By Aimee Chanthadavong

Chicken retailer Lenard’s continues to remain strong despite having faced tough competition over the times, so much so the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Since the first store opened in Queensland in 1987, Lenard's has expanded its store footprint with 200 franchise stores across the country.

Speaking to RetailBiz, founder Lenard Poulter says over the years his been in business retailing has changed dramatically.

“You use to buy from our local corner stores but now we’re all buying from shopping centres and that has changed how we buy food and how we eat home,” he said.

“Also supermarkets are growing to become the larger and dominant player in the fresh food market, which hasn’t been easy to compete with.”

However, Poulter understands that in order to remain relevant and to compete against the giant supermarkets it’s about the need to be flexible.

“The number one priority when I started this business was from a branding point of view to have a brand so that we can be identified by our customers and that has helped us remain competitive against the supermarkets,” he said.

“Then we moved on to become more flexible by reducing the size of our stores and being a more service-orientated franchise.”

“We have also positioned ourselves to become the professionals of chicken and the food industry. So as specialists of the industry that has given us a real sense of confidence in moving forward.

“From a business point of view we’ve been correcting our systems as we do not waste anything in our process. We make sure our consumers are getting quality products at a good value.”

“We want to give our customers fresh products that is made daily in our stores and being flexible allows us to do that. That also helps our franchise owners to establish that trusted relationship with customers, which is what differs use from supermarkets.”

As for whether the business has been affected by the industry’s shift into the online space, Poulter does not seem too concerned.

“We’ve done a bit online. Just about two months ago we started offering an online ordering process that allows people to order online and pick up their orders on the way home. We have yet to offer the option of home delivery but it’s a matter of time as I still believe the online space is still very immature in the food industry compared to say the fashion industry.

“People still want fresh and more importantly safe food. So when you put in the equation of fresh food being delivered there are concerns about the safety of that.”