In Focus
FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Australia
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See how Funky Mexican Cantina delivers to the increasing demand for functionality, convenience

QSR Media has reached out to the CEO of Funky Mexican Cantina, Ross Worth, to discuss its Western Australia push, and how it envisions to be a brand with the best locations and franchisees.

With a second WA franchise to open at Secret Harbor, the brand is set to bring an authentic Mexican menu which offers a mix of traditional Mexican recipes along with dishes that have been adapted to suit the Aussie palate. 

QSR Media: Can you tell us more about the Western Australia push?

Two of our seasoned Hog’s Australia’s Steakhouse franchisees, Manish Gupta and Glenn Sell, have bought their expertise to the Funky Mexican Cantina franchises in Western Australia. We wanted the very best owners to take the next step for our brand, and the restaurants in Dolphin Quay and Secret Harbour will set the benchmark for potential franchisees all over the country.

With the experienced owners we have in WA, who also did their own research and saw an appetite for a Mexican offering, it made sense to launch in WA, but we expect our national presence will continue to grow now that we’re ready to take it to market. After years of quietly perfecting the brand at our Queensland location we’ve developed a world-class restaurant and demand is expected to be strong.

QSR Media: What opportunities does the brand see in the area (WA)?

Demand for quality, authentic Mexican food is showing no sign of slowing down around the country, and our research showed that Western Australia is no exception. 

We have a unique concept with a modern and vibrant twist and WA provides a great launching pad for the franchisees to come. These new restaurants represent how Funky’s will be presented to potential owners all over the country when we attend upcoming Franchise Expo’s. With our flexible business model we could take Funky’s anywhere, but our strategy for the future is not to be the biggest, but to have the best locations and franchisees.

QSR Media: What do you observe with the demands of consumers today?

Quite simply, customers want excellent service and great food in a unique atmosphere, which we deliver at Funky’s. We’ve introduced a number of technological initiatives to accommodate increasing consumer demand for functionality, accessibility and convenience, including the ability to self-order from the table via iPad. 

We also bring a truly authentic menu, created by Mexican-born Corporate Chef, Ariel Fortanell, which offers a mix of traditional Mexican recipes along with dishes that have been adapted to suit the Aussie palate. It’s also important to cater to a variety of dietary needs, and to that end, our menu has options for those that are gluten free, lactose free, vegetarian, vegan or just plain health conscious.

QSR Media: What is your strategy to establish brand awareness and loyalty from customers?

We’ve created a world-class brand, which comes after extensive research and years of quietly perfecting the concept in Cleveland. From the menu, to the design and atmosphere, it’s completely unique and we know from our Cleveland clientele that customers will come time and again to experience it.

Feedback is extremely important to us so we’re in constant contact with franchisees to monitor this and determine if changes or updates are necessary to maintain and strengthen customer loyalty. And of course we’ll bring the same spirit, passion, and fun that we’ve brought to the Hog’s brand that’s kept our customers coming back for nearly 30 years.

QSR Media: Any other big plans for the year?

Many! Along with the recently opened Funky’s at Mandurah’s Dolphin Quay, the launch of our second WA franchise at Secret Harbour in Perth will quickly follow in November. Down the track, we anticipate many opportunities for a Funky’s Express model, a smaller static offering that’s ideal for shopping centres, airports, and service stations.

We have a full home delivery proposition at Funky’s Cleveland, and we will naturally roll that out across new franchises according to demand, and we’ll also introduce an online booking service to improve accessibility for consumers and make ordering with us even more convenient.

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