0 Comments |  Growth |  PRINT | 

Outback Jacks’ expansion highlights rise of all-Australian offerings

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Restaurant chain Outback Jacks Bar & Grill will expand its network in NSW and the ACT after appointing a master franchisee, who is also looking at opportunities in the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.


Outback Jacks, located in every state and territory except Tasmania, combines a casual dining environment with an Australian menu, including a wide range of steaks.


The Outback Jacks concept is the brainchild of Graeme and Denise Diamond, who have 20 years of experience in the hospitality and retail industries.


Their vision is to create a string of “destination restaurants” – which have a distinct Australian Outback theme – for a wide range of customers including families, businesspeople and tourists.


The franchise makes no apologies for tapping into Australian stereotypes. Each store sells a range of branded merchandise and there is even a company mascot – Jack the Crocodile.


But the all-Australian approach seems to be working, after it was revealed the company has appointed two business partners as the joint master franchisee for NSW and the ACT.


Rob Watkin and Gary Blyton, who have signed up for the master rights across these two regions, will continue growing the company’s presence.


There are eight Outback Jacks restaurants in NSW – with a ninth set to open at Sydney’s Fox Studios – but Watkin and Blyton have already announced four additional sites are available.


Those sites are located in Sydney’s west, the Central Coast, Canberra, and Albury Wondonga.


According to Blyton, the Outback Jacks concept is successful because it appeals to a wide demographic, but particularly families.


“I met Graeme when I was involved in a previous QSR concept and I met him at different franchise events. Every time I spoke to him, he’d had more success with the brand,” he says.


“I started looking into it further from a business perspective. Rob and I were in the market for either an existing brand or bringing different concepts into the country as well.”


“The Outback Jacks opportunity happened at the right time and we lunged at it.”


In addition to NSW and the ACT, Blyton and Watkin are looking at opportunities in the UAE and New Zealand.


“Rob and I just recently added New Zealand and the UAE to our purchase. Rob has extensive links in the UAE – he’s got some roots back there and they take very well to Australian concepts, especially Australian ones,” he says.


“And we just returned from a trip to New Zealand.”


Outback Jacks prides itself on the level of support it offers franchisees across site selection, lease negotiation, store fit-outs, operations, staffing and management, and advertising and promotions.


The company is looking for “hands-on, motivated franchisees” with a “true desire to grow the brand through exceptional business habits”.


Outback Jacks isn’t the only homegrown franchise making a name for itself with its all-Australian offering.


Fellow food franchise Pie Face has enjoyed huge success for its reinvention of the humble meat pie, taking its concept to the US market after establishing a strong presence locally.


Earlier this year, Pie Face co-founder Wayne Homschek said New Yorkers “have taken to the Aussie pie like flies to a barbeque”.


“Each day, thousands of New Yorkers queue up for a taste of the humble Australian meat pie, and sales have blown apart every budget set by the Pie Face team,” he said.