Big appetite for Georgie Pie one year on
22 July 2014
Big appetite for Georgie Pie one year on
Kiwis love their pies, and Georgie Pie fans have voted with their mouths, consuming over 3 million Georgie Pies in the 12 months since the re-launch in June last year.
McDonald’s says the timing was right to bring Georgie Pie back after a 15 year break, and the measured approach to re-introducing the brand has proved to be the right decision for customers.
McDonald’s New Zealand managing director, Patrick Wilson, is confident in Georgie Pie’s long-term future, with the company launching more original flavours, investing in new developments and kicking off a new marketing campaign this month.
“We took a prudent approach in bringing Georgie Pie back, both in terms of research and development, and talking with New Zealanders. The brand evokes high emotions and it was important to go about things in the right way. It was a calculated risk, but one which we planned very carefully, and I’m pleased New Zealanders are enjoying the return of the iconic brand,” says Mr Wilson.
“While Georgie Pie provides additional choice for our existing customers, being available at McDonald’s also brings something new to the pie category. Customers are able to purchase Georgie Pie within the wider McDonald’s offering, which can include Drive-Thru, extended hours, McCafe, play lands and the full restaurant menu. The pies are also baked fresh on site and held for no more than two hours. Combined with the quality of the product itself, this provides a point of difference with other pie brands.”
Following a year with limited, regionally-focussed marketing support, Georgie Pie has received a fresh new above the line marketing campaign, with pie charts at the heart of the creative. It is also the sponsor of the popular TV3 show 7 Days.
“We have developed our new advertising to appeal to nostalgic fans as well as building relevance with younger generations, who may not have grown up with Georgie Pie,” Wilson says. “While Georgie Pie will continue to be a part of McDonald’s offering in New Zealand, we know the brand has its own personality and you will see that coming through in our marketing.”
McDonald’s is about to trial one of the original sweet pies, the ‘Apple ‘N’ Blackberry’. Georgie Pie’s 30,000 Facebook fans were able to vote for their local McDonald’s restaurant to be part of the trial, and restaurants in South Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Christchurch will participate.
“Apple ‘N’ Blackberry was a popular Georgie Pie, and one fans have asked for since we re-launched,” explains Mr Wilson. “However, it was only available in a smaller, round size, so we’re asking customers to tell us if they like the pie in the same square shape as the Steak Mince ‘N’ Cheese and Chicken ‘N’ Vegetable. We’ve also been asking pie aficionados what other new types of pies they might like to see from Georgie Pie, and will look to launch some products in the next 12 months.”
Local businesses and industries are also benefiting from Georgie Pie’s return including Christchurch company Moffat, which manufactured the 250 ovens and 200 hot holding cabinets required for baking the pies fresh in restaurant. The New Zealand beef industry has also benefited from the increased demand for quality local beef.
McDonald’s was committed to staying true to the original brand and recipe. The company worked with ex-Georgie Pie general manager, Brian Popham, who consulted on the project. McDonald’s has partnered with Goodman Fielder, which manufactures the pies at the original Georgie Pie factory in the South Auckland.
Initial trials of Georgie Pie began in June 2013 with a full national roll-out completed by March 2014. Two original flavours are now permanent menu items, Steak Mince ‘N’ Cheese and Chicken ‘N’ Vegetable, and the company is planning on launching more variations in the future.
Note to Editor:
Progressive Enterprises sold parts of the Georgie Pie business, the brainchild of Tom Ah Chee, to McDonald’s in 1996, including 17 restaurant sites, trademarks and intellectual property. McDonald’s converted a number of Georgie Pie sites to McDonald’s restaurants, including the flagship Greenlane site. Georgie Pie employees in affected restaurants were offered jobs with McDonald’s, and several franchisees became, and still, own and operate McDonald’s restaurants. Progressive Enterprises continued to operate other Georgie Pie restaurants until the final restaurant on Kepa Road in Auckland closed.