Hog’s dishes up new business models to add value for franchisees

Sarah Stowe

Inside Franchise Business: Hog's Australia launches new outletsCasual dining franchise Hog’s Breath Cafe is embracing new business models as a strategy to grow the brand in a changing food retail landscape.

Hog’s Breath Cafe has been trading for 28 years and has also given itself a facelift with a short and snappy name: Hog’s Australia.

The chain has 83 full service restaurant outlets nationally and will be taking to the road with its Express model (food trucks and kiosks in shopping and service centres) and a drive-through option.

Chief executive Ross Worth said the ‘grab and go’ concept suits our increasingly fast-paced society.

“We have what we call Hogspitality, and we’re taking it to our customers, where they are,” he said.

The express menu is based on quick service style, including curly fries, burgers and a brand new range of Hog Dogs.

Convenience is key for food retailers so Hog’s is also picking up on the other strong trend, the drive-through model.

A former QSR outlet in Maitland will be rebranded and converted into the first Hog’s drive-through. A freestanding site in far-north Queensland with capacity to build will follow as the next drive-through outlet.

As the company develops its three models around the country, it will be Hog’s own franchisees who will get first bite of the business opportunities.

“We have a great franchise network now,  and it’s important we first look after our current franchise partners, helping them develop and evolve their businesses, offering them first choice within their market. We’re privately owned, we have to look after those who have grown with us.”

The options were launched to the more than 160 delegates at the recent franchise conference in Fiji, and interest has already been shown by existing franchisees.

Once interest in expansion from within the network has been exhausted, new outlets will be open to brand new franchise buyers.

While the express model will be volume driven, opportunities for drive-through expansion will be limited to one or two in each marketplace because of land size, capital investment and local demographics.

“Our business is metro and regional,” says Worth. “The brand demographic is casual dining. We’re fairly unique. Our brand doesn’t suit being open on every street corner. We don’t want to cannibalise our outlets.

“The strategy is to offer existing franchisees another model that can grow their own network and wealth.

“We’re not out to break any records, we look to do things correctly from the beginning, get it right and grow over time.”