PERSONALISED service and high-quality meat products have been the recipe for success for traditional artisan butchers Torre & Mordini, Duncraig.
Torre & Mordini owners Silvio Mordini, Frank Torre and Lee Riskas formed a three-way partnership in 1994 and have been in business together for 25 years.
In addition to the butchery, they also own a Gourmet Deli named Carine Cuisine by Torre and Mordini, which is just next door.
"The deli complements the butcher and the butcher complements the deli," Lee said.
Prior to the opening of Torre and Mordini Artisan Butchery, the partners each had businesses in their own right, having nearly 100 years of experience between them.
Although they are not related, the family-style work environment they have created has meant numerous staff have been with the business for many years.
Having been raised around a butchery meant it was only natural for Lee to continue the family tradition, entering the industry 30 years ago.
"I come from a family history of butchers, my great grandfather and my grandfather were both butchers before me and it's the same with my business partners, both their fathers and grandfathers were butchers as well,'' Lee said.
"Some of us fell into the industry and others did it by choice, at the time when you're young and going to become something, you don't choose the trade it kind of chooses you.
"That's how a lot of us have ended up in the butcher industry."
Having decided to become a butcher, Lee went on to complete his four-year apprenticeship.
"When I did the course it was over four years, three years of TAFE and then one year of practical experience in the workplace, now it's a bit more streamlined, with it all being done in the store," Lee said.
With lamb prices continuing to soar, the quantity of lamb products sold has noticeably declined, with customers opting for cheaper meats.
"There's been a lot of resistance - customers are still eating lamb, but they're probably not eating as much and it's not just with lamb, it's with beef too," he said.
Despite increases in prices, beef is still the most popular meat sold, closely followed by chicken then lamb.
"Chicken has become a large portion of our offering," Lee said.
With the imminent threat of African Swine Fever, pork prices have risen dramatically, creating an unfortunate rise in prices.
Regardless of the price fluctuations of different meats customers continue to return to Torre & Mordini for their meat needs.
"What we have noticed with a lot of our customers is that the purchases are still there, they're still buying, it's just the volume they are purchasing isn't as great," Lee said.
Consumers are living increasingly busier lifestyles and to accommodate this Torre & Mordini offers a large range of gourmet, value-added and pre-prepared lines, which have become popular products.
"Most of our products, nearly 80 per cent are value-added, it's what's trending now," he said.
When it comes to sourcing its meat, Torre & Mordini sells only 100 per cent Australian grown products.
"Our chicken, lamb and pork are grown locally and our exclusive Angus pure grass-fed beef is grown in South Australia," Lee said.
"Their South Australian beef was the only 100pc grass fed pure black Angus bred product available to us in our early years of our business.
"It has won awards internationally and we are the exclusive distributors of the product in Western Australia."
Torre & Mordini sell their beef as a branded product, meaning the beef is marketed, based on certain production standards and grading, which according to Lee, is what customers are after.
"Our customers like to know where their product comes from, the breed of the animal, where it was grown and fed and whether it was sustainably and ethically raised," Lee said.
Dwindling numbers of independent butcher shops means competition is no longer between the individual butcher stores, but the national and independent supermarket chains.
For Torre & Mordini separating themselves from the supermarkets has become important.
"We offer unique, high quality products as a point of difference and pair it with personalised service," Lee said.
"Am I extremely different from another butcher?
"Probably not, but I am extremely different compared to a supermarket.
"What makes us different is that we are an old-fashioned, traditional butcher with a European influence and we provide personalised service for customers.
"People can come in and tell us how they want their meat cut, if they want a particular seasoning that we have or if they want specific products made without certain ingredients.
"We sell a lot of gluten-free and preservative-free products and all our marinades are made from natural ingredients."
Torre & Mordini believes that great service is important and this has helped them to build a strong customer base.
"We are offering personalised cuts and premium products, so if you're paying for a premium-priced product you want good service with a smile," Lee said.
He said one of the best beef products they sold was the Tomahawk steak, which is a rib-eye on the bone.
"It's my favourite, we bake it in the oven at a moderate temperature, bring the core temperature up to 50 degrees Celsius and then you char it in a hot pan to finish it off," Lee said.