Chilli for the Chills: Beach Burrito sets up shop on the Jindy slopes
The normally beach-bound joint will open a pop up in Jindabyne for 16 weeks, and serve its savory Mexican food to starved snowboarders.
Jindabyne, also known by the shorthand Jindy, is a popular alpine skiing and snowboarding destination in New South Wales (NSW). It attracts a huge tourist following during the winter months from June to August, and Beach Burrito Company thought it was the perfect test market for their southern expansion.
“I knew I needed to test my systems and secure my distribution channels for our expansion into the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Victoria (VIC) and this will be a great way to do it,” said Blake Read, Founder and Managing Director, Beach Burrito Company in an exclusive interview with QSR.
The Jindy pop up will be the fifth store for Beach Burrito Company, with four others located in Bondi, Coogee, Cronulla and Newtown.
Pop Up Predicaments
While a pop up sounds easy enough to set up compared to a permanent store, Mr. Read acknowledged that it was still quite a challenge, especially in the regulatory and logistical fronts.
“As you know we are still bound by the same strict conditions imposed by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) and New South Wales (NSW) health department, so bringing up the old kitchen down here to code was quite the fit out,” said Mr. Read.
“It’s still the same amount of energy involved as doing a full fit out. Only difference is this one we've made it to pull it all out and put in a container for the next one,” he added.
“Logistically, a bit of a nightmare if you run out of a product down here. It can be 3 to 5 days before I can get anything. There's been a lot of driving to Canberra for stupid things like stainless steel thongs,” he said, noting that a solid network of suppliers can be a lifesaver when expanding to farther locations.
“But apart from that, my current suppliers have been fantastic finding other suppliers for me or arranging for their trucks to get to our door,” he said.
Aside from testing the waters of expansion southwards, Mr. Read also revealed that setting up the Jindy pop up is a personal homecoming of sorts for the brand.
“Snowboarding is the main reason I got into restaurants in the first place, starting as a dishwasher in Breckenridge Colorado and working my way up through the ranks. Since opening my first one in Bondi I've been thinking about getting back down to the snow,” admits Read, who is an avid snowboarding and surfing enthusiast.
“According to my wife, ‘The only reason he did Jindabyne was so he had an excuse to go snowboarding’ There is a lot of truth in that,” adds Read.
All in all, Beach Burrito’s short stint at the slopes is a mixture of business and pleasure – one that benefits the brand, its owner and the rest of the crew.
“The 16-week Pop up will help me find the weak links, allow me to get back on the snow and offer our Sydney staff fun opportunities to work and chill at ‘Burrito House,’” he said. “It’s pure fun. And Beach Burrito Company will always be about fun.”