05/10/2016 - 13:07

American-style pizza makes big statement at Hillarys

05/10/2016 - 13:07
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Perth has taken the biggest slice of global franchise California Pizza Kitchen, with the opening of the group’s Australian flagship restaurant at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

Perth has taken the biggest slice of global franchise California Pizza Kitchen, with the opening of the group’s Australian flagship restaurant at Hillarys Boat Harbour.

See the photos here.

The venture is backed by the business partners behind pizza chain Little C’s, which was launched in 2015 after Little Caesar’s Pizzeria went into receivership in 2014 and was bought by Peard Real Estate founder and chief executive Peter Peard and business partner Russel Hextall.

Mr Peard’s daughter Hannah has joined as the director of California Pizza Kitchen’s first Australian store, with the Peards and Mr Hextall to lead a proposed national expansion of the global franchise in the near future.

American-style pizza is growing in popularity in Perth with the market entry of Alfred’s Pizzeria in the city and Mount Lawley’s Mack Daddy’s New York Slice.

Although California Pizza Kitchen and Little C’s are near neighbours at Hillarys, the global franchise’s chair and chief executive, GJ Hart, said it wouldn’t be competing for the same market space.

“We are much broader than just pizza,” Mr Hart told Business News.

“While pizza is our middle name, due to our heritage of creating barbeque chicken pizza, today it accounts for about 25 per cent of our product mix in what we serve.”

The restaurant offers other mains such as pasta, steak and salads, with up to 30 per cent of the menu customised to local tastes.

While American serving sizes will remain (apart from the salads), a roast chilli rum-dressed pork chop is one of the localised items that will debut on the Perth menu.

Since it opened in Beverley Hills in 1985, California Pizza Kitchen now has almost 300 restaurants in 16 countries, and has agreements to open 70 more stores globally in the next five years.

At 883 square metres, the new 370-seat restaurant at Hillarys is the franchise’s largest worldwide.

“Perth just made sense … the density and growth of population, and culturally what it’s like here,” Mr Hart said.

“Markets will go up and down but this is a strong community; it’s a long-term proposition.”

Hillarys California Pizza director Hannah Peard said Elizabeth Quay and Kings Square were also considered as potential locations in the pursuit to find a relatively high-income area with promising foot traffic.

“We were looking for iconic destination locations – we wanted our first store to be an impressive restaurant to launch the brand,” Ms Peard told Business News.

“Hillarys is an affluent area with surrounding schools and sports clubs, and it’s also a tourist destination of 5 million visitors a year.”

Two additional Perth stores are due to open within the next three years, and Ms Peard said inner-city locations such as Leederville and Victoria Park were appealing, but no final decisions had been made.

“At the moment I think people in Perth are moving away from fine dining and going for more of a relaxed and fun experience,” she said.

California Pizza Kitchen has recently doubled its international footprint and has achieved 60 per cent of its growth in the last 24 months.

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