Sandwich Chefs unveils service station outlet

By Sarah Stowe | 07 Nov 2019 View comments

Sandwich Chefs, famous for its classic 14-hour slow roasted pork and beef rolls, is launching in service stations around Australia. 

The food franchise chain has partnered with Fresh Trading Co, and opened its first restaurant in Northam, Western Australia. 

Fresh Trading Co has signed a franchise agreement with Sandwich Chefs, and aims to roll out the food outlets as new service stations are opened across the country. The initial goal is have 14 by the end of 2020.

Sandwich Chefs newest store will be offering a brand-new broadened breakfast range, as well as its classic lunch and dinner options throughout the day. Barista made coffee and freshly squeezed juices round out the updated offering. 

Inside Franchise Business spoke with Sandwich Chefs national marketing manager Ollie Mann about the expansion.

IFB: Why this move into service stations?

We recognised a need to diversify the portfolio a little, and the brand offering. We’re in 53 shopping centres across the country and even in the current economic climate they are great stores. We have shopping centre sites, kiosks, and inline stores. But time moves on and we want to offer premium quality food at all sorts of locations.

Others are moving into service stations, GYG for instance, and service stations are now becoming places to grab a coffee. 

We want to try and maintain the same product. We’ve already introduced a new time period, but for the service stations the breakfast menu has been diversified. It’s something we can trial and test, and then roll out in other stores.

How much of this diversification is a response to high rents in shopping centres?

Retail has taken a bit of a hit. We haven’t dropped support for any of our stores, but to further grow the brand the model has to change. I think customers tend to want anything cheap, now, and the best quality. 

That leads us to provide the same offering whatever the environment and it opens up new opportunities. Anything we trial and test will be reflected across the group.

Why Fresh Trading Co?

It’s a pretty ambitious business and we share the same sort of vision, to be an honest, transparent brand, offering premium quality. And we both have black and white branding.

We’re trying to work out a real partnership. Typically a customer filling up then goes inside and is then met with a couple of brands where they can order, and it’s all treated as two separate entities. With Fresh Trading Co, the customer might redeem points at Sandwich Chefs.

We’ve given them the opportunity to trial new things. Fresh Trading wants to install an operations manager and team to ensure Sandwich Chefs works and operates as it should within the environment.

How will technology serve to deliver a good customer experience?

We’ve adopted technology early with online ordering and delivery. Online ordering in our stores now is primarily a catering offer but in the future service station customers will be able to order at the pump to reduce production time lines, and their food will be ready. It’s a time pressured environment and our product is a slow roast, so we have to try and reduce the time.

How will you distinguish the brand from other grab and go options at service station outlets?

Focusing on trying to build brand trust and loyalty. It will be seamless for the customer. The goal is to get them wanting to fill up at Fresh Trading because they know Sandwich Chefs is there. We’re looking at a potential loyalty card. We’ll be participating in the same marketing campaigns.

What do you think the Sandwich Chefs business will look like in two years?

We’ll definitely continue into shopping centres, we’re in a mix of A and B grade centres. We’ll keep refining the shopping centre model so it works. 

In two years we’ll see much bigger regional expansion; right now Wagga is our number one store. None of us expected that.

Over the next two years all the stores will have a brand refresh, which we’ve already started. We will expand the service station footprint and drive-through, and potentially the high street. 

This is rapid expansion, the fire we need to grow the brand.

What else is in the pipeline?

Our other franchise brand Pure + Natural, will get a refresh. We’ll relaunch the menu to be health focused, young and fresh. The rebrand (planned for 2020) will see it become a bit more millennial, more fun and punchy, and we’ll have more fun in marketing.