It’s been a little less than a year since it opened, but Fresh 50 has already expanded. The Downtown fast-casual Asian fusion restaurant is now complimented with a suburban counterpart located at 4782 Morse Crossing near Gahanna, which opened on September 20th.
We spoke recently with new Fresh 50 business partner Vincent Yoder to find out more about the new store and the rapid expansion plans that are in store for the brand. Our full Q&A can be found below:
Q: How has the concept of Fresh 50 been received so far in the original Downtown location?
A: Downtown is interesting. That location started out extremely well and business was great for the first while. Even though that’s a good thing, it got just a little ahead of itself, almost like trying to run before it could learn to walk. Some mistakes were made early on and I think that really hurt the brand. Moving forward though, the mistakes were learned from in order to pull the business up to where it is now, doing very well.
Q: Have you guys always planned on expanding the concept into multiple locations?
A: Yes, Jo has always had it in his vision to progress to a multi-chain concept for Fresh50. Of course, that has also been my vision for Fresh50, since joining Jo a couple months ago.
Q: Will the new Gahanna location offer the same menu as Downtown, or something different?
A: Right now we’re trying to standardize the food as quickly as possible. If we’re going to make that next step with the third and fourth stores, it’s paramount that the menu and other aspects become standardized. New menu items and changes are always a topic of discussion between the two of us, but we also understand that it’s necessary to make things simple for the customers. Like right now, a big menu item we’re grappling with is if we should try to establish a stronger family presence on the menu by providing special kids options. This might mean we simply just offer a smaller portion price or it could lead to some new menu additions. It’s all a fast learning process right now, getting rapid feedback and implementing the changes needed.
Q: What are the hours/days of operation of the new location in Gahanna?
A: The hours are definitely a work in progress, being that this location has a more diverse customer base. Downtown pretty much just capitalizes on the business lunch rush, which is a big reason for this location. A suburban location such as this brings us far more potential with a dinner and really good weekend crowd. Right now we have our hours at 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mon-Sat. 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Q: Are there any specific areas or neighborhoods you’re interested in opening in the future?
A: We want to reach multiple locations as soon as possible, but we are also staying disciplined in our start up capital. As far as any neighborhoods we’re looking at, the best I can answer that is, “anywhere that makes sense”. We feel our food and concept are strong enough that we could put a location pretty much anywhere you see a Chipotle or Piada or other similar type of restaurant. No stone will be left unturned. If we see a good opportunity present itself, we will find a way to make it happen.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: As we are working on establishing this location and working on others, we try to always keep the “lean start-up” mindset and bootstrap as much as possible. If you really stop and study all the restaurants and businesses in general that go out of business within a year or two, you see a common pattern. There’s a real lack of preparation and foresight into how the numbers work. Cashflow is King.
More information can be found online at www.fresh50.com.