Pie Face's Wayne Homschek on their 15 million US dollar deal and global expansion
Fresh from minting a $15million USD deal with US investor Steve Wynn, Pie Face CEO and founder Wayne Homschek talks to QSR Media.
QSR Media: What has been happening at Pie face?
Wayne: The US is now up an running. We opened the first store in January. We've had a really good reaction. The US store has received over 80 pieces of media in the US, sales are strong and the margins are amazing. The Letterman endorsement we received (link to the video) has turned Pie Face into a national brand over there.
We have just announced a deal with Steve Winn, in exchange for 15 million USD he has 43% of the company. We still retain 57%. In the US we will be rolling out 3 more stores all in Manhattan. We have set up a production facility that is capable of supporting 30 stores.
Then next year 1 new store per month is the plan.
We are also looking at other markets, UK, Japan, Indonesia and NZ. How we go into each of these markets will be different the UK for example will be similar to the US where we will have a major investor on board but still retain control. In NZ it is likely to be a licensing deal and in Indonesia a JV partner.
QSR Media: Pie Face's Australian operations, what's happening here?
Wayne: The Australian network stands at 75 at the moment, so we are still very committed to growing here. We are looking at opening in Perth in the next couple of months and new stores in all the states. The group continues to grow at a reasonable place. Generally Australia is a challenging trading environment but our brand is better than most.
QSR Media: Pie Face's ASX listing is this still the plan?
Wayne: If we float it will be late 2013 earliest. No firm decisions yet. The plan is to grow the network to a size that is sensible then float it but it will depend on market conditions.
QSR Media: How do you split your time between the US and Australia?
Wayne: To get the business in the US up and running I have had to spend a lot of time over there, last year I spent 2/3 of my time in the US. We now have a self-sufficient team up and running.
QSR Media: The US stores, what changes have you had to make to your pies for the local palette?
Wayne: Not much change. We've added some sweet pies but the menu is pretty much the same. Meat pies sales are very popular and account for about 45% of sales which is similar to Australia but the sweet pies are a lot more popular and account for 23% of sales where in Australia it is about 3%. When Americans think of pies they think of "sweet pies". The coffee is a big part of our offer over there and this has been getting great feedback.