Bondi butcher cashes in after becoming Covid-19 hotspot


The butcher shop where ‘BBQ Man’ picked up peri-peri chicken while infected with coronavirus has spun the unfortunate attention into marketing gold.

PJ Ilic, owner of The Meat Store at Bondi Junction, in Sydney’s east, told Daily Mail the exposure alert by NSW Health just shows how good his grass-fed, free-range products are.

Tom Pizzey, 50, was dubbed ‘BBQ Man’ after he visited four BBQ stores on the hunt for the perfect grill while infected on May 1.

But the unwitting Covid patient only stopped off at one place to buy meat. 

A Sydney butcher (pictured, The Meat Store) that was declared a Covid hotspot after an infected man dropped by to pick up some prime cuts, is making the most of the whirlwind of media attention

A Sydney butcher (pictured, The Meat Store) that was declared a Covid hotspot after an infected man dropped by to pick up some prime cuts, is making the most of the whirlwind of media attention

For most businesses, being put on high alert by NSW Health could spell disaster, but for The Meat Store in Bondi they say it just shows how good their product is. Pictured: The Meat Store's Facebook posted

For most businesses, being put on high alert by NSW Health could spell disaster, but for The Meat Store in Bondi they say it just shows how good their product is. Pictured: The Meat Store’s Facebook posted

‘When it takes four shops to find the right BBQ but only one for the perfect piece of meat for it,’ the Meat Store posted on its Facebook page along with a list of the venues he had been to.

Mr Ilic said the tongue-in-cheek ad was about getting ‘on the front foot’ after the initial ‘shock and stress’. 

‘Some businesses try to play the victim, but we wanted to get on top of it,’ he said.

Although being hit with a dreaded Covid hotspot tag could have be enough to tarnish a business, in this case Mr Ilic’s customers rallied behind The Meat Shore which has been up and running for more than a decade. 

‘People understand that in a pandemic it can happen to anyone so our customers have been really supportive,’ he said.

‘We are very grateful for the support of the community, it really means a lot to us.’

After shutting the business for a couple of days and undergoing a massive deep clean they were given the all-clear from health authorities, and The Meat Store reopened.

For meat lovers who don’t live near the stores at Bondi Junction or Caringbah in Sydney’s Shire, its products can also be bought online through the website. 

'BBQ man' visited four BBQ stores on the hunt for the perfect grill while infected on May 1. But the unwitting Covid patient only stopped off at one place to buy meat. Pictured: The Meat Store

‘BBQ man’ visited four BBQ stores on the hunt for the perfect grill while infected on May 1. But the unwitting Covid patient only stopped off at one place to buy meat. Pictured: The Meat Store

Pictured: The display counter at The Meat Store in Sydney's Bondi Junction

Pictured: The display counter at The Meat Store in Sydney’s Bondi Junction

Social media users called the marketing strategy ‘genius’ and praised the business for keeping its a larrikin sense of humour during such a difficult time.

‘They saw the perfect opportunity and they took it,’ one commenter wrote.

Another wrote: ‘Genius! You turn this around successfully and great marketing!’

Although NSW has not recorded another case of community transmission for almost a week, contract tracers are still scrambling to find a missing link in the infection chain.

BBQ Man, who has been identified as high-flying businessman Mr Pizzey, tested positive for the virus on May 5 and his wife was confirmed to have been infected the following day. 

While BBQ man was in the market for a new BBQ, he was also there on behalf of his private equity firm mulling over whether to purchase the Barbeques Galore chain

While BBQ man was in the market for a new BBQ, he was also there on behalf of his private equity firm mulling over whether to purchase the Barbeques Galore chain

NSW Health have determined through genomic testing the Apollo Global Management managing director contracted the virus from a returned traveller who came from the US and was infected with an Indian variant.

About a month ago the traveler was taken from hotel quarantine to special health accommodation, but it remains a mystery how he came into contact with Mr Pizzey.

As a result, Covid restrictions were re-introduced across Sydney, Illawarra, and the Blue Mountains, with the return of compulsory masks on public transport and cinemas, and visitors in homes limited to 20 people.

Drinkers in bars must also be seated and just two visitors will be allowed for residents in aged care homes.

The restrictions will remain in place until at least May 17. 

The reason the private equity boss was visiting so many BBQ stores was a combination of business and pleasure, the Australian Financial Review reported.

While he was in the market for a new BBQ, Mr Pizzey was also there on behalf of Apollo mulling over whether to buy the Barbeques Galore chain.



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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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