Three in three weeks for Ferguson Plarre

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Inside Franchise Business: Three in three weeks for Ferguson PlarreLong-standing bakery franchise, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses has continued its successful run of new openings this week, following major refurbishments to a store in Victoria.

The bakehouse, located in the Westfield Southland shopping centre, will be operated by the network’s reigning Franchisee of the Year and marks the third store opening in three weeks for the brand.

On the back of last year’s 14 per cent network growth, Steve Plarre, Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses CEO and director said the brand was exceeding sales projections for a number of franchise stores.

“This has been one of the best starts to a year for us yet,” Plarre said.

“We’ve just opened a store in Wendouree, a Stocklands in Ballarat. We originally had a high street location, but we’ve reopened in the centre, and that site is trading really strongly, with returns about 30% above expectations.”

“Dandenong has also just opened, which was a conversion of a previously trading food café, and that has also seen 30% growth, compared with the figures of its past life.”

Plarre also said that further development was slated for the back half of the year.

“We have another three openings in the next two months, so that will mark six new openings in the first couple of months of this year. The new sites will be located at Knox, Croydon and Fountain Gate.”.

Plarre, a fourth-generation owner and pastry chef, said the brand’s expansion success was a reflection of the brand’s simplistic approach.

“It’s the simplicity of our model. Franchisees can turn up, turn the lights, get the coffee machine fired up and off they go,” Plarre said.

“That’s the commitment that we make, Ferguson Plarre will make the product, you don’t have to worry about that, so as a franchisee, you can focus on what is really important in this industry, which is great coffee and great service.”

After 117 years of operation, Plarre said it was important for the brand to maintain the same community-focused methodology that made the bakehouse model successful originally. 

“There’s been a massive focus on what does service mean? It’s important to remember, for us especially, the things that made us successful are those human elements, so how can you maintain them?” Plarre said.

“We want our customers to feel that what we include in our model is exactly what my Great-Grandfather implemented over 100 years ago.”

The latest openings bring the network’s total number of franchise stores to 73, with new locations currently in negotiation.

“We also have four sites in close negotiation, obviously I can’t divulge where exactly, but there are plans in place,” Plarre said.

Nick Hall

Nick is business journalist at Octomedia, working on View More...
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