Multi-food franchise operator Retail Food Group has opened its Michel’s Patisserie ‘store of the future’ in Lilydale, Victoria as part of the company’s project evolution across its brands.

The new concept store features a simplified logo, updated colour scheme, new packaging, an extended savoury menu and a modern French-inspired café store design.

Since its opening, RFG has reported a 65 per cent increase in average weekly sales against the system average and an 85 per cent increase in average weekly sales against the top ten comparable sub-regional stores.

RFG marketing and innovations director Tracey Catterall said that the new concept store demonstrated a massive shift in the direction of the brand.

“The concept store marks the start of something truly special for Michel’s Patisserie,” she 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 sees Michel’s Lilydale employ a specialist Cake Decorator to ice and decorate cakes on site as per customer’s requests for 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.

“So far, the customer reaction to the new look Michel’s Patisserie has been extremely positive and we are thrilled with the sales results.”

Michel’s is the second of RFG’s brand systems to receive the project evolution treatment. Donut King’s project evolution 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.

Catterall said the success of project evolution was a result of two years of comprehensive research undertaken across the globe for international trends as well as in depth consumer testing.

“Project Evolution is about evolving our brand systems by anticipating consumer trends and the future of the retail environment,” she said.

“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.”

The new concepts at Michel’s Patisserie Lilydale are going to be trialled and refined for the next three months before they are rolled out across the Michel’s Patisserie system.