Technology ramp up accompanies store push

 

baskin robbinsBaskin-Robbins has opened its first corporate owned store in NSW, in Sydney’s Rouse Hill as part of the ice cream chain’s push to open 25 stores across Australia in the next 12 months.

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The new stores will be a mix of corporate and franchise owned.

This follows the opening of the brand’s first corporate store in Australia in Manly, Queensland, in October. Previously, all stores were managed by franchise partners.

The focus of the expansion will now be on Victoria, with 12 stores planned for the state, the majority scheduled to open within an eight month window.

Baskin-Robbins Australia GM, David Jordan, told Inside Retail, “Our approach is to open a portfolio of stores in Victoria that are corporate owned. We have a fairly limited brand presence in Victoria so we felt that would be a solid approach and then the expansion plans across the country will be fairly strong”.

Jordan confirmed that Western Australia is also an area of focus. The company receives many enquiries from potential franchisees in WA, which is viewed as strong growth market for QSRs.

“We already have two stores opening in Perth in February, and another three to five stores based on location that will open [in WA] by the end of the year,” said Jordan.

The latest push follows a 2014 growth spurt, which saw the company increase its network by more than 20 per cent.

Baskin-Robbins has invested $2 million to spearhead its expansion plan of more than 200 parlours in the next 10 years.

“This past year was Baskin-Robbins Australia’s most successful year to date, seeing the company open a record 14 stores.

“We believe the brand has an opportunity to be able to build between 250 and 280 stores [in Australia],” Jordan said.

Besides store growth, the company is implementing other initiatives in conjunction with franchise partners to ensure the brand’s long term sustainability.

A strong focus is around cakes. Baskin-Robbins is using tablets to enhance the ability of franchise partners to grow that market within their stores.

With tablets, clients can custom create products as well as review the variations available in each store.

“In the coming two quarters, we’ll adapt that even further and have an ordering portal for our customers to go online and customise cakes and order at their location as well,” said Jordan.

It is also in the final stages of working through its digital, mobile, and card-based app and loyalty program.

Both initiatives will be launched in the early part of the second half of the year.

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2031. To subscribe, click here.

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