It’s back! Bunnings’s famous sausage sizzle will return to some stores from this weekend, with a new, post-COVID look.
The hardware retailer said it would begin a carefully phased re-introduction of the favourite community fundraiser from Saturday, starting with selected stores in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Queensland, NSW, the ACT, South Australia and Western Australia are likely to follow by the end of July – although Victorians enduring a worrying coronavirus spike will have to wait a bit longer.
“We know our customers have missed being able to show their support for local community groups by stopping by the sausage sizzle and we
know the important fundraising role they play for thousands of community groups across Australia,” Bunnings chief operating officer Deb Poole said on Thursday.
“We’re really excited to be starting the process of bringing them back in places where restrictions have eased.”
The retailer typically hosts sausage sizzles for more than 40,000 community groups every year.
They were halted in mid-March, as the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on Australia. Increasing hygiene restrictions during the early days of COVID-19 made it difficult for Bunnings to attract volunteers and maintain a steady supply of meat, leading to its decision to take the sizzle out of a weekend trip to the hardware.
Instead, it donated gift cards to community groups that had been booked to host fundraisers.
Those groups will get priority when the stalls return from Saturday, with sporting clubs, Rotary, Lions clubs and youth groups all set to fire up the barbecue this weekend.
But it won’t look quite as shoppers remember it. Changes will include:
- Separate ordering and pick-up points to allow for 1.5 metres’ physical distancing;
- increased cleaning and hygiene requirements;
- more signs to guide customers;
- extra staff behind the barbecues to encourage physical distancing.
“We’d like to thank our customers for how patient they have been over the past few months with all the additional measures we have in place across our stores,” Ms Poole said.
“While we know they will be excited by this return, as are we, we’d just ask everyone to continue to be patient and respect the guidelines.”
Bunnings will use feedback from the NT and Tasmanian test sizzles to refine its approach before going the whole snag in other states.