Gourmet food for everyday living from Jones the Grocer

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.

1. How did you enter the franchise business?

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.

2. Where and how did the idea of your concept come from?

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.

3. What inspired the brand name?

The founder was Lyndsay Jones. Hence the name Jones the Grocer.

4. What is the story behind the brand’s logo?

The concept is built around simplicity and good food. The square box logo with the iconic blue conveys that feeling of simplicity.

5. What makes your brand different from your competitors?

There are plenty of restaurants but very few that combine retail successfully like we do

6. What are the essential qualities that you look for in a franchisee?

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.

7. How long does it take, on average, for your franchisee to realize their investment?

It depends on the format type: under 2.8 years to 3.4 years.

8. What was the major challenge you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

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.

8.1 What is your best achievement?

Marrying my wife and raising three boys to men.

9. How does your business day start?

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!

10. What was your best moment throughout your franchise career?

Acquiring the business in 2019 and recently being awarded a unit at London Heathrow.

11. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

A global business with at least 100 stores in varying formats.

12. Any tips you want to impart to our readers who want to be in the franchise industry?

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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