Sandwiches are becoming increasingly popular in Korea because they can be made with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, cheese, ham, and meat, and are easy to carry and pack. In particular, it is not high in calories compared to hamburgers, a typical fast food.
Hongjassi Sandwich, located in Songpa-gu, Seoul, offers sandwiches loved by everyone with homemade recipes and special sauces.
Real-time in-store made with fresh ingredients
Hongjassi Sandwich CEO Dasom Lee remembered the sandwiches her mom used to make when she was a kid and named the restaurant after her.
“The sandwiches my mom used to make were delicious, but unlike the sandwiches I used to eat outside, they were fast and filling,” Lee said, adding, “I created my secret recipe based on my mom’s recipe.”
She drew on her childhood experiences to create a homemade-style sandwich that felt as comfortable as a Korean meal, and she found a way to make it work for every meal, satisfying the Korean palate.
Whereas most franchise bakeries and coffee shops make their sandwiches in a factory, Hongjassi Sandwich makes them in real time in the store with fresh ingredients to ensure flavor and freshness.
The menu includes Ham & Cheese, Tender Chicken, BELT, Fried Shrimp, Tuna, Rose Chicken, Pumpkin Sandwich, Sweet Potato & Cranberry, and Memory Sourdough for everyone to enjoy.
Seniors are looking for squash and vegetable-based sandwiches, kids are looking for sandwiches like egg mayo and tuna, trendy 2030s are looking for rosé chicken sandwiches, and 4050s are looking for sweet potato and potato sandwiches.
The menu also includes pork loin and fried rice, as well as coffee and other drinks.
Sandwiches are 4,000 won each, and you can choose from three different types of sandwiches for 11,000 won, a 1,000 won discount if you buy three.
Since the sandwiches are affordable and can be eaten as a healthy meal by anyone, they are often ordered by groups. Sandwiches can be ordered in groups for various events and gatherings, such as schools, government offices, and companies, and free delivery is available within the metropolitan area.
|▲ Hongjassi Sandwich / CEO Dasom Lee|
Small capital startup
It is possible to operate with delivery, in-store sales, and table service from as little as 10 square meters, and the average startup cost is about 5 million won for a 33 square meter store.
Sandwiches are a seasonal business, low-risk and stable. You don’t need any special skills, and the head office provides training and operational know-how.
“We’ve created a recipe that makes it easy to make a sandwich without much effort,” says Lee. “The interior doesn’t have to be fancy, and the store can be customized to fit the runner’s needs, so the threshold for starting a business is not high.”
Hongjassi Sandwich seeks to reduce distribution margins for its headquarters, and work with its franchisees to build a business that will last.
In the past, Lee operated two large bakery stores for over five years and realized the challenges of franchisee distribution, so she created a system where ingredients are shipped directly from the headquarters and delivered to franchisees straight from the factory with no distribution margin.
She plans to expand franchisees nationwide, centered on the HelioCity headquarters in Seoul.
“Sales are high and customers are responding well,” she said, “so we’re creating a franchise system to bring small businesses together to create brand power.”
“First, we will strive to stabilize our merchants in the domestic market,” she continued, “and once the domestic market is stabilized, we plan to enter overseas markets such as Southeast Asia and China.”
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