After a decade of running restaurants in South Africa, Jeff and Ivan Sher arrived in Sydney in 1989 looking for a business opportunity. Within a year they were encouraged to look into the charcoal chicken industry because of the future potential of the "then growth" of that industry.
Jeff and Ivan were never ones to do anything by halves, and once they opened their new venture, they set about getting their product as good as any human being could make it. In very short time frame, they discovered that the more they worked at improving the taste, the more time they needed to spend in preparing and nursing the coal bed in order to cook a superior chicken. In fact, they produced such a great tasting chicken their customer base grew both in numbers and distance.
Before long they were attracting clients an hours drive from their shop. And as the client numbers increased, so did their daily working hours, staff numbers, overheads and related expenses.
In the next few years both Jeff and Ivan began to suffer from physical and respiratory illnesses as a result of the constant exposure to the constant heat and acrid smoke from the charcoal emissions and toxins. Ivan was the first to have his work restricted putting extra pressure on Jeff to work harder. In turn, it forced both to look for alternative methods of roasting chickens, in a safer, healthier environment.
Unable to find anything suitable in Australia, Jeff travelled to the USA, Italy, France, Germany and England looking for an appropriate alternative. Not only did he not find any, but to his dismay, he could not even find anything that came close to what he wanted. So he decided to create his own.
For the next two years he pursued his goal during every spare minute he could find. But really didn't make the headway he wanted until he met the current manufacturer of the Radiant, Bob Black, and from that point onwards Jeff became so consumed with the project, he spent most waking hours in Bob's factory, tinkering, fine-tuning, evaluating and rebuilding his dream until he was satisfied with the result. Within 12 months the first of Jeff's prototypes came off the production line and ended up in one of his stores.
A few months later a Raymond Terrace charcoal chicken seller tracked him down and insisted he sell him the next prototype as he was about to be closed down by the local council due to excessive smoke and odour emissions. The machine was installed and the council problems solved overnight. Then to everyone's surprise, the sales at the Raymond Terrace store increased markedly due to the more succulent flavour.
As Jeff's shops began to multiply because of the quality of his consumer product, so did the numbers of machines in his premises. Jeff then set about creating levels of store presentation very few in the industry came close to - further escalating his unique style of market dominance.
With his innovative designs featuring rotisserie cooking in clear view of the public, Jeff's shops have not only become a local show piece but have also attracted more clients because of the clean, wholesome, fat-free and better tasting product.
Jeff also takes pride in the way his display style has pioneered a multiple three-tiered salad bar concept. Signs explaining the virtues of the Radiant product are displayed promoting a fat-free, healthier product.