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Pie Face Aiming For Slice of Nz Market

Pie Face Aiming For Slice of Nz Market

Aiming for a slice of the New Zealand market, global bakery and café chain Pie Face has opened the doors to its first outlet in Auckland’s CBD.

One hundred percent New Zealand owned, the local arm of the franchise plans to open 10 stores across the North and South Islands over the next 18 months and 60 within the next 10 years.

South Island based business owners Julian Field and Jared Palmer have secured an exclusive license to operate Pie Face in New Zealand. Together the duo has 17 years industry experience between them, with Field also a Subway franchisee currently with eight outlets across Otago and Southland.

With the first Pie Face opening at 18 Shortland St over the weekend, the inner city outlet caters for both dine-in and take-out. Busy from the “get go”, Field expects the store’s 24-hour license will make it a popular option with the late night crowd.

A Quay St outlet is scheduled to open in November, with New Lynn and Christchurch expected to open by mid-next year.

This marks the first master license arrangement for Pie Face. Founded in Sydney in 2003, Pie Face now operates close to 80 stores across Australia, five in New York and is expanding into the United Arab Emirates and India.

The brand’s signature pies - which feature funny little faces on top and have a higher meat content - are expected to account for around 45 percent of sales, says Field.

“Our pies have a higher ratio of meat than others on the market. Our mince pies for example are 70 percent New Zealand beef, compared to others on the market that average around 25 to 30 percent.”

Several flavours have been developed here especially for the New Zealand market says Field, including butter chicken and mince and cheese. Other top sellers he expects will go well here include Thai chicken curry, chunky steak, tandoori vegetable, bacon and egg, and mini lemon and cherry pies.

Not just about pies, other Pie Face specialties include mini pizzas or ‘piezas’, sausage rolls, filled wraps and bagels, lamingtons, muffins, cakes and pastries, with breakfast, gluten free and vegetarian options all available.

“Everything is made here in our central kitchen facility in Auckland using quality, local ingredients and premium cuts of meat including prime lean New Zealand steak and mince,” says Field.

He says Pie Face’s Auckland kitchen facility is capable of producing 1,000 pies an hour. Pies and pizzas will be baked fresh in store each day however - a key difference to the pre-baked pies available at other outlets and one that results in a “fresher, tastier pie”.

Pie Face also does espresso coffee with customers being able to choose from four strengths ranging from the softer blend Still Asleep to the super strong Kick My Arse.

Australian-based French pastry chef Francois Galand, who has been with the company since 2007, has played an active roll in product development here in New Zealand, says Field. Former Production Manager at Goodman Fielder Kevin Davis has also been brought in to manage production.

With both Field and Palmer based in the South Island, Field says the duo plan to retain around 15 stores in key centres such as the Auckland and Wellington CBDs and the lower South Island. The rest will be franchised including those on the cards in New Lynn and Christchurch.

In commenting on the partnership, Wayne Homschek, co-founder and CEO of Pie Face said he sees a bright future for the brand in the New Zealand market: "We are excited to be in business with Julian and Jared in New Zealand, given their depth of experience in building, operating and franchising QSR stores in New Zealand. We are like minded in our hands on approach to operations." 

Successful American hospitality entrepreneur Steve Wynn recently made a corner stone A$15M investment in the U.S. business.

Prices start at $4.90 for a gourmet pie and $2.50 for a mini savoury or sweet pie.


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