Store review: Nashi

Prior to Nashi’s first Melbourne store opening in 2002, its founder, Sam Nash had been working in hospitality and wanted to work towards having his own product, and his own brand.

Mr Nash saw the gap in the market for something “that was healthy, something that was made off-site and delivered into a store that was a high-foot-traffic, small-footprint area that basically gets people in and out over the lunchtime period because everything is ready-made.”

“There are lots of cafes where you stand there while they make your order, and they are made-to-order and it would just take five minutes per person,” Mr Nash said.

“Really it’s been 15 years in Melbourne and we’ve opened multiple sites, we’ve sold some sites along the way, some sites have reached the end of their lease and we haven’t renewed but behind all that is we’ve tried to build a portfolio of the business.”

In 2017, Mr Nash was approached by Caltex who were looking at expanding their retail convenience with The Foodary, and were looking to high street developments. Caltex saw what Nashi represented and that it was in line with what they wanted and what they wanted to be. The discussion that followed was that there was no reason why they couldn’t grow two brands at once, one being the retail-convenience side and the other one being expanding Nashi on a national scale.

Mr Nash said he had seen how a big company could run a small business, compared to small business running a small business.

“It was an opportunity to do something a little different, but to keep doing what I love as well,” Mr Nash said.

“The team at Caltex really embraced it and they’ve all been very supportive and they now own the full business.”

Wanting to expand from its initial Melbourne conception, Sydney was the next market that the Nashi team deemed would work well with the concept. Along with the opportunity available, Mr Nash said the demographics, population and weather would all contribute to a successful Sydney store.

Mr Nash said: “I’d wanted to get into Sydney for quite a few years and with the assistance of Caltex, that was quite a milestone with the first store in Sydney opening at Wynyard Station”.

In 2017, NSW Rail were offering their disused ticket booths are leasable spaces. Nashi and Caltex put in a tender submission and were successful.

Mr Nash said NSW Rail were really happy with how the first lease of the sites had come to fruition.

Fresh is best

The idea behind the Nashi brand is to have a homely feel and not to feel intimidating; this is done with the level of the food quality, its real food.

Mr Nash said all the food is fresh, just for one day- “so it’s made today, gone today”.

“It’s about gaining their trust and then continuing to have new product developments to keep their interest,” Mr Nash said.

“If the food doesn’t get sold, we donate to St Vincent De Paul and OzHarvest in Melbourne.

“The food is reasonably priced, they’re mid six’s and seven’s, there’s a range- the half sandwich is in a reasonable price point at four dollars.

“They’re the gourmet size, there’s a consistent weight with the protein of around 100g as well as everything else that comes along with it- It’s a decent meal.

“Then we have the minis in there so there’s a half-size, and we have a half-baguette or the full baguette.”

The food range includes gluten-free options including wraps, salads as well as the fresh fruit options.

The brand plans to continue to expand into new stores and get comfortable with the products they’re selling, they will introduce new products.

Mr Nash said: “Our innovations have to be something that work within our production, we call them our Nashi Unique Products (NUP), we always make sure we have enough NUPs going on in our range whether that’s a unique flavour in the marinade or in the sauce, we don’t want it to taste like somebody else’s, we want it to be unique to our brand”.

All the food for the Sydney stores is made in Parramatta with a team that Nashi have partnered with as a supplier.

In Melbourne Nashi does catering, and uses their own custom catering trays. Catering is yet to be introduced into Sydney, but is being trialled.

As for the branding, this is something that the Nashi team is continually evolving.

Mr Nash said: “The whole idea with the branding, the way the word ‘Nashi’ is developed, the ‘N’ is a custom ‘N’, it’s in the shape of a sandwich wedge. Instead of having just a one layer branding, it’s adding additional layers to it”.

“Nashi’s priority is not in the food, but also in the service and a barista has always been a part of the Nashi model.

“In Melbourne, coffee is a very personal thing and some people only have one coffee a day so they want it to be a good one. It’s the culture- the way that it’s always been and that’s why we’re the service and the personal touch.”

He noted that coffee beans change in size during the day and thus there is a need to dial in the grinder three to four times a day to adjust the grind to cater for changes in the weather, that the right weight is coming into the grip handle, so that when the coffee comes out, it is the perfect grind.

He said all these things contribute to the brand, and make all the difference.

“We have our own coffee blend, done through a Melbourne roaster and it won the Golden Bean awards in 2012, across various categories,” Mr Nash said.

“Part of the prize, was that one of the sponsors would supply us with a certain amount of coffee cups so we then got the mini ones made.

“In the last few years we’ve won medals as well in the same awards.

“Our coffee is an ever evolving thing; we’ve recently adjusted the blend based on the differences between Melbourne and Sydney. With a push button machine you wouldn’t be doing any of that.”

Small storage space

The Sydney stores have all been erected in former ticket booths within train stations meaning there is not a lot of room for storage.

Due to a lot of the food that comes into store being already made, it is mostly only drinks and packaging that need to be stored on the premise. Storage is paramount to the store, and thus much of the storage is hidden behind shelves, specially designed.


2 thoughts on “Store review: Nashi”

  1. Great service, great food, and excellent coffee with a smile ????????????????????❤️

  2. I want you to know how much I appreciate the excellent service you provided on Monday.

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