KellyDeli’s conquest of travel retail with Altavia Pallas



Already a leader in sushi stands in France and Europe with its Sushi Daily brand, KellyDeli is now beginning to spread around the world, with a special focus on train stations and airports. And it was Altavia Pallas that the company chose to help support it in its development.


Interview with François Château, Development Director:


Can you tell us a little bit about how the project got started?


Jérôme Castaing and Kelly Choi founded KellyDeli in 2010, with the idea of importing the store-based sushi bar concept from the United States and Japan. From this initiative came “Sushi Daily”, with its goal of selling thousands of pieces of sushi around the world!

Given that it was repositioning itself at the time, Carrefour was about to launch its “Carrefour Planet” project. This was a golden opportunity for the pair of investors, who sent a letter to the director of this large-scale distribution giant proposing the idea of locating sushi kiosks in its hypermarkets. The idea was an instant hit! Six months later, the first Sushi Daily kiosk opened in a Carrefour in the Lyon metropolitan area. Today, we have a presence in eight European countries, with more than 500 kiosks! In France, we have opened kiosks in almost every brand of large-scale distribution centre.


According to you, what specifically made Sushi Daily a success? What makes the idea an innovative one?


The idea of making sushi on site, from beginning to end, in a relatively restricted space (fifteen to twenty square meters) is unique. All of the produce is ultra-fresh and arrives raw. For example, the fish arrives whole and the rice is cooked and prepared on site.


What are your current areas for development?


Our number one goal is to export our concept to other countries and to create partnerships with more and more brands.

Our second goal is to go find existing concentrations of consumers, by exploring travel retail, for example. This is the area that we’re working on currently with Altavia Pallas.


What travel retail projects are you working on?


We already opened a kiosk in the Gare de Montparnasse train station in May. The sales have already exceeded our expectations! This success is notably due to our product development strategy, which was created to help us adapt our services to the specific nature of this new market. To give an example, we developed a line of breakfast products, including Japanese pastries and fruit juices. We also created a line of desserts and hot dishes to meet different travellers’ needs. Given this first success in travel retail, KellyDeli is now working on a new kiosk project in the Gare de Lyon station. This kiosk will be designed by Altavia Pallas. At the same time, we will be working with them on the “Sushi Daily 2.0” project, which will help to design the kiosk of tomorrow!


Why did you choose Altavia Pallas to help you create your new kiosks?


We chose Altavia Pallas on one hand because of the innovative nature of their proposal, and other the other because we were looking for a design and store-based communications expert that knew more than the food and distribution sectors. Finally, on a human level, their enthusiasm spread to our own teams like wildfire.

We don’t regret our choice at all: they were able to take all of our issues and limitations into account while also proving themselves to be highly adaptable. Julien, Zineb, and Constance, whom we’ve been working with, are a really great team!


What are KellyDeli’s medium- and long-term goals?


Obviously we want to expand into more train stations, but also into airports. At the same time, we are developing new concepts with the goal of creating other new brands. We have already launched Dim Sum Daily, the “steamed bun” version of Sushi Daily. For the moment, we’ve opened one kiosk in Carrefour’s Montesson location in Yvelines.

We are lucky to have Asian cuisine at the heart of our business, which provides us with an enormous array of possibilities in terms of R&D and of developing new concepts.

We have enormous potential. Over the long term, we’ll be able to become the Starbucks of sushi!