Take away food is often interpreted as being unhealthy, however local business, Sumo Salad, is providing a healthy and popular alternative in the competitive fast food industry.
In 2006, Ze-Min Chua and business partner, Angela Ramsay, discovered a Sumo Salad store operating in Melbourne’s CBD and after doing some research, they realised that there was nothing of its kind operating in Adelaide.
This led to the opening of Adelaide’s first Sumo Salad store in the Myer Centre Adelaide in July 2007 and today Min operates three stores in Adelaide’s CBD.
“Following the opening of the Myer store, we also opened a City Cross Store in December 2007 and the Adelaide Central Plaza store in December 2010,” Min said.
“Between our three stores, we employ over 40 people and annual turnover is fast approaching $3 million.”
Sumo Salad provides healthy take away fast food - salads, wraps, rolls, soups and yoghurts.
“We try to put out a different selection every day to keep it interesting,” Min added.
“We also provide any menu item as part of our catering service and have catered for social club days, corporate lunches, large family BBQs and even a wedding!”
Min said that growing awareness in the community about the importance of a healthy diet had been beneficial to his business.
“I think there has been a slight shift towards healthier eating recently but there is still a way to go,” he said.
“This has been driven by more public awareness around the issues of childhood and adult obesity due to government campaigns and reality TV shows such as The Biggest Loser and You Are What You Eat.”
Identifying the opportunity to provide customers with alternative healthy meal options in food courts has also been a key factor in Sumo Salad’s success.
“Our offering is such a contrast to most other foods available in a food court, it tastes great, it’s good for you and it’s served to you by our fantastic crew!”
Min said that while he is looking at other potential sites to set up new business, there were a number of challenges being faced in today’s challenging economic environment.
“Our current challenges include the rising costs of input food items and softer sales due to the current economic climate in which there has been a drop in disposable income.”
With Sumo Salad stores now operating throughout the country, Min and his team received a major accolade in 2010 when the Myer Adelaide store was awarded the Store of the Season for best operated store in the country.
Min said he keeps in regular contact with the franchisee of Adelaide’s only other Sumo Salad store, located at Marion shopping centre, and he has been on the Sumo Salad Franchise Advisory Council representing South Australia, Victoria and the ACT since 2009.
Having other Sumo Salad franchises across Australia has also provided many benefits for the local outlets.
“Being part of a national franchise provides extra business, operational and marketing support, along with group buying power and a network of other franchisees to relate to,” Min said.
With three stores in Adelaide’s CBD, Min said a major highlight had been some of the customers which have sought out the Sumo Salad menu.
“A highlight of our Sumo Salad career so far has to be making lunch for Jen Hawkins and her models when they came to Adelaide for the Myer Fashion launches,” he said.
“For the record, she had a Chicken Low GI salad, diet Coke, water and pineapple juice!
“We have also made lunch for the Australia’s Next Top Model crew and have served members of the Australian Cricket Team, the Australian Diamonds (netball), and a raft of other celebrities!”