New name in food from NZ

THE failure of WA-listed retail giant Foodland’s involvement in New Zealand restaurant chain Georgie Pie has not dampened the enthusiasm of two Perth businessmen who have brought the concept to WA.

Partners Scott McMurtrie and Stuart Chalmers bought the Australian rights from Foodland’s New Zealand arm, Progressive Enterprises, with hopes of turning the eatery into a local success.

Georgie Pie operated for about 25 years in New Zealand but was offloaded by Progressive Enterprises in recent years after amassing millions of dollars in losses.

McDonalds bought the Georgie Pie New Zealand business from Progressive Enterprises in 1998, paying up to $25 million for more than 30 stores which were converted into McDonald’s or closed down. The first WA restaurant has recently opened in Westfield Carousel in Cannington and plans are in place to take the concept Australia wide within the next five years.

“The original Georgie Pie Restaurants started in New Zealand more than 20 years ago,” Mr Chalmers said.

“We have improved and expanded that concept, providing new comfortable decor, extra menu choices, computerised support systems and a hi-tech communication system for the drive-through.”

He believes customers demand more from stores than they did 10 years ago and they hoped to match these expectations through greater service and quality.

“Our aim is to expand through franchising and we expect to roll-out between four and six franchise restaurants and other company owned restaurants in WA by March next year,” Mr Chalmers said.

He said Progressive Enterprises probably struggled with the pie chain because it was outside their expertise. The basic concept was still successful and the Georgie Pie name was still popular, particularly among New Zealanders.

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