Brazilian Acai Model Oakberry Accelerates U.S. Franchise Enlargement | Franchise Information

The US is “the place the large boys play,” mentioned Georgios Frangulis, which is why the founder and CEO of Brazilian acai bowl idea Oakberry recognized the nation as a key enlargement market from the start.

“The American market, it’s 20 instances larger than the Brazilian market, on a franchise stage,” Frangulis mentioned, nevertheless it’s no simple process to realize a foothold amid intense competitors and skepticism from landlords who in 2016 had by no means heard of Oakberry. That’s when Frangulis, who had two shops open in Sao Paulo, first tried to enter the U.S. however mentioned he couldn’t persuade landlords to take an opportunity on an unknown model.

Within the years since, he’s expanded in Brazil to the tune of 300-plus shops, added greater than 200 in quite a few different international locations equivalent to Portugal, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, and with franchisee Joao Paulo Bianchini not too long ago opened the seventh Oakberry in California.

Brazilians have been consuming acai for many years, however the berry didn’t begin exhibiting up on menus within the U.S. till the early 2000s earlier than gaining reputation on social media and, ultimately, turning into the core menu merchandise for quite a few franchises equivalent to Playa Bowls, Vitality Bowls, Everbowl and extra.Frangulis mentioned Oakberry’s intense give attention to high quality and its easy mannequin are key differentiators in a crowded area.

Georgios Frangulis-Oakberry

Georgios Frangulis, Oakberry’s founder and CEO. 

Oakberry, which makes use of natural acai pulp, natural brown sugar and natural blue agave syrup in its merchandise, is “totally verticalized,” mentioned Frangulis, and controls its provide chain from “sourcing within the Amazon to the bowl within the retailer.” Oakberry makes use of its personal particular recipe, freed from preservatives and dyes, and the mannequin is “standardized as quick meals however made wholesome” to enchantment to customers as an possibility pre- or post-workout, for lunch, a snack and even dinner.

A typical retailer is roughly 500 sq. toes, with an preliminary funding vary of $100,000 to $320,000. “It’s a quite simple operation with a quite simple setup and it’s one thing that may go to market in 45 to 60 days from signing the settlement,” mentioned Frangulis.

Born and raised in Brazil, Frangulis went to legislation faculty however mentioned he knew he’d by no means be a lawyer. Reasonably, he thought a legislation diploma would show helpful as he pursued actual property investing in Miami after which a profession in eating places. It was a go to to California in 2014 that sparked the concept for Oakberry as he noticed a chance to “create a class out of acai.”

The Oakberry title was devised to evoke each a connection to the acai berry but additionally stand by itself as a world model. “‘Oak’ has a that means of energy, confidence, toughness for the English native speaker,” Frangulis mentioned. “And it was essential to have the ability to safe the IP in all our markets and be capable of construct a model round it. Nations like Saudi Arabia, many others, have by no means seen acai earlier than, so it’s a chance for the title to create a distinct class.”

Joao Paulo Bianchini-Oakberry

Franchisee Joao Paulo Bianchini is creating Oakberry in Southern California.

Because the franchisee creating Southern California, Bianchini, additionally from Brazil, mentioned he was drawn to Oakberry’s genuine product and environment friendly retailer dimension. “I like how Oakberry can function in a really small footprint. Meaning much less overhead, much less hire,” he mentioned. The smoothies and bowls, in the meantime, enchantment to customers of any age and the expertise “turns into a part of individuals’s routines.”

He opened Oakberry’s new flagship location in Venice Seashore in April, and with places in malls, strip facilities and on the Hermosa Seashore pier, Bianchini mentioned the mannequin works nicely in various kinds of actual property. “It appeals to very various kinds of prospects,” he mentioned.

Bianchini was himself an Oakberry buyer when he lived in Brazil, the place he operated gyms and occasional outlets. Coming to California he noticed a health-oriented client base that he believed would welcome Oakberry. He now has seven shops and is working to open a further eight.

“We’re rising quite a bit. Persons are liking it,” he mentioned of creating the model since 2021. “We’re very pleased with the efficiency.”

California is thus far Oakberry’s largest market. It additionally has 4 shops in Florida to go together with models in Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., with franchisees in these and different states getting ready to open extra places, mentioned Frangulis.

To assist drive U.S. enlargement, Frangulis introduced on Bruno Cardinali, former chief advertising and marketing officer at Popeyes, and Leandro Gasparin, who spent eight years at Restaurant Manufacturers Worldwide in varied worldwide franchise growth roles.