Shingle Inn hits 50 outlet milestone

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Brisbane’s iconic Shingle Inn café will reach a milestone this month with the opening of its 50th store, the sixth in Perth’s CBD, just five years after launching its franchise program.

The established cafe chain's directors, Andrew and Peter Bellchamber, said the decision to franchise the cafes was made when the portfolio comprised eight company-owned stores in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“Despite a quite methodical approach towards this milestone, it has arrived remarkably quickly thanks to our very dedicated team, all of which should be proud of their individual efforts toward this collective achievement” said Andrew.

“We established a roll-out strategy for a five year period of growth, while accounting for stronger growth in certain regions due to the hospitality and retail landscape being quite fluid. To achieve 50 stores within five years of franchising sits within our goals and expectations of growing the brand,” said Peter. 

Over the past five years, since December 2009, Shingle Inn has expanded to 29 stores in Queensland, which included the high profile re-opening of the original store within Brisbane’s City Hall, as well as stores in New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and Western Australia.

The organisation was also awarded the Franchise Council of Australia’s Emerging Franchise of the Year Award 2014.

The opening of the 50th store coincides with a significant milestone for the Bellchambers family.

“It will be the 40th anniversary of our parents purchasing the original Shingle Inn café from the Webster family. This will also mark our stewardship surpassing that of the Webster’s, who owned the café for 39 years,” said Andrew.

Shingle Inn was originally opened during the Great Depression on Edward Street, Brisbane, in 1936.  In its 79 year history the café has only been owned by two families, ensuring a continuity of product, tradition and family culture.

Andrew said a number of different models for expansion were considered, including private equity, joint-venture capital investment.

“We settled on franchising as it provided a vehicle that encouraged the owner-operator to be key to the store’s success, which is a critical component in hospitality.

“The family component is inherent in franchisees operating their Shingle Inn store. They manage it as an individual family unit, but at the same time, they are a part of the broader Shingle Inn family…I don’t see that feeling changing.”

The next goals to achieve included expanding to 100 stores, including business oppportunities in new territories such as New Zealand and South East Asia. 


Sarah Stowe

Sarah Stowe heads up the editorial in the Inside Franchise Business group at Octomedia. Sarah is a hands-on editor who has worked in consumer and B2B titles in UK and Australia and she has been editor of the View More...
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