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Case Study 8 'butcher' Doesn't Cut It! Try the Fresh Food Specialist

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Case Study 8 'Butcher' doesn't cut it! Try the fresh food specialist

By Helen Madden-Hallett,

Victoria University

Elg & Robinson are about as far away from the traditional butchers' shop image as could be. Their produce includes not only the standard meat fare, but also a diversified offering of specialty meats, poultry, wine (as part of a loyalty program), spices, smallgoods (prepared on-site) and seafood. Their bouquet specialty meats, fish and poultry selections are prepared on the premises and are purchased by a burgeoning number of professional families with dual incomes living in the area. The marketing effort underpinning this innovative approach to retailing encompasses new product lines, modern promotions, competitive pricing and a close eye on location. The creative team behind the image is a partnership between Phillip Elg and Peter Robinson. Mr Robinson explains: 'Phillip is the director for the company, Elg Developments; and although we are both employees, we have a partnership agreement.'

The company has focused on their store in Williamstown, which has 12 employees in total. Phillip was born and bred in Williamstown, and has had a long association with businesses in particular in the area. He built The Strand, a well-known local seafood eatery, 18 years ago. Phillip was offered the current site in the concourse directly opposite a Coles supermarket (and the conduit to one of the main carparks) because of his professional training as a butcher and his expertise in food. In figure 8.1

, the site for Elg & Robinson in Williamstown, near the Coles supermarket, is shown.

FIGURE 8.1 The Elg & Robinson storefront and the entry to the Coles supermarket

Source: Used with permission of Elg & Robinson.


Another perspective of the storefront is shown in figure 8.2


FIGURE 8.2 The Elg & Robinson storefront

Source: Used with permission of Elg & Robinson.


The partners quickly realised that they were catering to a select market of sophisticated professionals who manage careers and families; making them time-conscious and willing to purchase prepared and part-prepared meat, poultry and fish meals. The sale of these items is a major differentiating factor between the store and the Coles supermarket just across the concourse. As well, the partners realised that there was also a market for speciality smallgoods, so these are provided prepacked and are displayed separately. They also understand the modern consumer has a need for an ever-changing selection of products. This is why the partners had an intention to introduce a range of gourmet curries in filo pastry for winter. The typical customer is accustomed to high-quality restaurant meals and high-quality produce for meals in the home, which is partially why the partners adopted the approach of only using fresh ingredients, with all food preparation done on-site. The goal is for 'restaurant quality food' to be available in a butcher shop. The prepared meat products that are offered at Elg & Robinson are shown in figure 8.3



FIGURE 8.3 Prepared meat products at Elg & Robinson

Source: Used with permission of Elg & Robinson.

Local area

The catchment for this outlet is predominantly the municipality of Hobsons Bay. This area has shown a relatively stable population for over ten years, with the level of departures from the city approximately equalled by the number of arrivals. Given that housing prices are, in the main, at the top end of the price range, there is a stable high-income-earner population well within the area to be serviced by Elg & Robinson. The location of the shop directly opposite the only supermarket in the area is also an advantage, as is the partners' astute approach to not compete head-to-head with Coles on similar product lines. Some local area statistics (Hobsons Bay City Council 2010

* forecast population for 2010 -- 86 632 people ) include:

* forecast change in population between 2010 and 2031--13 451 people

* average annual percentage change between 2010 and 2031 (21 years) -- 0.69 per cent per annum

* total percentage change between 2010 and 2031 (21 years) -- 13.44 per cent.

While the population for the City of Hobsons Bay has remained relatively stable in recent years, it is expected that the population of the area will gradually increase in the future. The forecast population for the area is shown in figure 8.4



FIGURE 8.4 Population forecast

Source: Hobsons Bay City Council (2010

When questioned about Elg & Robinson's range of products, Mr Robinson explains that they need to maintain a certain amount of fresh meat, such as lamb chops, steak and fresh sausages. He goes further, saying where our industry changes and where we are very fortunate as butchers is that we have diversified into fresh fish, and we make our own smallgoods. We've planted ourselves right outside a major supermarket -- the only supermarket in Williamstown -- and they serve 30 000 people a week, but 70 per cent of what is in our window isn't available in Coles. So, if you want a handmade chicken filo, or any one of a number of varieties we make, that's not available in there [in the Coles supermarket]; right down to some of the value-adding we do with fresh fish. Customers can't get filo with fresh fish [from Coles], and certainly can't get a marinara like we make it. Any of our marinated lines and food prepared lines that we do ... just about all of them aren't available in Coles, so it makes us a very healthy competitive alternative to what the supermarkets provide, and we almost work hand in hand with them to offer a broader selection. ).


The contemporary and eye-catching storefront is one of the first things that can be noticed when coming through the concourse. There are large backlit atmospheric panels and sales pitches around weekly specials. Even when closed, the glass concertina



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