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September 13, 2018

When all you’ve got to prove you’re delicious is your branding

When you’re bringing a fresh new take to a much-maligned concept, your visual identity better be charming.

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  • Pictures: Josh Geelen

Andrew Pearce grew up in London went to Uni in London and – as you do – came to Australia to go backpacking. He came to Adelaide first but 12 years later, he’s never left.


Hello Sarnie

147 Pirie Street &
99 Gawler Place
Adelaide, SA 5000

Hello Sarnie is the brainchild of Andrew and a fellow English expat Mike Kendall-Smith. The pair met while managing the Rundle Street and Adelaide Airport locations of Cocolat. Andrew had studied marketing and design in the UK and started offering marketing suggestions to Cocolat – a family owned business.

“I started to offer some ideas there,” says Andrew. “Those ideas went from an hour a week to a day a week, to a week a month to – towards the end – I was pretty much full time marketing manager for Cocolat.”

Hello Sarnie brings the Pret A Manger concept of pre-packaged sandwiches – so radically popular in England and dotted across the globe – to Adelaide.

The concept essentially seeks to wind back the Subway concept of made-to-order fresh, in front of you, and replaces it with ready-to-go sandwiches customers pick out from a display fridge.

Andrew and Mike both agreed this was going to be a hard sell in Adelaide, a city spoilt for fresh food concepts.


Lots of lovely fillings – fresh every morning

“We both thought [ready-to-eat] was a sleeping giant and so we did our research and we wrote a business plan, a very detailed business plan,” says Andrew. And after all the numbers and research and counting people in high-foot-traffic areas was collated, the pair knew that to successfully entice South Australians to buy a pre-made sandwich, their branding was a matter of do or die.

Andrew tells us, the first thing he knew they had right was the name.

“The business name – Hello Sarnie – is a ‘hello’ to introducing the pre-packaged concept to Adelaide and ‘sarnie’ is British slang for sandwich,” says Andrew.

Still to this day, customers ask Andrew whether the franchise has a hiring policy around sourcing British people for their stores. This is a reaction to his accent and disbelief that his shop is South Australian owned.

He’s had to laugh when people he’s serving tell him the business is Singaporean-owned or a Hong Kong franchise. These are both compliments we tell him.

Andrew, his wife Pam and business partner Mike are the only creative force behind the concept he assures us. And of course Hello Sarnie is inspired by Pret A Manger but Hello Sarnie’s name, the copywriting, the floorplan – every detail – right down to the brand’s colour – British racing green – were all developed by the owners – oh and the usual tradespeople.

“It’s that slightly darker green,” says Andrew about the brand colour.

“It’s a darker, deeper colour than you would see in most brands but we just felt it gave it that connection to Mike and my heritage, it has weight that colour, sophistication and – I think – makes it look confident and more trustworthy.”

CityMag doesn’t often promote DIY jobs for branding, but considering the owners of this business did everything themselves to invent, design, fund and deliver this concept – and be around three years later to tell the story – says a lot about their success as designers.

Indeed it was the branding, its consistency and confidence and – dare we use that term – relevance that made us walk in one afternoon, a long way past lunchtime, and purchase our first ‘sarnie’. And might we add that it was the delicious, fresh and surprisingly unique flavours of that sandwich which fulfilled everything promised by their brand.

Hello Sarnie’s sandwiches are designed to stay fresh from the time they’re made, to the moment they hit your mouth

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