Ask any native English-speaker how to say “hello” in French and almost everyone will be able to reply “bonjour”. The same greeting in Italian is “ciao,” or “hola” in Spanish – we all know these terms without having to think about it.
But how do you say “hello” in Greek?
This is the quiz put to me by Ben Freeman, co-owner of Greek street food franchise Ya Souv. And I’m embarrassed to say I don’t know the answer.
“It’s a shame that so many Melbournians can’t greet someone in Greek. We have the largest Greek population of any city – with the exception of Greece – in the world,” says Ben.
“Changing the conversation” around Greek people and Greek food is one of the things the guys behind Ya Souv want to achieve. Ben, Nick Kolaitis and Frank Gavralas have been mates since school, and in mid-2014 they launched the first Ya Souv franchise together.
“We’ve worked hard to modernise the perception of Greek food and culture. Our restaurants have no leafy vines, hanging baskets or fishing references,” Ben explains.
“It’s the 21st century, and Athens is modernised – we try to reflect that by taking traditional fare and putting a modern spin on it. And it’s pretty special when we get 70-something year old Greek men and women coming up to us, tears in their eyes, telling us we’ve reminded them of home.”
The opportunity to create the Ya Souv experience has been made possible by the increasingly popular concept of “quick service restaurants”, or QSR.
“QSR is not fast food, it’s not fine dining – but there elements of both. It’s about making good quality food accessible to a large group of people,” explains Ben.
“I love the concept from a consumer and a business owner perspective. A few years back, if I wanted a burger, my options were limited to Maccas or other fast food outlets. Now it’s easy to find somewhere like Grill’d or Huxtaburger with inexpensive, quick, good food.”
Good food is, of course, something a successful franchise relies on. And Ya Souv has this covered. The restaurant uses Nick’s yaya’s recipe for seasoning, make all their own sauces, dips and tzatziki on site, and cook, barbeque and shave 250kg of lamb a night.
Here Ben offers a tip for cooking lamb: “As soon as the middle bit is eating temperature – 75–90 degrees celsius – it’s ready to eat. No matter what the size of the meat, if you cook it at that temperature, it’ll never go dry.”
Ben loves having created a business that’s so incredible franchisable.
“We cook en masse, the recipes are easily duplicated, we create food that everyone loves – it’s kind of an idiot-proof business. In fact, I’d say what Xero does for accounting, our food does for quick service restaurants. We make it easy!”
“So how do you say “hello” in Greek?” I ask Ben, after weakly protesting that I’m a relative newcomer to the city. “Yassou,” he replies with a grin – “so you can see where the business name came from.”
Ya Souv can be found on Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn, Westfield Doncaster and Westfield Knoxfield. It will next open on St Collins Lane in the city in June. Find more information at yasouv.com.au.
The post Ya Souv says “hello” to a new location in Hawthorn appeared first on Xero Blog.