FROM RUNNING A KITCHEN TO AN INDUSTRY FRONTRUNNER
Why not disrupt a stagnant industry with a healthy and hip alternative? Nicholas Kissajukian’s HIPFOOD is a start-up set to shake up the vending machine industry, and change the way we think about eating on the run. His fresh business approach will see nutritious gourmet salads available to students and shift workers at the push of a button. Fresh food will be delivered daily and, any unused food will make its way to food banks to feed the hungry.
At just 24, Nicholas Kissajukian is already an innovative entrepreneur on the cusp of culinary greatness. His ambitious plans to change the way students and shift workers eat on the run will see him revolutionise an otherwise stagnant industry.
As a UNSW Business School Master of Commerce student, Nicholas has been trained to recognise gaps in the market. Combining his emerging entrepreneuria l aptitude with his years of experience in Sydney kitchens, Nicholas has developed a creative concept which can improve the eating habits of busy Australians. His creation, HIPFOOD, combines a nutritious and delicious eating alternative for the time-poor, with the all-hour convenience of a vending machine.
'We saw a problem. People who work or study late cannot get fresh, nutritious food,' Nicholas says. 'We built a business model around stocking vending machines with salads, replacing them every 24 hours and giving any leftovers to food banks. We want to redefine how people see vending machines.'
It was an entrepreneurship elective in his Master of Commerce that turned his kernel of an idea into a realisable dream.
'It was a life-changing subject,' Nicholas says. 'Everything was based around testing our business hypothesis on real customers and suppliers and achieving milestones.' Nicholas's idea will not only improve eating habits, it is also a brilliant example of a streamlined business process. By distributing his salads via vending machines, Nicholas will cut down on client service hours.
Nicholas admits he considered a lucrative corporate career in Hong Kong, but soon realised that this innovation would give him the satisfaction of a successful business and the freedom of a flexible lifestyle. 'I always wanted to run my own business, having run kitchens,' he says. 'However I didn't know where to start. The entrepreneurship course gave me structure and the opportunity to develop my idea…even if you don't start a business, you get a great perspective on how new businesses work.'
Innovation comes with its own challenges, and Nicholas is in negotiations with the NSW Food Authority to ensure that small businesses like his can more easily meet the costs of the microbiological testing required by NSW legislation. However, with hospitals and universities across Sydney already vying for his business, it is only a matter of time before HIPFOOD is rolled out nationally.