Concepts with a raw juice focus were born from the healthy lifestyle movement. As diners learn more about putting the right fuel in their bodies, the more raw juice concepts are opening their doors.
Raw juice has emerged as a trendy millennial obsession because these cold-pressed juices are seen as great sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a convenient way for consumers to quickly get all of these healthy ingredients in one sitting.
Not to mention, these concepts often offer much more than just juice. There are also vibrant veggie and protein stacked bowls and Vegan and Vegetarian food selections.
But, will these concepts eventually lose steam like some of the froyo brands? Or are these eateries cleverly weaving their way into the healthy active millennials lifestyle?
We sat down with Zack Stein, one of the co-founders of Raw Republic, a raw juice concept in south Florida that is opening a second store location at the end of the month, to see why he sees so much potential in this market and what has attributed to the success of their first store.
Foodable: Why did you and your co-founders start Raw Republic?
Stein: There’s a few different reasons really. We started to see this cold pressed juice, vegan lifestyle morph from the west coast to New York and Miami. My cousins, my fellow founders and I started to really adopt a lifestyle and saw that it was starting to make us feel better when we started to juice ourselves.
We really saw avoid in the market place down in South Florida and we always really wanted to create a business together. Our family has always been in the entrepreneurial world. For us now, at the time of our lives to find a location that was right in our backyard in Aventura where they grew up and where I’ve visited often, it’s a really cool opportunity for us to work together and put together a sizable business. We just put our heads together, did some research and opened up Raw Republic.
Why Foodies Love Raw Juice
Foodable: Why are consumers gravitating to raw juice products?
Stein: Again, there’s a few different answers. But the first thing is that consumers are much more educated on nutrition. Since the Internet is so accessible to everyone and there’s so many different influencers and bloggers out there and after doing their own research, they have found that some foods are not as healthy as they thought.
We are providing a product that is really “what you see is what you get,” it’s all natural, everything is organic, and makes them feel better, and once they experience it and become part of the culture–it’s hard for them to leave. They can change their lifestyle pretty easily and they start to feel better, look better and it’s been cool for us to watch that.
Foodable: What do your customers like the most about Raw Republic in particular?
Stein: The number one thing is culture. When people walk into Raw Republic, we want them to feel like family. It’s very important to us to train our staff so that they remember customer’s names and faces. So when they come in they get that neighborhood feel, no matter how big we get or how much we expand in the future and they still have that sense of local pride and knowing that you can come here sit down and have a conversation. The staff knows who their kids are, where they went to school and personal details like that.
Aside from the unique culture, we really take pride in our product. We don’t add anything to it. Like I said before, “what you see is what you get” and we have no problem putting our product against others.
So it’s between the culture and the pride that we take in our product as sets us apart.
Establishing a Lifestyle Brand
Foodable: Is raw juice just a fad like froyo? Or is it here to stay?
Stein: I don’t think it’s a fad at all. The raw juice brings people into the healthy lifestyle, but there is so much else surrounding the raw juice concepts. For example, one of our most popular products is the Acai bowls and Pitaya bowls, along with the raw food and vegan foods.
The froyo fad came about because people started to become more educated. Now organizations are more focused on corporate wellness and are giving benefits to people who are eating healthier and staying active. As long as a healthy lifestyle gets incentivized in the business world and remain a priority for families, people are going to see a difference in how they feel and how they look. This is how raw juice differs from froyo. Froyo is dependent on the dessert or sweet crowd, while this is an all-day, 24/7 lifestyle that can really transform the way they feel.
The Power of #FoodPorn
Foodable: What marketing strategies are working for your brand?
Stein: The biggest thing that has worked for us because we are so community-focused is really word of mouth. Our marketing strategy starts in store by remembering our customers and making people really feel at home.
Besides, the local word of mouth, it’s really been social media for us. We have done it ourselves for a while and really know how to showcase the imagery that comes along with the raw juice lifestyle. We spend a lot of time training the employees to not only make sure the food is tastefully up to par, but the presentation as well. We all eat with our eyes first. We get really creative with our acai bowls, the toppings and other add-ons. These dishes fit into the #foodporn sensation. We have found that a lot of people found us through social media from the photos we have posted and also from the reviews that are really unsolicited that people have read.
Foodable: Why is juicing particularly attractive to millennial consumers?
Stein: Millennials have been the first to adopt social media. It’s used by them to find the new local place in town and where their friends are hanging out. So social will often bring them in to try raw juices and other options and you really have that one shot to leave them with a memorable experience. So when they come in, or really when any customer comes in, we sample all of our products for them so they can get an idea of the quality of our food. Not to mention, we have turned our first location into a hang-out, this has attracted not only millennials but a whole different sort of consumer we didn’t think we would get to.
Developing the Replicable Restaurant Model
Foodable: What is the brand's plan for growth? Is Raw Republic looking for franchisees?
Stein: At this point, since it’s early on in our company, we are focusing on expanding in south Florida for now. The reason being is because we want to make sure we get the product right. We want to make sure that when we expand outside of where we don’t have a day-to-day look of what’s going on, that’s it’s an easy duplicable model. That an operator can go into their local market and create the same atmosphere as in south Florida and be able to embody the local community feel.
Foodable: How has the brand overcome some of the challenges in opening the second location?
Stein: There haven’t been a lot of challenges, besides finding the right location for us. We wanted to make sure we opened in the right area based on where we thought our clientele was.
The spot that we were able to acquire was in a perfect shopping plaza because it’s right by FIU, which is a university right down the street. Also in the plaza, we have Flywheel Sports right next store and another few fitness-focused concepts.