Four years since first opening in Taree, New South Wales, convenience chain Jack & Co believes it now has a bankable and scalable model, with plans to open around five new stores next year.
“We have four stores now and we believe we have a bankable model that is scalable; we just have to consider how to roll out the concept – so we’re currently looking for sites,” Wade Death, director of Jack & Co, told C&I.
“I think we’ll open around five next year, predominantly in NSW with fuel.”
First opened in 2012 and now with four sites across NSW, key to Jack & Co’s success has been its point of difference, offering fresh food in-store including sandwiches and pastries and barista quality coffee.
“Over the last 20 years our industry has done a lot of things the same and that hasn’t got us anywhere,” said Mr Death, who is also a former Caltex executive.
“We ended up with stores that all look the same. If 7-Eleven takes the offer in one direction, I take the offer in another direction and the supermarkets take it in a different direction entirely then I think we have the greatest chance of creating a thriving industry for the next 20 years, all based on our own points of difference.
“I don’t want to sell $1 coffee when I could sell $4 coffees. So I am taking my offer the other way. I think the battlegrounds are changing and there’s a huge amount of channel blurring starting to take place. The future of this industry will be absolutely fascinating.”
Changing channel perceptions
While Jack & Co has been at the forefront of innovation within the convenience channel in Australia, Mr Death believes the perception of convenience stores still has a long way to go.
“As an industry we still need to progress our food into an offer that is comparable with high street locations, QSRs and cafes. We have to learn how to manage this beast that is a QSR food offer within a convenient environment. It’s tough but it’s a massive opportunity.
“This is start of the next two decades’ challenge. There’s still room for soft drinks and tobacco but ultimately I think currently we only cater to about 25 per of the convenience market. We’re still not talking to females in the channel.”
He says the revolution needed in the convenience channel is around service and experience.
“I think the service in our industry is nothing short of appalling. Whilst not true of all operators, we should be unbelievably ashamed as an industry at the levels of service we think customers will tolerate.
“The reason they tolerate it is because they don’t have a choice. We need to give them a choice now. Between myself, my other partners and all of our great staff, we’re aligned in this being the number one thing in our culture that sets us apart and we need to keep building on that.”
Read the full interview with Wade Death in the October/November issue of C&I Retailing magazine out now.