2018 marks a new adventure for the misschu brand as it plans to re-launch across the country
misschu 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.
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. There was only one misschu tuckshop in Darlinghurst NSW at that time but Machado saw enormous potential for the business.
“I looked at a number food businesses in my private equity days but had little direct hospitality experience, so the learning curve was very steep. With a passion for food, I happily swapped my suit for an apron and stepped into the misschu kitchen in Darlinghurst to start learning the ropes and documenting all the processes and recipes so I could establish the brand in Melbourne,” he says.
Working closely with interior designer Kano Hollamby, Machado opened the first Melbourne misschu tuckshop in early 2011. The original takeaway-only format was modified for the Melbourne climate to include a dining room and bar with a new design inspired by the laneways of Hanoi. The Melbourne operations have since grown organically to three locations.
“Melbourne has always been separately owned and operated, and our Tuckshops have continued to perform very well despite the issues with the Sydney business. We had the opportunity to acquire the misschu brand rights last year and are excited to be poised to fulfil the brand’s potential,” says Machado.
In collaboration with DC Strategy, the misschu business will grow by partnering with owner operators who have a passion for hospitality and who are looking for a strong concept.
“We are currently in discussions with several potential Tuckshop Owners. Our ideal candidates are individuals and couples who will live and breathe misschu, are passionate about healthy food and lifestyles, understand the importance of customer experience and can remain cool and calm under pressure,” he says.
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 says.
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.
Machado and Hollamby are adamant that they won’t be taking a cookie cutter approach to design nor site selection. “It’s really important to us that each misschu tuckshop has character and is authentic in experience.” explains Machado.
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.
While being cautiously optimistic, Machado is excited about the expansion plans and feels that this is a great time to roll-out a high-street concept, with home delivery becoming mainstream and relatively high retail vacancy rates creating good site opportunities.
“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.”