, UK
220 views
Paul Hopper, CEO and founder of HOP Vietnamese. /Photo provided.

How HOP Vietnamese evolved beyond a grab-and-go model

The brand learned consumers have a taste for more menu customisation.

HOP Vietnamese was able to fully embrace the digitisation of its business by enabling ordering via digital kiosks and adopting a click-and-collect service when the pandemic hit. It took this as a sign to reevaluate its business model moving forward and to establish where the business should now need to position itself.

Paul Hopper, CEO and founder of HOP Vietnamese told QSR Media that the group decided that the best way to move forward was to adopt a fully tech-driven business model.

HOP Vietnamese was first conceptualised after Paul spent some time exploring Asia and its cuisine.  Vietnamese food really stood out for him and he saw that there was a huge opportunity to create a quick-service Vietnamese concept for time-poor city workers who wanted something fast and delicious for lunch.  

During the pandemic, HOP Vietnamese was able to fully digitalise their operation, allowing them to continue to trade. Post-pandemic consumer behaviours changed again with an appetite for more menu customisation which was a very different model to what HOP were used to trading with.

30% to 40% of all transaction requests were about customising dishes. /Photo provided.

 

“It got to the point where roughly 30% to 40% of all transaction requests were about customising dishes. This was a big trend that started to snowball and we thought we needed to somehow change the business model to embrace this change in consumer behaviour because we weren’t initially set up for this. We operated as a pre-made menu offer without the ability for customisation. Paul explained.

Thinking fast, they completely overhauled the business to be driven by a digital ordering kiosk model allowing faster ordering and higher throughput. 

“By embracing technology we have dramatically increased our daily sales and the amount of guests we are able to serve on a daily basis as well as reducing labour costs making us a much slicker and effective business”. 

Paul also added that profitability also went up from 10% to around 20%.

Inflation and consumer trends

Inflation and higher cost of living should have deterred most consumers from buying or would force many to trade down but that doesn’t seem to be the case as two in five consumers would still visit pubs, bars, and restaurants even if their disposable income would be cut further, a report by CGA by NIQ revealed

READ MORE: Here’s why consumers are still eating out despite the cost of living crisis

On the ground, Paul said they noticed consumers still have pent-up demand to visit restaurants even if it does mean spending more and are now forgoing visiting their usual places in order to treat themselves. 

“Through speaking to our guests and doing surveys, we found out that most of our customers visit at most once per week or on average once every two weeks. It was surprising because that wasn’t how we set up the business”.

Future plans

Currently, HOP Vietnamese has two restaurants in London with a third opening next week in Bond Street station and a fourth opening in September in Manchester - the first outside of London for the brand. 

“I've always thought at some point, I would love to take the brand up north. But it had to be the right place. Manchester is like a second London - it’s a food Mecca. There's a lot of appetite for new and exciting cuisines there. And one place in particular, that stands out where everybody that I know who operates similar businesses trades well, is the Trafford Centre,” Paul explained.

Restaurant concept for HOP Vietnamese. /Photo provided.

As for the menu, Paul said they have developed an extensive range of treats from various Vietnamese iced coffee flavours as well as hopping on the bubble tea train. Their restaurant at the Trafford Centre will also sell soft-serve ice cream and offer a kid's menus which will support targeting a younger demographic frequenting the location. 

READ MORE: Hop Vietnamese drops eight new items in menu

“We spent the last 12 months getting frameworks in place for rapid expansion. We know what it takes to scale a brand like this. And it's difficult to do it without resources in place. That’s why getting a team together with the same vision is important. We hired Richard Franks as our Managing Director last year. Richard has operated businesses before with over 100 locations. We all recently appointed a head of operations as well as a people team, who look after all of our recruitment and onboarding as well as a New Store Openings Manager who is responsible for supporting our rapid growth.  We've now got the resources in place to really push the accelerator for growth,” Paul said.

HOP Vietnamese will have three new openings this year with a target to open five or six restaurants a year moving forward. 

Follow the link for more news on

Join QSR Media UK community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!