major food franchises, however, Sushi Daily has primarily opted for single-unit ownership across the board. We spoke to Ian Roberts of KellyDeli to get the low-down on this unique international model.
KM: Could you explain the reasoning behind sticking to single-unit ownership, despite operating so many franchised locations?
IR: It’s quite simple. Our DNA is about owner-operators; individuals running their own business within a local community. That’s what it’s all about – we believe those people are passionate, they work hard, and they deliver great customer service because it’s their business and it’s personal to them.
We would worry that if we went to a multi-unit franchise, we’d lose some of the clarity and quality that we need in the sushi every day.
That’s why we’ve been more successful: our franchisees drive customer service, hygiene, and numbers.
KM: Are there challenges that come with this approach?
IR: The team who find our partners work extremely hard to find people living in local communities. That’s the challenge: we get lots of enquiries, but we have a rigorous selection process. We’re ultimately rewarded by the quality of the products that they produce and the level of customer service on offer.
It’s not the easiest route to go down, but in the long-run, it’s the best way.
KM: What other unique aspects of the brand do you believe have driven growth?
IR: We have taster sessions at lunchtime and in the evenings, where we give away free product to allow people to taste the wonderful food that we provide. This creates interest in our brand, and that’s how we drive the sales in our sushi.
We’re also pushing our 100 per cent recyclable packing, which is a first in the sushi world. We’re always trying to find ways to cut down waste, and we’re working in partnership with some of the leaders in that space.
KM: How would you distil the appeal of Sushi Daily?
IR: We live and die on the happy partner giving away the happy sushi. It sounds cringey, but it works.
You want the sushi artisans and experts to ask “What’s in there?”, so that you can tell them it’s fantastic salmon from Scotland, with beautiful fresh cucumbers and the excellent blended rice we use for sushi.
You’re keeping it fresh, keeping it innovative, and allowing your partners to grow and be successful.