Healthy Herbal Protein Smoothies at Petaling Jaya – Health Guild News


When Randall Wong had to stop operations at his boutique gym Damansara Uptown (DU) during the pandemic, his priority was not to keep the small business, but to pursue a new income adventure.

He explored the news about the effects of the pandemic on the health and fitness sector and came across the rise of awareness for nutrition.

Although he had no experience in cooking healthy foods, he had knowledge in the preparation of protein shakes, which is also suitable for the most health conscious. In August 2020, after more than three decades preparing the drink daily for him, he began making it for other people through his new company, Shakeasy Bar (Shakeasy), a cafe inside the gym.

Shaking the smoothie industry

On the surface, Shakeasy looks like another juice bar. Go a little deeper and you will notice that all the drinks on offer are vegetable with soy protein isolate. Often used in the fitness world to gain muscle mass, protein isolate is a dietary supplement extracted from whey and in general considered lactose free.

Each cup contains 650 ml of smoothie and costs between RM19-RM25 per smoothie / Image credit: Shakeasy Bar

While the local protein shake market is by no means a blue ocean, protein shakes are still harder to find. Increases the juice it has its own range of protein shakes, but other than that, there is a noticeable shortage of players basing their entire business on herbal protein shakes.

Protein shakes out there mostly gym-hungry people who work in bulk. But since they’re not always vegetables and greens, Randall saw Shaekeasy’s opportunity to cater to a market beyond fitness enthusiasts.

Aside from being a healthy snack option, he explained that Shakeasy products can also be taken as a food substitute. It would be primarily for workers who sacrifice nutrition to adapt to their busy lifestyles, as the founder had experienced before.

As with any other liquid-based food substitution, they should not substitute more than one meal a day. It is best to continue consuming regular food for the rest of the meals to stay healthy. While smoothies provide nutrients that may be lacking in traditional foods, the opposite is also true. Therefore, a balance of both is needed.

Plan a post-pandemic future

Randall reported that while the R&D of Shakeasy smoothies was relatively straightforward, as the company does not produce its own ingredients, the cost of obtaining third-party raw materials increased the cost.

Starting Shakeasy at his gym meant spending Rs 70,000 on the facility plus renovations, funded by Randall’s business partners. While it is much lower than the initial capital injected to start your gym, it remains a high investment for a business that follows a welfare trend that may not appeal to the mass market.

However, if Randall can maintain Shakeasy’s presence to cater to attendees at DU’s post-pandemic gym, which has boutique fitness centers and a chain of gyms within the mall, his company should maintain its relevance. In addition, Shakeasy has the advantage of being surrounded by many offices, allowing workers to grab one of their smoothies as a food substitute for convenience occasionally.

The coffee that was refurbished before it happened MCO 2.0 / Image Credit: Shakeasy Bar

As dinners remain closed at this time, Shakeasy is focusing on distribution channels and social media to create its brand presence. Aimed primarily at millennials, it markets the brand primarily through Facebook ads, then Instagram and Google.

With this approach, it has sold more than 1,800 cups of smoothies from January to July 2021, with 65% of them returning customers from the target market. Randall also shared his gratitude for his gym members who formed Shakeasy’s customer base from day one.

Driving rapid expansion

One thing that surprised me about Shakeasy was the fact that it’s only a year old, but it already has 2 outlets outside of DU. Randall explained that the Bandar Sri Permaisuri and Sungai Besi stores are operated by independent owners who were interested in Shakeasy’s business model.

“The business model drew them into the Shakeasy Bar, as it has a low initial start-up cost and a relatively simple learning curve,” Randall said, adding that it does not charge a fee or commission for other owners.

Each staff is trained on smoothie recipes / Image Credit: Shakeasy Bar

In addition, Shakeasy will provide support, product knowledge and free training to interested owners who want to sell protein shakes under the brand. These steps are standard for licensing / franchise offerings in the industry to maintain product consistency.

While it presents a quick opportunity to expand, Shakeasy should be careful when choosing who to collaborate with, as mismanagement can damage the overall reputation of the company. Also, because vegetable smoothies can only attract a niche market, location is important to Shakeasy’s success.

But Randall isn’t too worried and relies on current locations. “Both Bandar Sri Permaisuri and Chan Sow Lin, Sungai Besi, are mature markets, but many around are young working adults and a radius of 10 km. [for food deliveries] it’s already good coverage. “

The founder also ensures that marketing is consistent and manages the social networks of the three outlets himself. Once the pandemic is over, when dinners and gyms are re-operated, Randall plans to run Shakeasy as a coffee shop inside his DU gym once he is safe again. As for new expansions, he shared that these discussions are still brewing in the background with potential employers.

  • You can find more information about Shakeasy Bar here.
  • You can read about more F&B startups we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Randall Wong, founder of Shakeasy Bar

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