Inside Franchise Business - - Contents -

Gal­lic charm meets Euro­pean tastes in this new food fran­chise.

As the Delisse take­away brand gears up for ex­pan­sion, founder Mathieu Thomas says fran­chis­ing is the pre­ferred op­tion:

“We need peo­ple who will treat it as their own”.

Gal­lic-in­spired Delisse is a take­away chain of­fer­ing breakfasts and lunches, and just a lit­tle ooh la la. The muse has been sub­tly trans­lated into de­sign – clas­sic white bricks and bas­kets that echo the sim­plic­ity of a French fresh­food mar­ket. That sub­tle hint of Euro­pean style is at the fore­front of the food of­fer. When Mathieu Thomas set up in busi­ness, his aim was to of­fer busy cor­po­rate work­ers a con­ve­nient, fast lunchtime ser­vice with a fo­cus on qual­ity and taste. The con­cept was based on his own ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing as a man­age­ment con­sul­tant, first in France then in Aus­tralia, where he spot­ted a gap for a take­away lunch with a dif­fer­ence.

He opened the first store in Sydney’s Martin Place in 2013. He read­ily ad­mits not to hav­ing had any food re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence, but teamed up with a hospi­tal­ity vet­eran of 35 years to help bring the project to life.

“I wanted to do some­thing for my­self, some­thing where I could see the out­come. This was a con­cept where I could see re­sults ‒ food and re­tail is quite ob­vi­ous,” says Thomas. The busi­ness com­bines his cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, his French her­itage and the need in the mar­ket for “a bit of di­ver­sity”.

“There was room for some­thing with a bit more au­then­tic­ity. I knew how Sydney was grow­ing and could see the shop­ping cen­tres were plan­ning sig­nif­i­cant changes to bring food on board, so I thought it would be pos­si­ble if we had the right con­cept … some­thing not too dif­fer­ent or ex­treme. If it’s too niche you can’t sur­vive. Peo­ple don’t have time to un­der­stand some­thing too dif­fer­ent.”


Delisse has taken what works in the Aus­tralian mar­ket and given it a twist, us­ing mainly Euro­pean in­gre­di­ents such as Ital­ian, French and Span­ish hams and cheeses, and baguettes.

Break­fast is a strong part of the busi­ness, says Thomas. “Cof­fee is a given, but we also have pas­tries and french toast. We use a baguette, so the toast is slightly dif­fer­ent.”

Thomas says the food needs to be in­ter­est­ing enough to pull peo­ple in. “It has to be a value propo­si­tion for your clients to push them to walk an ex­tra 20 me­tres.” And it is achieved through an un­com­pro­mis­ing ap­proach to food qual­ity.

How­ever, el­e­vat­ing au­then­tic Euro­pean deli items over lo­cal sta­ples comes at a price, and Delisse deals with higher in­gre­di­ent costs by be­ing eco­nom­i­cal with size. In­stead of us­ing 200g of Aus­tralian cheese, the busi­ness model is based on serv­ing 100g or 150g of French cheese in a sand­wich.

Now the busi­ness is grow­ing Delisse can buy in bulk. The devel­op­ment of a cen­tral kitchen has also boosted ef­fi­cien­cies, with out­let staff sim­ply putting the fi­nal touches.

“We try to find the best bal­ance of econ­omy with scale through us­ing the kitchen. We can grow more quickly and man­age the qual­ity bet­ter. We al­ways wanted to grow. We need scale to be more ef­fi­cient, and fran­chis­ing was one way.

“It’s hard to find man­agers who can run things with ex­treme ef­fi­ciency with the care fac­tor that’s needed. It takes six months to find the right team. We need to have peo­ple who will treat it as their own, so fran­chis­ing is the pre­ferred op­tion.”


He is look­ing for fran­chisees with per­son­al­ity, owner-op­er­a­tors who will run their out­let on a daily ba­sis, who have busi­ness skills and un­der­stand the num­bers in­volved, and will bring a strong cus­tomer fo­cus that en­sures they will go “above and be­yond”.

Thomas is ramp­ing up the re­cruit­ment. One site has al­ready been se­cured that will be re­de­vel­oped by next au­tumn, and he’s seek­ing to match fran­chisees and sites for next year. At the mo­ment the Delisse lo­ca­tions mean the busi­ness is pri­mar­ily a five-days-a-week of­fer, but sales show that a $25,000 turnover can be achieved over five days in a 40 to 45sqm site. “That’s the beauty of Delisse,” says Thomas, “it trades strongly in the morn­ing and at lunchtime.”

Be­cause of the cen­tral kitchen, the costs of set­ting up a take­away out­let are less than other mod­els. The only re­quire­ments are a cool room, an oven and a counter, says Thomas.

There are now three out­lets in the Sydney CBD, one with seat­ing. As the brand moves into fur­ther growth through fran­chis­ing, the of­fer will be purely take­away to al­low for a fo­cus on sales. The out­lets (kiosks or in-line food spa­ces) will be de­signed to max­imise ef­fi­ciency. The ideal lo­ca­tions have a heavy foot­fall, such as busy food courts and trans­port hubs.

Thomas has a goal of dou­bling the out­lets to six within 12 months, in cen­tral Sydney and North Sydney. He then ex­pects the rate of ex­pan­sion to in­crease with a store net­work of 25 be­ing the five-year plan … just within the Sydney metro area.

As yet the brand is not in any ma­jor shop­ping cen­tres, but these are part of the growth strat­egy. “Of course we need to be ex­tremely vig­i­lant about rents,” says Thomas. “But the more at­trac­tive your busi­ness, the bet­ter the deals, and we are find­ing lenders are pretty keen to give us fit-out con­tri­bu­tions.”

Find­ing the right lo­ca­tion is one of two es­sen­tial el­e­ments Thomas has iden­ti­fied as risky, so he has ap­pointed a leas­ing agent to search and ne­go­ti­ate for the best sites. He has sought help from a fran­chise lawyer as well so he can be con­fi­dent the fran­chise agree­ment serves the fran­chise re­la­tion­ship and sets clear ex­pec­ta­tions from the start.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.