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Oliver’s CEO opens up on upcoming changes to business

Oliver’s Real Food new chief executive Tammie Phillips, who joined the business in June 2020, has opened up to shareholders on the changes she expects to make to the organic fast food business in the next year.

The business suffered a total reported loss of $17.5 million for FY20, impacted significantly by the closure of much of its store network and the impact of travel restrictions.

And while it’s easy to make excuses about the impact of Covid-19, and hope that things will get better as the vaccine rollout inevitably leads to inter- and intrastate travel rebounding, Phillips is instead looking to simplify operations and be better at what Oliver’s does best.

At the moment, Oliver’s has stores and franchises which are supplied through three different logistics arms, which are connected to Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland operations. A separate third-party logistics branch is also connected to Oliver’s Euro Garage outlets, and is also supplied by the business’ Victorian logistics arm.

“In short, the Oliver’s operating model is complex,” Phillips said at the business’ AGM.

“Having completed the review of the business footprint I am confident that our greatest gains are going to come from rooting out this excess complexity and simplifying the structure and overhead in the business.”

And work has already begun to simplify the business with the goals of, essentially, doing less and doing it properly. Changes to the operating model will be announced to the market in the coming weeks, Phillips said, as the board reviews and approves them.

One of the first changes, however, is a new point-of-sale system that will speed up service and allow online ordering, and will be implemented in the next few weeks. The business is also looking at product development intently, and has spent the last six months redeveloping its quick-service menu and introducing grab & go products, a breakfast menu and a bigger focus on ‘own brand’ products.

“There will be significant changes to the operating model and overhead,” Phillips said. “We are underway with simplifying the business structure to deliver sustainable cost reductions while creating a more effective and agile company.

“This will then allow us to turn our attention to revenue growth by leveraging our great brand and understanding and responding to market opportunities.”

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