Australia’s largest multi-food franchise operator, Retail Food Group (RFG), has opened its Michel’s Patisserie ‘store of the future’ in Lilydale, Victoria.
The move comes as part of RFG’s Project Evolution program, designed to anticipate consumer trends and improve the consumer experience.
The Lilydale store is the first Michel’s Patisserie of its kind in Australia, featuring an updated product range, including baguettes, sandwiches and freshly-baked croissants.
RFG has also updated the store’s look with what marketing and innovations director Tracey Catterall described as a “modern French inspired café store design”, including a simplified logo, fresh colour scheme and new packaging.
The store has been well received, with RFG reporting a 65 per cent increase in average weekly sales against the system average and 85 per cent increase in average weekly sales against the top 10 comparable sub-regional stores.
Michel’s is the second RFG brand to receive the Project Evolution treatment. Donut King’s concept store opened in Marsden, Queensland, in December 2012 and sales at the store are continuing to trend at 58 per cent above comparative suburban stores.
RFG attributes the success of Project Evolution to two years of comprehensive research undertaken across the globe, which focused on international trends and consumer testing.
“Project Evolution provided us with a fantastic opportunity to further leverage Michel’s beautiful French heritage to appeal to the growing patisserie and specialty cake market,” Tracey said.
“A central barista service area gives a heightened coffee experience for customers, building on the already outstanding coffee reputation of Michel’s.”
A renewed focus on customer service and quality also prompted Michel’s Patisserie Lilydale to employ a specialist cake decorator to ice and decorate cakes onsite. The move followed feedback from customers who wanted on-the-spot customisation and personalisation.
“Michel’s offering of specialty cakes, savoury patisserie products and cold and hot drinks has been reinvigorated to suit changing customer tastes and food trends,” Tracey said.
The changes to Lilydale store will be monitored and refined for the next three months before Project Evolution is rolled out across the entire Michel’s Patisserie brand.