As an advocate of healthy eating, Allis says the inspiration for Boost came from her distaste for the fast food market. “We all know that the popularity of the fast food industry is linked to the rise of a lot of health-related diseases. It was in the late nineties that I realised there was a huge gap in the marketplace for a truly healthy, fast food.” Allis has more than filled that gap – today Boost is the largest and fastest-growing juice and smoothie chain in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 220 stores in more than nine countries – six of which opened in the UK last year. When it comes to franchising, Allis swears by the “Four P mantra”: “There’s no question that what makes success is the people, the position, the price and the promotion. If you don’t get all of them right then it won’t work.” No surprise then that Allis got Richard O’Sullivan on board last year when Boost opened six stores across the UK. Famed for building up the successful Millie’s Cookies business before selling it to catering giant Compass at the end of 2003, O’Sullivan now owns and operates the three bars in Manchester and the remaining three in Oxford, Nottingham and Lakeside Shopping Centre in Thurrock. “He’s a fantastic retailer – I can’t think of anyone better to go into partnership with in this market – he understands the brand, he understands the model, and the growth is great,” says Allis. To get a bigger portion of the UK market, Boost has just partnered with Nestle to launch a range of bottled fruit smoothies which are going to be sold in major stores including Asda and Sainsbury’s from the end of April. Despite Boost’s strong brand recognition, Allis says it made sense to work with a multinational like Nestle for two reasons. “It’s all very well having a great product but if you don’t have the distribution network, you’re pretty stuck! Also, it gave us access to the fruit experts at the Nestle Product Technical Centre in Lisieux, France, who helped develop the smoothies – producing a bottled smoothie that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients is actually really difficult!” The bottled smoothies are being launched in four flavours and contain 100 per cent natural ingredients, each promising to provide “a health boost”. For example, the Tropical Twist Metabolism Boost contains Teavigo – a taste-free green tea extract which promises to help with fat oxidation. Allis hopes the smoothie’s fattening sales will help trim the waistline of the western world: “It’s no surprise that the increase in obesity is in line with the increase in fast-food so I hope that Boost can help reverse that trend.” In order to help her achieve that goal, Allis has her sight set on “becoming the world’s most loved and famous smoothie brand”. And while we’ve all heard businesses talk about having their sights set on “global domination”, given Boost’s current growth, it looks like it could actually happen. As far as Allis is concerned, she’s only just getting her business juices flowing: “There are definitely no plans to sell at this point. We discuss listing at every board meeting but I think it’s a bit like my fourth child – I’ve got to say – it would be a hard one to sell!”
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