last updated 22/06/2022
Fast & Fresh
last updated 22/06/2022
The healthy taste of Red Bowl makes Katsubi famous wherever it goes
When Chen Li went shopping at The Base in Hamilton, her favourite place to eat was Katsubi. As a nurse, she knew the value of fresh, healthy food, and once she’d tried their famous Red Bowl, she was hooked. She could see from the queues that others loved the Red Bowl’s combination of traditional slow-cooked flavours with fast service, so she started investigating. In December 2021, Li opened her own Katsubi franchise in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale.
‘Although I had never owned my own business before, my parents are business people and they supported and encouraged me to take up this opportunity,’ explains Li, who is 28. ‘They warned me “It will be hard and a big challenge, but if you make up your mind then you can do it.” And, of course, I had a lot of help and support from the franchise team at Katsubi, who provided really professional training for me and my staff.’
Li says that one special moment before opening made her confident that her new venture would succeed. ‘I was in the store preparing things and a man came up and said was that the Red Bowl logo? I said yes and he told me his wife really loves the food and they couldn’t wait for us to open in Dinsdale. So I knew we would have customers, and there was a real rush when we opened. Now, business is going well and increasing all the time.’
What makes it so popular?
A 100 percent Kiwi-owned family business, Katsubi was founded 20 years ago and now has almost 20 franchised stores in malls and street locations around the country, with more opening all the time.
‘Our Red Bowls combine freshly-cooked meat and healthy vegetables flavoured with our unique Katsubi Sauce,’ explains Zoe Park of Katsubi HQ. ‘This enables people to select their own mix of salads and sauces, then add freshly-cooked hot meats or plant-based options to create the perfect combination for them. It is slow food designed to be served fast!
‘As well as the Red Bowl, we’re famous for our Chicken DAK, crunchy fried 100 percent New Zealand chicken marinated in a special sauce which gives it a delicious tangy, spicy flavour. The recipe is a closely-guarded secret – the chicken is prepared in our own kitchens in Auckland and Christchurch and then cooked on the spot in each store. And we also have Katsubi’s own unique udon and ramen noodle options, as well as a variety of tasty snacks to suit any taste, any time.’
Profitable business model
‘The result is a very successful, very well-established and very profitable business model which has stood the test of time and the challenges of the pandemic,’ Zoe says. ‘After growing through word-of-mouth, we have only just started advertising for the first time and are looking for franchisees for new locations all around New Zealand.
‘The opportunity is open to anyone interested in the hospitality industry with a passion for business and a desire to succeed. You don’t need a food background or a specific skill set as long as you have lots of energy and are willing to learn – this is a very hands-on business.’
Most stores are open 9am-9pm or mall hours, depending on location. Franchisees learn to do the cooking themselves then teach others as the business grows, with well-tried management systems for everything from food preparation and ordering to HR, scheduling and business management. Initial training takes place in Auckland and Christchurch, and then there are regular visits and contact with each franchisee.
‘New franchisees get the benefit of highly-experienced specialists in operations, marketing and planning as their businesses grow,’ Zoe says.
For new franchisees, total investment levels vary according to location and size. In general, the range is between $350,000 and $500,000.
Katsubi’s track record as one of the most successful local franchised eateries in the country means that banks are supportive when it comes to finding finance for the right people, says Zoe. ‘They have seen how successful the business has been over the last 20 years, and how much focus we put on sustainability and profitability to deliver excellent returns for franchisees,’ she explains.
‘Katsubi offers fresh, healthy food for everyone, and has a wide appeal wherever we go, so if you are looking for a business with wide appeal and a long history of success, contact me.’
Six months in, Li speaks very highly of the Katsubi franchise. ‘If you need help or support, it’s there, and the systems really work. If you have a problem, you can sit down with someone and get the help you need. We are all a team and we want Katsubi to grow and take the Red Bowl to the world!’
See this advertorial on page 25 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 31 Issue 2
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