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NEW CONCEPTS | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Butcher and the Farmer forays into the QSR space

Seagrass Boutique Hospitality aims to have 28 more stores in casual dining format.

From being a casual restaurant, Butcher and the Farmer has launched their first QSR-concept outlet in Meadowbank and diversified its offerings in order to capture a larger number of customers including the millennial demographic.

To discuss this transition in detail, QSR Media got in touch with Bradley Michael, the CEO of Seagrass Boutique Hospitality.

QSR Media: What motivated the brand to decide that it would be more suited in a QSR format?

It was the clientele that were coming that was giving me the feel that they wanted things that were a little bit more than a standard menu. They wanted food that was changing on an ongoing basis, they wanted things quicker and they wanted to come with a big crowd and share the food.

So we decided to take the brand Butcher and the Farmer and put it into casual dining QSR experience where people can get pizza, pasta, burgers, ribs, roast chicken and a whole range of different things in a casual relaxed sharing manner, that gives them a quick, easy cheaper option to come in more regularly.

We've opened our first QSR venue in Meadowbank and it’s been a major success.

QSR Media: What are some of the key learning's/skills B&TF acquired as a casual restaurant and what would give you the edge as a QSR?

We have different types of cuisines, done by different chefs under one roof which gives our guests the opportunity and the privilege to pick anything from chicken to vegetarian meals, all the way to Italian. We have Middle Eastern flavours to enjoy as well as chicken and beef burgers and steaks. It’s a nice environment where you get a vast array of food to cater to any mood or dietary requirement.

QSR Media: Aside from meeting consumer needs, what does the brand hope to achieve in this transition?

It hopes to achieve more regular customers, especially the core millennial group but whilst not excluding other groups such as families, which gives us an opportunity to open in high-density populated areas, because this concept now can do big volumes.

Additionally, it gives us the opportunity to try different tastes, so we do not only stick to the taste that we have under in the kitchen and under the one roof. If we find for example that pasta is starting to become a little sluggish, we can take it out and add Mongolian (that is to say if Mongolian is on-trend or Middle Eastern as an example. We can play around with different flavours, menu items, and address trends and that's why I’ve done it.

QSR Media: How will the new format synergise with other brands?

It’s part of the Seagrass family, it synergises from the back end through supply and the front end with training, but essentially, it’s a separate animal and it sits on its own, and it has its own culture, DNA and direction.

QSR Media: What is your vision for the revamped format?
The revamped format has to be funky, trendy, sexy, comfortable, colorful and energetic.

QSR Media: How many QSR-format Butcher and the Farmer stores are you looking to have?

Over the next 5 years about 28.

QSR Media: To move from a casual restaurant to QSR, you must have been insight in forecasting trends and being on the pulse to what the consumers want. Tell us more on this?

The future trends are moving very quickly, people are wanting food trends to keep changing, they want to taste new flavours, they are always wanting to see new things, and everyone has a phone in their hand and most looking at Instagram. Instagram is a portal of the world food trends and if you do not move with the trends and the times, you will stand still and losing customers. It’s a way of evolving in the food business and it’s a section of the food business that needs to be catered for and I believe Butcher and the Farmer is going to a great job in that secret.

QSR Media: Any advice for people in the QSR space, or formula for success in the food business?

Look after your staff, value them, recognise your staff’s achievements and hard work and make sure that you have a product that's always looking to improve, never be stagnate. Have fun in what you are doing because the food business is a good business and great space where you can meet new people, different people, and interesting people.

Enjoy meeting people and cooking for them. If you are not having fun in this environment, don't do it. 

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