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

The Australian - The Deal - - News - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JU­LIAN KINGMA

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.”

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