Q&A with Chopstix Group
With the food and beverage franchise industry thriving, Chopstix Group has rapidly expanded with more than 50 sites spreading across the UK and Republic of Ireland. We spoke with Max Jenvey about the company and their rise in popularity with the UK consumer.
The Franchise Magazine: Please tell us a little about the company
Max Jenvey: Chopstix Group is an oriental quick-service take away restaurant with more than 50 sites across the UK and Republic of Ireland we offer a unique buying proposition oriented to provide fresher, tastier and healthier fast food options at incredible value for money price points and operator margins. Chopstix’s chefs cook the food on site to ensure each dish is served as fresh as possible which delivers ‘chef theatre’.
TFM: When and why did you decide to become a franchise business?
MJ: Although the concept of Chopstix was conceived more than 20 years ago, it has picked up pace and rapidly expanded in the last five years. Since the first major shopping centre branch opened at Bluewater in 2010, Chopstix has established itself as a high street, shopping centre and motorway services brand. We are working hard to become the UK’s favorite Oriental quick service noodle bar.
Due to this ambition, we are looking for partners to expand our business and to work with us to bring Chopstix to another level. Chopstix’s international strategy has identified France, Germany, Italy, China and the Middle East for new sites as we look towards the rest of the world.
TFM: What differentiates Chopstix from rivals?
MJ: Chopstix franchise & master franchise opportunities offer lucrative business models securing £90,000 profit for an average store and more than 60 per cent profit margin by sustainable growth for investors keen to capitalise in the quick service restaurant sector.
We are proud to say that, after a market analysis, 96 per cent of our customers are satisfied with their Chopstix experience and 94 per cent would recommend our food. We offer our franchise owners a profitable business within a growing market and a selling experience, which delivers customer delight typically in less than a minute. Chopstix provides a comprehensive and exciting franchise journey.
TFM: What sort of person do you think would suit this franchise? What type of skills are required to run a Chopstix franchise?
MJ: Chopstix chooses franchise owners very carefully, whether it’s for a single franchise owner, master franchise or distribution agreement. Firstly, we want to work with motivated people who have an entrepreneurial spirit. The ideal partners for Chopstix are professionals that possess a strong understanding of food to go and retail sectors and the challenges in the QSR market.
Comprehensive support is our promise to all franchise owners, from the initial contact to launch of their first site. Our philosophy is simple: ‘show, learn, do.’ Each member of the franchise owner’s team spends up to four weeks on site training within a Chopstix store.
TFM: What do you think is the most important thing to customers in this industry, and how does Chopstix meet their demands?
MJ: Nowadays, people are time-crunched; they care about their lifestyle and their budget. This is why Chopstix tailors its food and service to offer customers faster, healthier and more affordable tasty Oriental food.
Our customers are our first priority. At Chopstix we believe in spices, in fresh ingredients but most importantly in our chef’s skills and talent in cooking real food, with authentic flavours delivering a healthier faster meal, which is why we do not add MSG to our food.
TFM: How important is a reputable and recognised brand name for customers?
MJ: Reputation and trust are the two single objectives of Chopstix Noodle Bar. It is key that our customers recognise and trust our brand to deliver our promise of faster, healthier and of course fresher food on the move.
Chopstix’s focus is to deliver consistent quality, communication and marketing campaigns that deliver value. Chopstix brand image is only as good as the last meal we serve.
TFM: What is the most satisfying part of running the business?
MJ: The positive and supportive feedback we get from our new and loyal customers time and time again.
We must also mention the outstanding feedback we get from our franchise owners, so much so that the Chopstix brand holds it own against some of the most established QSR global brands, and given the drastically lower capital expenditure for set up we break even within nine months.
This is why we come to work every day, to drive further value for our Chopstix customers and franchise community, passion for customers and passion for Oriental food.
TFM: What are your plans for your business for the rest of 2015?
MJ: Chopstix will focus on consolidating the Irish market, supply chain and menu development. Running in parallel is the UK corporate restaurant roll out, which is currently one new site per month and of course supporting the franchise development programme on an international level.
TFM: Any other information/points you’d like to be included in the piece?
MJ: Chopstix is proud to work with Franchise Development Services Ltd, in addition to UK Trade & Industry, helping us achieve our international franchise expansion programme.