Neil Perry calls the new David Jones food hall in Sydney’s Bondi Junction store the biggest restaurant he’s ever opened.
The Rockpool chef is the retailer’s food consultant as DJs spends $100 million over the next three years once again targeting food as a key part of its offering under its new South African owners, Woolworths Holdings (which is not related to the Australian supermarket business of the same name).
The new DJs food business aims to be like upmarket British food retailer Waitrose and the Bondi space has become like a mini market with five in-store dining areas serving 240 people alongside everything from fresh meats, seafood, fruit and veg, a bakery, wines and a large range of take home heat-and-serve meals made especially for the company under the new David Jones Food brand.
Perry has played to his strengths with the in-store dining, with an oyster bar offering freshly opened oysters, alongside prawn cocktails and seafood chowder, while elsewhere there’s a pizza oven, sushi, rotisserie chickens, and sandwiches, plus a space dubbed “The Restaurant” for grilled meats and seafood, as well as Asian dishes and wines and beers.
There’s even a private dining room for 10.
The project has been more than two years in the planning and execution and opened late last week at Bondi Junction. That outlet is something a blueprint for a larger food hall in the $200 million refurbishment of the flagship Elizabeth Street store in Sydney’s CBD.
CEO John Dixon said that instead of traditional aisles, they wanted to create will journey through nine “immersive worlds” of food.
“We have completely reimagined the way customers shop for, and experience, food,” he said.
“We talked to our customers from the outset and saw a huge shift away from exclusive food experiences to people seeking experiences that are immersive and inclusive. We were challenged to create something completely new so our approach has been to revolutionise our food offering.”
Neil Perry said the new DJs food hall was all about “integrating quality food service with retail in a way that’s never been done before in Australia”.
David Jones will focus next on a smaller ‘food market’ concept in Wollongong opening in October, improve the Sydney and Melbourne offering over the next year and then look at several standalone food stores in coming years.
Here’s what it looks like inside the Bondi store.
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