Born in the Autumn of 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, Shingle Inn is more than just a business; it is a fascinating part of Australia’s, and more specifically Brisbane’s history.
From the humble beginnings of one store that stood alone for 66 years, the Shingle Inn is now a franchise network of 40 cafes throughout Australia.
Directors Andrew and Peter Bellchambers are second generation owners of a family business established by their parents. Andrew and Peter believe that food is the common element that brings friends and family together and are committed to continuing the long tradition of Shingle Inn’s using fresh ingredients and staying true to long held traditions and recipes, as well as developing new products to remain relevant for new generations.
“The original Shingle Inn, now within City Hall, with its wood panelled walls and chandeliers, created an unrivalled atmosphere, but it was the quality of the cakes and freshly prepared lunches, I believe, that kept people coming back,” says Peter. “The Shingle Inn not only represents a departure from the world outside, but a special place where people share memories with those they love.”
Andrew says the fact that Shingle Inn has only ever been owned by two families is what drives them to honour the traditions and the products that have survived multiple generations.
“Our parents made a conscious effort to retain all the elements that generations of customers have loved about Shingle Inn. The atmosphere, the food and of course, the service. There’s a parallel you can draw from the generational aspect of running the business to the way the in-store experience brings generations together. There’s a lot of history here.”
That family sentiment underpinning the Shingle Inn story has seen Peter and Andrew committing to honoring the cafe’s heritage while growing the business via a franchising model that began in 2009. The brothers have nurtured the business from eight company-owned cafes to a network of 40 franchised cafes throughout South East Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, SA, WA and most recently, a café in New Zealand.
Additionally, and to keep up with the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, Shingle Inn City Hall has developed an online store that provides the convenience to Click and Collect Shingle Inn’s most popular products from the café or to have them delivered. This is an increasingly popular method for people to purchase gifts and hampers too with Shingle Inn team members available to assist with creating bespoke gifts.
Continual innovation such as this is a hallmark of Shingle Inn and a necessary part of survival for a business over more than 80 years. Despite that, customers can escape to a bygone era of quiet indulgence at Shingle Inn City Hall with table service and a unique atmosphere unsurpassed in today’s café culture.