Brazilian fast-casual açaí shop Oakberry tabs Orlando for second U.S. location, scouts for more
By A.D. Thompson
Oct 08, 2018 | 4:50 PM
Brazil-based purveyor of healthy fast food Oakberry Açaí Bowls has cut the ribbon on its second U.S. location, taking a space inside Florida Mall with plans to open three more Orlando shops by summer, says company CEO and co-founder Georgios Frangulis.
It's not a particularly fast track for Oakberry – which claims to provide customers with custom açaí bowl orders on demand in approximately two minutes' time. The company has opened 85 stores throughout Brazil in the past 18 months.
The first stateside location opened recently at Miami's Dolphin Mall.
"We see Orlando, and the Florida Mall in particular, as a place with all kinds of people who come from all over the United States and the world," Frangulis told GrowthSpotter. "So, when Simon Group approved us for one of the best malls in the country, we knew it would give us a great cross-section of customers."
Oakberry offers customers varying sizes of açaí (oft touted as a "superfood") layered with an array of toppings – from fresh fruit and granola to chia seeds and organic peanut butter – layered in.
The concept was borne of time Frangulis spent in Southern California on a brief sabbatical after leaving Miami, where he worked in commercial real estate.
"Our market in Brazil crashed in 2015 and so I moved back home, but took a trip to California to think and regroup a little. It was there I recognized there were people searching for better fast-food options and began thinking about what products could fit that model: food that had to be fast, but also tasty and healthy. That was the start of Oakberry."
Frangulis is still on the hunt for the additional locations. Marketing and financing for Oakberry are handled internally. And while Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk are on his radar for tourist-driven exposure, he is particularly excited about adding a downtown Orlando outpost.
In Brazil, Oakberry shops often operate in tiny shops, just 60 or 70 square feet Frangulis says, "but these don't even exist in Orlando! Ideally, the perfect place for us would be between 300 and 600 square feet with very good foot traffic."
He envisions a small eat-in area, but says most customers are interested in a grab-and-go meal. Brazilian architect João Armentano is onboard for design.
Beyond the impending three, Frangulis says Lake Nona, Winter Park and the UCF area of east Orlando will likely be exciting prospects for franchisees. Tampa, too, is in the company's crosshairs – but for now, Orlando is what's most on his mind.
"This was the first place I ever visited outside of Brazil with my family," says Frangulis, who came to town quite a bit during his time living stateside in Miami, when he worked in commercial real estate. "The more time you spend here, the more you realize how much there is besides Disney World."
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