With the service station/c-store market dominated by major players, it’s a challenge for independent outlets to remain competitive.
But thanks to some innovative presentation and service concepts, Jill & Jacks has been able to carve out its own niche in the market – expanding from its original base in Alice Springs to encompass outlets in Port Douglas in Queensland, Ulverstone in Tasmania and Chippendale in inner-city Sydney.
Jill & Jacks breaks with tradition by offering not just fuel but good food, good coffee and great service. The focus from the outset was on changing the way customers view convenience, says Jill & Jack’s Vincent Cardinale.
“We recognised that half the customers who came through our doors were female and we weren’t catering for them. We didn’t have a product range or offer which was enticing, and that needed to change.”
With many people today juggling long commutes in heavy traffic with the need to spend more time with their families, Jill & Jack’s provides an attractive one-stop shop environment where customers can come not only to fill up on fuel but grab a good quality coffee, breakfast or lunch.
“The look and feel of our stores is quite different to the normal service station. When we first opened customers would ask, where do we pay for petrol? Because there would be a barista making coffee at one counter and an attendant preparing a sweet chilli chicken tender baguette at another. Since they became familiar with the concept, the engagement has been phenomenal.”
Ingham’s is Jill & Jack’s number one protein supplier across all stores. “Ingham’s have been fantastic – they were with us from the conceptual stage right through to where we are today. They could see the potential for growth in the market and wanted to align themselves with a concept that they knew had legs, and it’s turned out pretty positive,” Vincent says.
“We use a wide variety of their products, which has allowed us to develop and extend our menu. We use their Chicken Schnitzels in our baguettes, wraps and salads, and we use Chicken Tenders in wraps and baguettes and as a pre-packed grab and go meal. At our bigger sites which have a roadhouse-style presentation we serve Ingham’s Wing Dings as either an individual purchase or pre-packed with wedges, and they’re also sold with a beverage as a combo meal deal.”
Vincent describes the quality and consistency of Ingham’s products as “fantastic” and adds: “If it wasn’t for the quality of their products, we wouldn’t be able to have a consistent offer across all our stores. If you were to fly to any of our sites, whether in Alice Springs, Port Douglas, Tasmania or Sydney, and buy a baguette or a wrap or a salad they would all taste the same, and that’s down to the consistent quality we get from Ingham’s products.”
Being able to provide this kind of consistent offer to customers is vital to the success of the business, Vincent emphasises: “We want our customers to feel secure in knowing that when they come in here, they’ll get a good quality meal every time and the Ingham’s products enable us to offer that. Product consistency also makes meal preparation easier for our staff – they aren’t chefs or cooks, so having a good quality, consistent product makes it easy for them to manage our menu.”