Jones the Grocer was a passionate initiative that was first launched in Australia in 1996 as a result of a desire to manage an unorthodox grocery store, café, and cheese room. Before flat whites were even a thing, it was the first of its type, delivering artisan food that was simple, fresh, and tasty. The UAE and Qatar both have parts of their first store from Sydney that are still visible. A walk-in cheese room, communal tables, demonstration kitchens, an exclusive selection of gourmet private-label foods, and freshly baked breads, pastries, and cakes are among these amenities.
Jones the Grocer aims to capture and pique the interest of food lovers. Their strategic locations make it a great spot to find and devour from an open kitchen, a wood-fired oven, gourmet retail, artisan cheese, charcuterie and more. In this interview, Yunib Siddiqui – CEO for Jones the Grocer, shares the story about how he accidentally found the brand and deliberately accelerated its global presence.
I had sold off my previous business in England and was thinking of something to do. I stumbled across Jones the Grocer in a magazine called Wallpaper which had published a double page spread about a new store opening. I contacted the former brand owner, we met a few says later and I signed up for a master franchise for the UAE. Today, we have acquired the brand and are the brand franchisor.
The idea was to create a concept which combines a gourmet grocery, cheese room and a café serving hot food. The grocery and cheese offer would integrate with the café giving an integrated offer.
The founder was Lyndsay Jones. Hence the name Jones the Grocer.
The concept is built around simplicity and good food. The square box logo with the iconic blue conveys that feeling of simplicity.
There are plenty of restaurants but very few that combine retail successfully like we do
Strong operational capability, long term vision, experience in and passion for food, access to good locations and capitalization that can facilitate a reasonable and sensible development plan.
It depends on the format type: under 2.8 years to 3.4 years.
The pandemic has been the biggest challenge to date and we pulled through with a quick flip into online retail and by concurrently micro-managing our fixed and variable cost base to cope with the revenue decline.
Marrying my wife and raising three boys to men.
A 2.5 km walk followed by 30 minutes of yoga. Five minutes of meditation. Then, a well-brewed cup of tea with a toasted multi-grain and acai berry jam from Jones the Grocer, of course!
Acquiring the business in 2019 and recently being awarded a unit at London Heathrow.
A global business with at least 100 stores in varying formats.
Ensure franchise processes and systems are documented in a way that your team can be easily trained and operate the brand.
Location matters. The strongest brands can’t overcome a bad location.
Be realistic when building a development plan. Don’t over commit.
Build a good opening team. Getting the right people on board at the outset will help with the roll out and the success of the first few units.
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