QSR Media got in touch with Mark Koronczyk, Lord of the Fries CEO, to talk about their brand's ethical philosophy and its challenges and successes as a vegetarian and vegan brand.
Lord of the Fries offers Vegetarian, Kosher, Halal items on its menu, which includes Veggie Burgers, Onion Rings, Vegetarian Nuggets and Vegetarian Hot Dogs in addition to its french fries. The brand also offers Vegan and Gluten Free options.
QSR Media: What's new at Lord of the Fries?
Mark Koronczyk: Lots! We’ve just opened our 15th store in Adelaide, which ran straight off the back of two international store launches for our friends across the ditch (NZ)! Our Adelaide store is our first 100% vegan store, which is a really exciting movement and something that our customers were really pushing for. With a few more new stores slated for 2017, we’ll be reigning fries across the country (and internationally!).
We’ve also recently shaken up our menu and added faux fish into the mix, after our limited edition Phish Burger was such a huge success. A couple of ingredient changes to some burgers and our new kiwi sauce were all a result of customer research and feedback.
QSR Media: What can you say about the current trend in the industry promoting ethical practices in the preparation of their food?
Mark Koronczyk: The ethical fast food trend is growing every day! Customers are becoming more conscious of their food choices, where their meal has come from and how it has got to the table. And food outlets need to respond to this! Our thinking is the more we can expand and the more we can get people eating our food, collectively we can reduce the negative repercussions on the animals and environment caused by traditional fast food chains.
QSR Media: Can you tell us more about your ethical philosophy and initiatives?
Mark Koronczyk: Being a team of vegetarians and vegans, we wanted to offer our customers an alternative that aligned with our values. Our philosophy is to serve food that’s good for the people, the planet and the animals. By providing a 100% vegetarian menu that’s interesting and tasty, we’re attracting vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, helping us do our bit to reduce the carbon footprint on the world.
One of the initiatives we have implemented in all stores is that we repurpose the oil used to cook our golden delicious fries to later refuel the oil delivery trucks. We also source locally where possible and steer clear from any nasty chemicals or preservatives.
QSR Media: What can you say about sustainability in the industry right now? What can the industry do to make it better?
Mark Koronczyk: At the moment, there’s not very many other fast food outlets that prioritise sustainability. We’d love to see more restaurants implement ethical and sustainable practices into the business. The more the merrier for the people, the planet and the animals! We’re proof that it’s something that customers are asking for and looking for when choosing where they dine.
QSR Media: What can you say are the challenges you are currently facing in the industry? Opportunities?
Mark Koronczyk: One of our challenges can be finding suppliers that align with our brand values of being ethical and sustainable. With our ever-expanding menu, it can be a process that takes time and something we regularly review to ensure we always source the best quality ingredients and products with as little impact on the environment.
QSR Media: Any big plans you have for the year?
Mark Koronczyk: World domination! Only joking… Expect to see a couple more LOTF stores to pop up around the country. We’re also going to have some crazy new menu innovations hitting stores as our ‘limited edition burger’ and ‘sauce of the season’. Plus, maybe a couple of old favourites will make their way back on the menu…. Watch this space!
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