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There’s nothing like a global pandemic to change life as we know it, eh? But while social distancing meant simply staying inside for many of us, small business owners were faced with a tremendous challenge: how to continue “business as usual” through highly unusual circumstances. 

We chatted to Quynh-Anh Hoang (‘Quinnie’ to her team), owner of four Roll’d Vietnamese stores, including the one at Robina, about how her business adapted to not only survive, but thrive!

As a business owner, what was the biggest challenge COVID-19 threw your way?
The biggest challenge was obviously making sure that our business survived. Our business is based around people and looking after people, so that was (and always has been) our number one priority. We weren’t going to make our staff another job loss statistic in the pandemic. I called each of my staff individually on the phone to find out what their circumstances were and to discuss how we could best support them to ensure we’d be able to ride out the wave together.

What was your biggest learning through it all?
Our biggest learning curve was acting fast and focusing on how to innovate, keep up sales and maintain jobs. The six week to three month period was pivotal for our customer engagement more so than ever.

Continuing to make Roll’d as accessible as possible during isolation was really important. That’s why we introduced Roll’d delivery and began calling local businesses. We really focused on putting ourselves out there as a brand to let everyone know that we were still open for business.

What is one way your business got creative in order to survive (and hopefully thrive!) during COVID-19?
The pandemic really gave us an opportunity to finally launch all the projects that were already on the table, like Roll’d delivery.

How have the past few months changed your business strategy moving forward?
We are heavily focused on delivery and ensuring that Roll’d reaches more and more Australians. Delivery platforms are really great resources because they take care of the process for you, but we did have large commissions and overheads. The majority of our sales were coming from delivery so we needed to innovate and we said, “You know what, we need to do our own.”

In the space of two weeks we launched our own delivery platform so we could survive and redeploy our staff. We really do believe in good, healthy food and high-quality food. It’s really important for us to ensure that we deliver on both fronts and supply our customers with fresh and well-presented meals with each and every order.

What does your new normal look like?
Roll’d places a big emphasis on culture and the family and this pandemic has really brought us all together. From a company perspective and a franchise perspective, there’s a real sense of community and we’re coming out of this bigger and better. The beauty of the Robina store is that we’ve come out of this stronger – our sales are up since last year, we’re performing better, there’s a real comradery between all our Gold Coast and Queensland stores and there’s a real culture coming out of it. We’ve all come out with positive growth and we can attribute that to staying open. We are really seeing the benefits of that coming out the other side.

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.