Jesse Lemmer’s journey with Simply Asia began years before he opened his first Simply Asia outlet in Benmore Gardens. “It goes back to a holiday memory in Cape Town. I remember sitting at the President Hotel in Sea Point waiting for my father to come back with what he described as “the best meal money can buy”. We had heard about this awesome noodle dish for weeks leading up to the holiday. I could see the excitement on my hungry family’s faces to have the famous 514. We couldn’t wait for the best part — the “Red Noodle Box”. As we live in Joburg, we often braved the 30-minute drive to the nearest Simply Asia. Even though it was far from home, it was always worth it.”
My father and I always had a true passion for Simply Asia. We would go at least twice a month. One day he fostered the idea when he said to me: “let’s open a branch in Sandton”. I started to think about it and so the idea was born. We felt that there was a real demand for an authentic Thai food restaurant in Johannesburg, especially in Sandton.
The food and the concept were the driving motive behind our decision to become a part of the franchise. The process of finding the right location took some time. With the help of Stephan from head office in Joburg, we managed to find a site in Benmore. Three years later, we are the proud owners of 2/3 of the Simply Asia Gauteng stores. “Although there have been challenges along the way, I feel grateful and humbled to be a franchisee of the Simply Asia brand. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the dedicated team in my stores and at Simply Asia head office. It has been a privilege bringing my stores to life and watching people love the food as much as we do. I am very excited to be part of the brand and even more excited to see what the future has in store for us.”
Simply Asia’s support structures ensure that new franchisees spend two months on an intensive training programme – covering everything from the raw ingredients to the financial aspects of running the business. The operations teams are on hand for the first few weeks of opening to give intensive training to staff and iron out any problems. On-going support, through store checks to maintain standards and efficient and constant support is what fuels their growing brand. It’s proven by the group’s win of Best of Jo’burg four years in a row – making Simply Asia one of the most trusted, loved and well-known Asian food brands in the country.