Roast and grill chain Bucking Bull is the latest franchise to shun major shopping centres, opening a store outside a local supermarket in Queensland in a bid to reduce operating costs.
Bucking Bull, which has stores in NSW, Queensland and WA, is managed by Aktiv Brands, which also manages se7en Gourmet Takeway, Skewerz Kebabz and The Kebab Co.
Aktiv Brands was established in 1999 with the commencement of Bucking Bull, which has built a strong presence in the food courts of major shopping centres.
However, the company has now opened a store in Goodna – a suburb in the Queensland city of Ipswich – alongside a newly-opened IGA supermarket.
Store franchisee Gaurav Bansal is also the owner of the supermarket.
Aktiv Brands executive director Dean Vella told Franchising it is the first Bucking Bull store to be integrated into a supermarket model, which, according to Vella, has “great potential”.
“Without the costs usually associated with operating within a shopping centre, we’re able to minimise overhead expenses yet maximise convenience for our customers,” Vella said.
“The Goodna store is really a first for the brand… Goodna is the first store to be integrated into a local supermarket environment.”
It’s understood Aktiv Brands will consider similar sites in the future, suggesting its divergence from major shopping centres is part of a long-term strategy for the Bucking Bull brand.
It’s unknown whether Aktiv Brands will adopt this strategy for its other brands. However, Bucking Bull is not the first franchise to shun shopping centres in favour of other venues.
In May this year, The Cheesecake Shop said its avoidance of major shopping centres is enabling the company to improve rental agreements for franchisees.
“There have been a lot of retailers in the franchising sector that have complained about the high cost of rents,” The Cheesecake Shop general manager Ken Rosebery told StartupSmart.
“[But] we’re getting reductions in rents and improved terms… The type of locations that The Cheesecake Shop has are in regional shopping centres or suburban strip locations.”
“We have very few stores in the large shopping centres, so there is a different sort of relationship with the landlord and the tenant.”
In August, Retail Food Group announced a plan to move its franchise brands out of major shopping centres and into standalone shopfronts and drive-through stores.
“The motivation is to develop our brands such that they can be commercially sustainable for our franchisees outside of the traditional shopping centre environment,” RFG chief executive Tony Alford told AAP.
“Drive-throughs, hole in the walls in strip sites and thoroughfares are just a natural migration for the business.”