A Primal evolution for stores


primalFranchise group, Aktiv Brands, plans to increase store numbers across all its retail chains this year, including the group’s latest venture that taps into the growing paleo diet food trend.

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Paleo-based cafe and deli business, Primal Pantry, founded by Mark Rockley in 2013, joined the Aktiv Brands stable last year, alongside quick service restaurants Bucking Bull Roast & Grill, Skewerz Kebabz, and Seven Seas Seafood Café.

The partnership has led to the opening of two franchised Primal Pantry stores, taking its total store count to three, with Rockley now operations manager of the brand.

Primal Pantry will open three new stores in the first quarter in 2015, two stores in Queensland and its first in NSW.

Dean Vella, executive director of Aktiv Brands, told Inside Retail PREMIUM the brand’s growth strategy is to open three stores a quarter.

“We tend to cluster, it makes more operational sense. We have two more stores in the south east Queensland region that are in final stages, and our first store entering NSW,” Vella said.

“We keep [expansion] close to our chest. We’ve lost two or three sites to our competitor just by talking about those sites.”

Each store is around 150sqm, divided between into a cafe and retail space for customers to purchase menu items.

Vella says Aktiv Brands is seeking to extend opening hours to allow evening trade. It is also exploring options for a smaller kiosk format, but will not open the cafe or retail store as standalone concepts.

“Kiosks are something that we are looking into at the moment, but I don’t believe we would just go into the retail element or cafe. I think what the brand stands for is all of those components coming together.”

Bucking Bull

Like Primal Pantry, Bucking Bull, the flagship in the Aktiv Brand stable, will open its first store in NSW this year following on from its rollout in Victoria.

Bucking Bull was started in 1999 by Atkiv Brands and has 17 stores in Queensland, 12 stores in WA, five in NSW, and two in Victoria.

Aktiv Brands acquired Skewerz Kebabz (formerly known as The Kebab Co) in 2010, and launched Seven Seas Seafood Café in 2011.

Vella says Bucking Bull has previously focused on clustering sites, but now will focus on NSW ahead of a more rapid growth strategy.

“We have saturated south east Queensland and Western Australia and the brand has just entered Victoria with two new Bucking Bull stores,” Vella said.

“We have evolved the product quite substantially as well and the brand. The customers’ needs and wants are changing so quickly in food retail, so we need to make sure that we’re relevant,” Vella said.

“We’ve got a few sites for NSW. We’re working on doing a lot more work in the first quarter, focusing on keeping the brand relevant before we move to a more rapid growth strategy.”

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2029. To subscribe, click here. 


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