South African-inspired take-out shop and beach-themed bar set to become ‘FRANCHISE WITH A PURPOSE’
Savannah, Georgia (RestaurantNews.com) Zunzi, the popular 16-year-old quick and casual takeout store known for its award-winning South African-inspired sandwiches, announces the launch of a regional franchise program to expand the Savannah, Ga.-based brand – and Zunzibar, its sister concept of a beach bar – in certain south-eastern markets.
“The restaurant industry sucks, and we’re here to change it! Says Chris Smith, co-founder of Zunzi. “As a former Five Guys multi-unit franchisee, I’ve seen how demanding a fast-growing franchise can be. We want our franchisees to be successful not only in the restaurant business, but also in life. Achievement without achievement is the ultimate failure. We want them to wake up each day with a purpose greater than themselves. When they become Zunzi’s + Zunzibar franchisees, they will quickly understand that the path to success begins by serving the stakeholders they impact and making them say SHIT YEAH!
The company will recruit franchisees and develop locations through Zunzi’s Franchising LLC, a newly formed subsidiary. The program focuses on an area of 10 states encompassing Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
“I love this business, but it’s not for the faint of heart,” Smith adds. “We want franchisees to choose to be in this business, understand how difficult it can be, and join our vision to make positive change by solving problems together. When we do this, we create value for our six stakeholders – team, franchisees, fans, community, suppliers and investors – and it’s good business. We want them all to say – “SHIT YEAH! If they don’t say it or feel it, we want them to let us know and we’ll fix it. It is a promise ! This is how we’ve been doing business since 2005, and it’s the secret sauce to our success.
Recruitment of franchisees is overseen by COO Ryan Harrison, who will work closely with Smith. Harrison helped launch Gusto’s catering program, eventually becoming its Director of B2B and Community Development before joining Zunzi’s. Harrison says his number one role is to find franchise partners who not only meet general financial requirements, but also suit Zunzi’s corporate culture, which emphasizes embracing SHIT YEAH! promise and mission to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves.
“The one thing we preach all the time at Zunzi is culture,” says Harrison. “We’re not looking for a franchisee just with deep pockets – we’re looking for someone who embraces our vision, our mission and our promise. We want our franchisees and guests to leave Zunzi shouting our motto: “SHIT YEAH! “”
The franchise program follows the model of the first hybrid Zunzi’s + Zunzibar location which opened earlier this year in Savannah. Zunzibar, which features a beach theme and live music, serves a selection of handcrafted cocktails, frozen drinks, wine, draft and canned beers, as well as a variety of spiked seltzer. Customers can order favorite dishes from Zunzi’s menu from a convenient kiosk or on their phone with QR codes. Zunzi’s also has a convenient window for street traffic and a separate window for online orders and deliveries.
“Full service, QSR and fast casual are under pressure in all directions,” says Smith. “Diners, especially Gen Z and Millennials, are looking for two different things: convenience or experience. Zunzi’s is a take-out, delivery and dining model that ticks the “Netflix & Chill” box.
Zunzi’s food was made for take out and delivery, not the other way around. With the addition of Zunzibar, customers can enjoy Zunzi’s award-winning food while enjoying a unique and elevated bar experience.
“Nothing makes me happier than seeing a guest eat from a take out box while sipping on one of our craft cocktails like our Capetown Tea,” adds Smith. “We’ve taken the best parts of fast food, fast and comprehensive service, and created a business model that will give our franchisees every possible chance to be successful while giving our fans what they want, be it take-out, delivery or fun and casual entertainment. – feedback from the in-store experience.
For Smith, success comes down to a simple philosophy “#GrowToGive – The more we grow, the more we can give. This is part of the basic concept of Zunzi’s + Zunzibar. This is achieved through a monthly store-level experience called Zunzifest! where each of Zunzi’s stakeholders is engaged in a unique way. On the 26th of each month, Zunzi’s is giving away free sandwiches to their fans while teaming up with another nonprofit to donate 26% of the day’s sales.
“It’s such an amazing and exciting experience,” says Smith. “Our salespeople get involved by donating or giving discounts on food and paper, we close the store early and have a team party to let our team connect, our fans love the free sandwiches and it creates this incredible buzz. When our team, fans, community, and suppliers are happy, so are our franchisees and investors. “
For years, Smith has been asked how much he thinks he can take Zunzi’s. “It was always a difficult question to answer. After some introspections, it became clear that a set number of units or sales was not the right answer, ”he says,“ The more you grow your umbrella, the more people you can fit into it. To maximize our growth, we will continue to open locations as long as there are stakeholders we can give to. #GrowToGive will be the driving force that allows us to constantly improve and be motivated to make our stakeholders say “SHIT YEAH! “”
About Zunzi’s + Zunzibar
Zunzi’s opened in 2005 for the sole purpose of filling the stomachs of students at Savannah College of Art & Design with home-cooked food. Since then, Zunzi’s South African-inspired menu has captured the hearts of not only SCAD students, but locals and tourists alike visiting Savannah. By popular demand, Zunzi’s expanded to Atlanta, GA, and opened a second location in May 2018. In 2021, Zunzi’s moved its original location to Savannah and added Zunzibar, its sibling bar concept. Beach. Zunzi’s + Zunzibar is now focusing on further expansion by franchising the hybrid concept in the South East. In 2020, Zunzi co-founder Chris Smith was named one of QSR’s “15 Young Restaurant Chefs to Watch”. In 2019, Zunzi’s landed on the Thrillist compilation of “America’s 33 Best Sandwiches” and Restaurant Conquistador was named Georgia’s Best Sandwich on People magazine’s “Best Sandwiches of All States” list. In 2017, Zunzi secured a spot on Mental Floss’ list of “Best Sandwiches in the 50 States” and “34 Meals That Are Really Worth Traveling the World” by BuzzFeed. Zagat also rated the Savannah location’s food at 4.6 / 5. The Conquistador was named one of the Men’s Journal’s “50 Best Sandwiches in America” in 2015 and “Best Sandwich in the South” by Travel Channel’s Adam Richman in 2012. For more information, photos and menus, visit zunzis.com.