Canadian healthy food chain Freshii set to open first Australian store in Perth: Three things you need to know about the charismatic founder

salad bar

Healthy fast food may seem like a paradox, but Canadian franchise chain Freshii is hoping to show Australian’s the light, with a landmark store opening in Perth in the next few months.

Based out of the food court in major Perth shopping centre Carillion City, Freshii will look to test the waters in the Australian market, reports Inside Retail. Freshii specialises in salads, wraps, burritos, soups and a range of smoothies.

Craig Olde from CBRE, the real estate firm who handled the lease for the Freshii shop Carillion City, told SmartCompany Freshii is planning a “reasonably aggressive” expansion strategy in Australia following the opening of the Perth store, which is expected to happen within the next 30 days.

“They’ve got four or five stores in the pipeline for Perth, so they should all be popping up within the next six months,” Olde says.

“I believe there’s plans to take it national, a local entrepreneur has taken on the franchise.”

Freshii made a name for itself in the Canadian and US markets after founder and chief executive Matthew Corrin published an open letter to McDonalds in a bid to develop a partnership with the fast food giant. Thirty-five-year-old Corrin was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2011 and has a number of claims to fame.

Here are three things you should know about the Freshii founder ahead of the chain’s expected Australian expansion.

Fashion before Freshii

Corrin’s road to entrepreneurship started in an unusual position, graduating the University of Western Ontario and moving to New York to intern on The Late Show with David Letterman. Later, Corrin took on a job with international fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

Corrin’s talents didn’t lie in fashion design however, as he undertook public relations for the famous brand.

Corrin started Freshii in 2005 because he was sick of eating lunch in greasy delis during his work week, telling Inc: “I thought the service, the branding, and the food was lacklustre.”

Freshii’s first week of operating didn’t go smoothly though, with the head chef slicing his finger, a kitchen manager breaking his nose, and an employee stealing the store’s takings, he told The Globe and Mail.

A master of sleep

Corrin’s busy lifestyle leaves him little time for sleeping after managing a brand with stores in over 75 cities and 15 countries, not to mention spending time with his wife, two daughters and a dog. Due to this, he claims to have mastered the four-hour-a-night sleep.

In a tell-all with FastCompany, Corrin described his unique sleeping pattern, where he would break his 24-hour day into two 12-hour ‘days’, and adjust his sleep appropriately.

“I basically decided to split my day in half. Instead of one 24-hour day, I’d have two 12-hour days,” he said.

“I was actually tricking my body, brain, and my circadian rhythm, by doing things I was used to doing during the morning, afternoon, and night.”

Corrin doesn’t always undertake such drastic sleeping patterns, claiming he can only manage the routine for about five days in a row. He’s instead taken to coffee to keep himself powered up, claiming: “I never had a sip of coffee before I opened the first Freshii location, now I basically have 10 shots of espresso a day”.

Humble offerings to the big players

Freshii’s rise to notoriety was helped in part by Corrin’s open letter to McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook, offering McDonald’s an in-store Freshii outlet, which would be 100% refunded if the outlet did not improve sales.

“Imagine a world where every standalone McDonald’s, every highway rest stop and campus location, offers fresh salad bowls, quinoa, whole grain wraps and pressed juices,” Corrin wrote in the letter, which was published last year.

Corrin calculated a McDonald’s store with a co-branded Freshii outlet would improve sales by 30% and annual profits by US$250,000.

“I urge you to do something bold in your first year as CEO of the largest restaurant chain in the world. You’ll be ‘loving it’, and America’s waistline, and your bottom line, will both be the winners.”

McDonalds has still not responded to the letter.

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Elaine Fardell
Elaine Fardell
4 years ago

How local is the produce he is offering? Fresh is good and I applaud it but if we are shipping produce half way across the world its a) not so fresh and b) uses up fossil fules to get it here. Organic would be even better!