Emerging Finalist: Cathal Power Zumo Juice Bars
WITH THE start of a new millennium, Cathal Power saw that consumers were becoming increasingly aware of their personal health and wellbeing, taking care of themselves and finding out about diet and nutrition.
His desire was to bring new taste, new foods and quality foods to the Irish market and to have unique products previously unavailable in the Irish market, exceeding the expectations of customers.
In 2000 he established Zumo Smoothie Bars to offer people something healthy and tasty without the guilt of between-meal snacking or fatty foods.
Before Zumo was born, he set about researching the smoothie and juice market all over the world to find out what makes a good bar, and what makes a great smoothie.
In the home of smoothies and sun culture, California, he found great store layout and menu concepts but poor product. Brazil proved to offer the reverse.
Utilising the combined research findings, Power unveiled the first Zumo Juice and Smoothie Bar on Jervis Street, central Dublin, in November 2001.
He explains that Zumo was not started as a franchise, nor was there any intention to franchise the concept.
However, everyone else seemed to assume it was a franchise, so after the first six months of refusing requests for a franchise, he sought some professional advice on converting the concept to a franchise and it went on from there.
Seven years later, there are 43 branches in Ireland and 87 worldwide. Zumo Ireland employs 190 people throughout the country.
Zumo is in daily contact with their world-class fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers, who select, carefully handle and deliver only top-grade products every day.
All of their recipes are designed in their own test kitchen where Cathal and the rest of the team decide how much orange juice goes into a Tropical Twist, how many strawberries it takes to get the Power Punch just right and how much frozen yoghurt gives the perfect creamy taste.
Health-conscious and fruit- and vegetable-loving.
In 2007 in Ireland, Zumo Smoothie Bars made more than three million drinks and five million worldwide. That's more than 2.5 million litres.
What is your biggest business achievement?
Taking a really healthy product and making it mainstream in the Irish and European markets. I would like to think it has made a positive difference to many people's lives. It really makes a difference in your working day to feel you are making a positive contribution to society as well as creating a successful business. I just could never see myself working with tobacco or the arms industry.
What's the biggest challenge you see your industry facing?
It maddens me to see many juice businesses cutting corners by adding concentrates and syrups to the drinks.
I think it could damage the industry as a whole if people realise that what they are buying at many bars is not truly a fresh product.
Unfortunately the word "fresh" is much abused in the food and beverage industry, and has been rendered almost meaningless. I would love to see some regulation of its use or the introduction of a symbol that would mean truly fresh.
How do you recharge your batteries?
I love to get out into nature. For new year, I went climbing volcanoes in El Salvador and Costa Rica.
I spent Easter in the Amazon and the rain forest, trekking through the jungle by day, and sleeping in a hammock underneath the stars at night.