Boost Juice founder Janine Allis on her move into Mexican food
The good thing about eating food, as Boost Juice founder Janine Allis says, is that you can’t do it online, writes Glenda Korporaal
JANINE ALLIS, WHO FOUNDED fresh fruit juice company Boost Juice with a shop in Adelaide 14 years ago next month, now has a thriving line of business in Mexican food with a chain called Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill. Her company, Retail Zoo, is also expanding into a coffee shop line called Cibo Express and Hatch Chicken Shop, which does takeaway chickens and salads.
“Retailing has been under pressure because of the growth of online shopping but when it comes to eating food you can’t do it online,” says Allis, photographed right at Salsa’s restaurant in Melbourne’s Jam Factory.
“It meanswe are not as affected by the change in trends as the fashion industry or the luxury goods industry, which is really fortunate.”
Allis’s success in the food business led BRW magazine to estimate her wealth at $60 million last year. The stores under theRetailZoo umbrella are expected to turn over more than $280min the
current financial year, with $150m coming from
Boost Juice outlets in Australia and more than
$50m from Salsa’s.
Retail Zoo, partly owned by Allis and her husband Jeff and US private equity investors, bought theMexican food concept 3½ years ago and now has 50 Salsa stores around the country. “We now have a critical mass with Salsa’s and we are targeting 60 stores by the end of the year,” she says.
Allis says Salsa’s has fine-tuned the “taste profile” of its food at Salsa’s to emphasise light flavours suchas lime, coriander, mangoandchicken rather than beans and other heavy ingredients. It has also toned down the chilli quotient and promoted lower calorie products.
The company has been expanding overseas
and now has 50 Boost Juice stores in countries from Britain, South Africa, Russia and India to Malaysia with plans to expand into China. Boost International’s revenues are expected to rise by almost 30 per cent to more than $20m this year.
“We are slowly but surely achieving our goal of being the most loved and known brand in the world,” Allis says.
There have been rumours of another private equity fund looking to buy into the company. Allis says that private equity investors always look for an exit at some point, but she and her husband,
who still ownmore than 25 per cent of RetailZoo,
plan to be involved with the company for a long
time to come. “We will continue to move forward
in the business no matter what happens.”