Australia’s largest multi-food franchisor Retail Food Group (RFG) has entered 2016 on a high with the commissioning of its 2,500th outlet.
The Company celebrated the milestone with the opening of Michel’s Patisserie & Café in Maitland, New South Wales in late December.
RFG CEO Franchise Andre Nell said the Company’s continued network expansion was being driven by high demand for innovative retail concepts in the domestic market, as well as strong international growth.
“Each of our traditional brands, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie and Donut King, have developed innovative new retail concepts, focussed on enhancing the customer experience and driving franchisee success,” said Mr Nell.
“These new concepts have resulted in an increased appetite for the brands among potential partners looking to invest in a franchised business.”
Mr Nell said the Michel’s Patisserie & Café outlet in Maitland is just the 10th of its kind in the country.
“The Michel’s Patisserie & Café concept features a full format café store layout and an extensive breakfast and lunch menu in addition to the family cake, sweet, savoury and coffee offering Michel’s Patisserie is renowned for,” he said.
“We’ve found the expanded menu and modern livery of this new retail concept to be extremely appealing to consumers and new franchise partners alike.”
In addition to organic growth domestically, Mr Nell said RFG’s international operations have supported the Company’s current ambitious growth targets, with highest growth markets including Turkey, Malaysia and China.
“Our Master Franchise Partner for Gloria Jean’s Coffees in Turkey is soon to open the 50th outlet in the region, placing Turkey as the fourth largest region for Gloria Jean’s Coffees across the globe, behind the USA with 60 outlets, UAE with 64 outlets and of course Australia with more than 300,” he said.
Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ first outlet to open in Hawaii commenced trading late last year.
“In November 2015, Gloria Jean’s Coffees put their first store on the ground in Hawaii as part of the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the Ala Moana Centre in tourist mecca Waikiki Beach,” said Mr. Nell.
“The 150sqm store features innovative brewing methods, such as the Kyoto cold drip method, and employing an on-site coffee expert to provide guests with insights into everything coffee related, from bean sourcing and roasting to the best brewing methods.”
Listed on the ASX in 2006 with some 300 outlets, RFG has grown to become a leading global franchisor, with significant growth plans well underway.
“RFG’s achievement of its 2,500th outlet commissioning is a major milestone on this journey,” said Mr. Nell.
Michel’s Patisserie & Café is the second franchise for Cherie Craigie, who purchased her first Michel’s Patisserie franchise in May 2013 at Pender Place, Maitland.
Previously an Assistant Principle at the local school, the Maitland local had always dreamed of going into business for herself throughout her 25 year long career in education.
Cherie said she chose to become a multi-site franchise operator because she could see the potential for growth in the new full-format Café model on offer from Michel’s Patisserie.
“I have learned how to efficiently run the Michel’s Patisserie model by working with my own team with the support of my brand management team,” said Cherie.
“I could see that customers in the area were looking for more food options and recognised that the Michel’s Patisserie & Cafe was a good model to cater for this. Working with the Michel’s Patisserie team, I investigated several options for a new site and found one where I could see the opportunity for growth.”
The new Michel’s Patisserie & Café store model provides customers with even more choice, something Cherie says appeals to a different range of consumers.
“I have found the existing model is great for grab and go type options and the sale of large celebration cakes, which is great to build regular customer clientele,” she said.
“The new Café model offers an amazing new shopfront which gives customers a new experience, the ability to sit longer in a more relaxed atmosphere while they enjoy a breakfast or cooked meal, along with our great coffee and sweets.”
Cherie believes the key to success in franchising is being familiar with the local community you are operating within and understanding the needs of your customers.