Savoury twist for sweets chain


sanchurro1San Churro is piloting a new store concept and initiatives including table service in an attempt to reinvigorate the brand’s image in Melbourne’s highly competitive food market.

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The Melbourne-based chain’s new look concept store replaces San Churro’s first ever store on Brunswick St, which opened in March 2006.

San Churro’s 40 store network is a mixture of company-owned and franchised outlets, with a total value of around $50 million.

The company-owned store features new branding, colour scheme, and fitout; the introduction of savoury food items, such as Spanish empanadas; an expanded range of desserts; and the removal of menu boards instore to allow for table only service.

The chain is also trialling new partnerships, starting with a wi-fi photo printer allowing customers to print photos instore from a smartphone.

Mark Attard, brand and marketing director of San Churro, says the concept store aims to refresh the San Churro image in the chain’s oldest and toughest market.

“The stores in Victoria are the oldest for the brand. We can’t get enough sites for the demand in Perth and Brisbane, but Victoria is probably our toughest market in terms of growth,” Attard said.

“Melbourne is the most competitive food market in the country. There’s a whole lot of other factors in Victoria, but we’ve tried to reinvigorate the brand with this store and build a bit more awareness.”

All features of the pilot store will rollout to new sites, however, it is not yet known if the changes will be introduced to existing stores.

“There’s a lot of things in the store that we have been wanting to trial for a long time, but we didn’t want to put it into a franchise store.

“I think aesthetically a lot will translate through to stores, but in terms of the operational changes they are yet to be proven.”

The move to introduce handheld menus and an expanded product range follows many quick service restaurants, including McDonald’s, which are looking to have a more gourmet offering.

“Table service is a tricky one to get right, but if you get it right you can do it as easily and efficiently as non-table service store.

“Operationally it’s hard to get right, but we would eventually like all our new stores to come out as table service stores,” Attard said.

“We don’t know how [savoury] will affect the consumer perception of what we do, we have to be careful. I’m still wary that we’re a dessert retailer so savoury can be nice to have, but if it impacts on what our core product is, it won’t be something that we will pursue.”

San Churro intends to rollout a minimum of 10 stores a year.

“We were planning to open stores before Christmas, but they have been postponed to January/February, but growth is very strong on the agenda for us.”



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