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MissChu charts expansion following collapse

Misschu_SouthYarraMisschu is set to expand nationally with a brand relaunch.

Managing director Gabi Machado has joined forces with DC Strategy consultants to expand the misschu tuckshop network from three to 50 over the next five-plus years.

The misschu team are determined to do things differently with the roll-out, growing the business with a “fresh mindset’” and ‘”real discipline” to ensure that each new location has a genuine feel and atmosphere for employees and customers.

With a background in private equity, Machado approached the founder of misschu, Nahji Chu, in mid-2010 to bring her popular Sydney-based Vietnamese concept to Melbourne. The business has suffered some hardships in the past, having entered voluntary administration in 2014. The Melbourne and London branches were reportedly not affected by this at the time.

“I think it was a combination of things. The business grew too fast without having the right systems in place, both financial and operational,” said Machado on past hardship. “The opening of a tuckshop in London was a distraction and a big expense and I think the operating model, having a central kitchen, can be very difficult to make work.  We are structuring things very differently and have spent time putting the right systems and procedures in place to ensure that each tuckshop is well supported to be able to execute to the right standards.”

Machado is being ‘cautiously’ optimistic but is excited about the expansion plans and feels that this is a great time to roll-out a high-street concept, with relatively high retail vacancy rates creating good site opportunities and with home delivery forecast to grow rapidly over the next 10 years.

“We are currently in discussions with several potential tuckshop owners. Our ideal candidates are individuals and couples who are passionate about healthy food and lifestyles, understand the importance of customer experience and can remain cool and calm under pressure,” said Machado.

Consultants DC Strategy have had their eye on misschu since the early days and Director of Recruitment James Young sees the misschu brand and offering as something quite special.

“When it kicked off in 2009, misschu really set the scene for urban street-food brands. The food offering is inspired by Vietnamese and Chinese flavours but the menu is quite unique to misschu. The brand itself is quirky, fun and easy to fall in love with. We are already getting really good traction with this exciting opportunity,” Young said.

New tuckshops will receive direct supply of fresh seafood, vegetables, meat and poultry from local suppliers and will continue to wok-to-order. Continual innovation in every aspect of the business and retaining a freshly cooked product are seen as key points of difference in the roll-out space.

“We would like to see a 50-strong-network across Australia over the next five-plus years. However, maintaining food quality and a consistently great customer experience will be our priority ahead of growth,” Young added.

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