For Shakez founder Ashvin Sridhar, the COVID-19 pandemic was a net benefit for the business instead of a drawback.

The one-store protein shake retailer, currently based in Armadale, Melbourne, but previously in Lilydale, was founded by Sridhar five and half years ago.

While it previously encouraged customers to dine in with their protein shakes, alongside using delivery partners like Uber Eats, or Deliveroo, it has found a lot more success in encouraging customers to call in first and pick up their shakes.

Sridhar tells RetailBiz, “Now 70% of the customers just call and order so it’s ready to takeaway and go.”

The shutting of retail outlets allowed Sridhar to reevaluate and refocus, simplifying Shakez’ offering rather than changing it.

“We made our menu shorter, removed seating, and now we’re 100% takeaway. We needed COVID to realise that,” Sridhar says.

The takeaway model has helped cut down on operating costs, reducing staff hours by enabling some staff to start later in the day.

Franchise dream

Sridhar is passionate about protein shakes, and says it’s always been a dream to franchise.

“I feel like we have a great product and I want it to be accessible,” he says.

Understanding that the Shakez stores only really need a footprint “of 10 square metres”, Sridhar says he will be looking for franchisees at the upcoming franchise expo, but doesn’t have a specific store goal. Instead, he says the mission is “to be the leading shake bar in Australia in the next 10 years”.

Riding the wave of health-focused people during a pandemic, Sridhar says its store increased revenue by 60% during COVID. Shakez also sells its own protein powder online and in-store, produced through a contract manufacturer in Sydney.

While many juice bars and health-focused takeaway fast food outlets offer protein as an additive to their products, Sridhar says Shakez is instead a ‘meal alternative’ with oats, protein, healthy fats, and carbs.

“We use oats, spinach, banana, peanut butter, and a scoop of our protein, which is very good for you. There are no supplements apart from our protein powder,” he explains.