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ROLLN Offers Top Grade Sushi Without the Expensive Price Tag

first_imgROLLN Offers Top Grade Sushi Without the Expensive Price TagFebruary 14, 2019 by AlleyWatch 336SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin The best sushi is traditionally very expensive – a dinner at famed Masa is $595 per person without tax and beverages! As many New Yorkers know, in these high-end establishments, you often leave with your wallet feeling even emptier than your stomach. On the other end of the spectrum is “bodega sushi” that’s more affordable, mass-produced, and lacks the quality of fine sushi.  ROLLN provides a happy medium.  It’s the latest sushi handroll specialist, following LA’s Kazunori, in New York that redefines what high-quality sushi should cost and taste like by leveraging technology to introduce efficiencies into the operation. From its Flatiron location, the newly launched startup serves fresh handrolls every day and all of its ingredients are sustainably sourced to keep the entrepreneurs of New York fueled and healthy.AlleyWatch spoke to founder David Tam to learn about how a banker and real estate professional got into the sushi business, how ROLLN is a tech-focused company, and how the company plans to become the Sweetgreen for sushi.Tell us about the product or service that ROLLN offers.ROLLN is a sushi handroll takeout specialist, disrupting the notion of what sushi should cost, as well as what sushi itself isHow is ROLLN different?Sushi in NYC is either really low-quality stuff from the grocery store, or really great quality but expensive and a sit-down proposition.We aim to sit in the middle, by offering high quality sushi in a convenient roll format. We are designed to be a quick and accessible to-go option, which allows for a delicious and healthy meal to be assembled or taken as a snack on the runOur sushi is made fresh every day, using ingredients are very high quality and sustainably sourced.We offer simple and classic flavors like Salmon Avocado, California, Spicy Tuna, as well as real innovations like the Cheeseburger roll and are the first to do an all-quinoa roll (using our own proprietary cooking technique to make the quinoa taste like sushi rice).The flavor, quality, healthiness, and convenience are amazingly high for the price point we are positioned at. We are getting really strong reviews, repeat customer figures are very high, and celebs are dropping in as well!What market does ROLLN target and how big is it?Local workers, students, and residents of the Flatiron area, as well as foodies and tourists who come to specifically try our unique and delicious rolls in a fun and friendly environmentWe also do very well with companies holding events and requiring catering. We have done a few and the feedback has been tremendous in terms of the response to the flavors and the way it elevates the eventWhat is the business model?We are providing really great quality sushi, at an accessible price point (average check size ~$13), in a super quick format (average customer wait time <2mins after ordering) Furthermore, we are doing for sushi what Shake Shack did for burgers and what Sweetgreen /Chopt/Just Salad did for salads.We are providing really great quality sushi, at an accessible price point (average check size ~$13), in a super quick format (average customer wait time <2mins after ordering) Furthermore, we are doing for sushi what Shake Shack did for burgers and what Sweetgreen /Chopt/Just Salad did for salads.What inspired the start of ROLLN?My cofounder Gavin and I left careers in banking and real estate because we both desired a career with deeper fulfilment, and we wanted to build a purpose driven business from the ground up.We sought to make a positive impact on the community through providing healthy and nutritious food options, the environment through our sustainable sourcing and packaging, our people through paying above average and providing benefits, and ultimately giving back to the community through food waste and education programs. Hailing from Australia where this format of takeout sushi handrolls were very popular as a delicious, healthy, quick meal/snack, we noticed that this wasn’t an option in NYC, but that it would be the perfect fit for this city in terms of speed, convenience, and quality.How are you using technology to optimize your business?We are fully self-service and cashless, with customers ordering through our kiosks, which allows for a much faster and efficient process.We use data analytics to also optimize our production and operations to ensure we are able to give our customers what they want, when they want, and minimize food waste.We also utilize Autec sushi machines to help portion the rice sheets out quicker and more consistently than any chef can do, in order to let our chefs focus on the intricate part of filling and rolling the sushi to ensure the flavors are optimized.We also put significant focus on the efficiency, reliability, and scalability of our back end systems, in terms of using cloud services for our data management, HR, and payment processing etc. which lets us focus on our core business operations.All of these factors create significant operational efficiency, which combined with our volume model allow us to significantly invest in higher quality ingredients and food quality than anyone else at this price point.What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?Build and refine operations at our current site to prepare for scaling up. Our belief is that if our business is making a positive impact, then that will be multiplied as we grow.What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?Telling your story is critical, being prepared to do that in a way which connects and resonates with people is an art form and takes time to develop. People connect more with the human side than anything else.If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?Someone who shares our values and beliefs around our business being a positive driver in society, and the value of health and nutrition for both personal and community wellbeingWhy did you launch in New York?David had been working here for a number of years and noticed this gap in the market. The openness to try new food, health consciousness, and fast pace of the city made it the ideal place to try thisWhere is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?We barely have time to drink, but knowing that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used to work at and launched her campaign at Flats Fix down the road from where we are on 23rd is pretty inspirational!PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, FoodTech, Interviews, Launching in the Alley, Startupslast_img read more