Bao Hoang always wanted to share his mum’s delicious Vietnamese cooking with the world.
”Mum's always cooked great food. We always felt that we could take some of mum's cooking and do something with it.”
So he, his school friend Ray Esquieres and his cousin Tin Ly pooled together $110,000 in savings and loans to open up Rolld in Melbourne’s Goldsborough Lane. They decided against opening up in the traditional Vietnamese hubs like Springvale in Melbourne and Cabramatta in Sydney, but opted for CBD areas and shopping centres instead.
“We were very lucky that our first store started firing straight away, so there was a fair bit of cashflow coming through the system,” he says.
This year, the Rolld Group turned over $40 million throughout their 53 chains and franchises.
Despite the rapid expansion and its experimentation with new dishes and flavours, Rolld never lost its authenticity, particularly with its Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup.
“Mum and dad still make the packets of spices that go into every single store. So that flavour base of that pho is her recipe from her grandma,” says Bao.
Not only did Bao’s parents pass down their recipes, but also their values of persistence and hard work.
“Mum and dad came to Australia in 1981. They escaped Vietnam from the communist regime after the war. They actually got caught. When dad got released from that first stint in jail, he decided to go try again a month later. So, he took the whole family up and tried again, and the second time they were lucky to be on a boat.”
From this harrowing experience came words of wisdom.
Boa says, “I think mum's very proud of what we've achieved. One of the key things for her though is, when she said, 'when you get or become successful, please give back to those less fortunate.'”
For the past two years, Rolld has partnered with charity Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, helping build a boarding school for 150 kids in Northern Vietnam.
“One of the proudest moments of us as a business, in terms of being able to give back that little bit, really makes a big difference to a lot of those kids,” Bao says.
“That's what our business is about, which is bringing that family essence into the business. That family-centric understanding and culture is going to be critical to our long-term success.”