In the Hot Seat – Koykan
Tell us in a few sentences about your company and the product?
Koykan is a fast-casual restaurant chain that serves fresh, high-quality, delicious, healthy, and affordable food. The company currently operates 5 fast-casual restaurants in Croatia and is preparing for an expansion to the EU markets. First to Germany, where a few months ago we closed the business deal with one of the biggest German franchise developers to join the venture and expand the Koykan story into the DACH region and beyond.
How was 2022 for Koykan? What were your key challenges?
We started the first post-corona year with the grand opening of our biggest restaurant so far, in one of the most important business areas in Zagreb – which proved to be a good match to our offerings. The year started slow, with our earnings still suffering from the corona recovery times, but it picked up, and currently, we are working better than ever. We were also preparing our expansion during the year, so I would say – a pretty busy and successful year.
What are your key goals for Koykan in 2023?
We have two main goals: 1) set up Koykan for the franchise expansion and finalize our professional franchisee offering and 2) open at least 3 new stores in Munich and Zagreb. This will allow us to start the planned expansion and we expect the first franchise contracts to be closed during H2 2023.
What is the outlook for the Fast Casual Restaurant sector in the coming year?
Fast Casual is growing faster than any other F&B sector worldwide. In the USA, it is already a mainstream restaurant business type, while in the EU space, the hyper-growth just started a few years ago. I am excited about what Koykan can do in the coming years – we are ready for the expansion, and we are in a super hot F&B sector. We need professional operations and well-delivered execution, and I am positive Koykan will play a role in the European restaurant space in the coming years.
Are there any key trends in your sector essential to Koykan?
Key trends in the Fast Casual restaurant sector are aligned with our „6 secret ingredients strategy“. We aim to serve food that is Fresh, High Quality, Delicious, Healthy, Quickly Served, and last, but not least Affordable. If you go one by one through these „secret ingredients“ and ask yourself „what do we all deserve to live a healthy life in a modern and busy world?“, you’ll find a perfect match of what the market is craving for and what Koykan delivers already today.
Who are the principal shareholders and management of the company and are there any plans for future hires or positions?
Our current management team is small and operationally very fast. The two founders (Domagoj and I) run the strategy and operations of the business, our partner Marko is in charge of sales and franchise expansion and our youngest, but most proactive member is Milos who runs the digitisation of the company. We strongly believe that two things are a crucial mix of what we need to succeed in the next two years – great franchise sales on one side and a fully digitized company on another. My team is focused on delivering on both.
Can you profile or paint a picture of a typical customer of Koykan?
Anybody who tries to live a healthy life in a modern and busy world is our customer. We have kids and teenagers who value our affordability, hard-working managers craving delicious, high quality, and quickly served meals, mothers with kids and seniors who prefer our fresh and healthy food, placing it in front of any fast food or bakery. Koykan is a multi-product brand, literally everybody can find something to enjoy our food, and come back again and again. The fact that we have more than 10.000 customers and did not spend a single $ for marketing so far tells our story more than anything else – word of mouth is at the core of our business and it will stay our strongest marketing in the decades to come.
What is your key message to customers and how do you convey that information to them?
In a modern and busy world of plenty, we believe there are few places to have a fresh, delicious, healthy, affordable, and quickly served a meal of high quality. We at Koykan think that people deserve better food while not compromising on their busy schedules and restricted budget. We keep doing our job and deliver on our promises – be fair, keep consistent quality, earn trust and reliably meet customer expectations.
We know if we serve our customers something of great value that they will return again and again, and we will be rewarded with the best marketing possible – word of mouth. This is the core of our business model and this is what we are constantly messaging to our customers.
What would you say the biggest challenges are for Koykan going forwards?
We have a huge job to do going forward – prepare and deliver the expansion at scale. It was not easy to set up the franchise model and to open our first several stores, but now we need to deliver on a much broader stage. We are building the company in such a way that we are going to be ready to open 10, 20, or even 100 restaurants per year. This Series A round is setting us up for such a challenge and I am positive we will deliver on promises.
What area/geography/sector presents the most significant opportunity?
Currently, we will focus on the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) where we have closed the business deal with one of the biggest German franchise developers to expand the Koykan franchise network. After that and once when we have the concept of expansion at scale, we will start working on the holistic approach for the complete EU space, including regional and area expansions per country or geo-space. We see big countries like France, UK, and Spain as our logical expansion targets, but some well-developed areas like the Benelux or the Nordics are on the map as well. Eastern Europe is an interesting piece of the puzzle, we will need to see and test how that market reacts to our offering.
After that? Let’s see…
If you could leave investors with just three words to describe the future of Koykan, what would they be?
Koykan goes big.
How can Funderbeam investors help you?
Earning trust is important – we will do above and beyond to deliver on our promises to our investors, no matter how big or small they are. I personally love the equity crowdfunding concept and I am truly grateful for the opportunity the Funderbeam and its investors provided us – to make our dreams come true and to expand our business well beyond one country.