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FRANCHISING | Staff Reporter, Australia
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Mrs. Fields eyes sweeter franchisee profitability with expanded daypart strategy

The bakery café chain is also working on launching a range of high protein, healthy cookie offers.

2019 will see Mrs. Fields, traditionally known for their range of coffee and sweet offerings, having a new and expanded savoury menu in order to offer meal solutions all day.

"As our business has matured, and competition and rents in shopping centres have increased, we have progressively moved to a full bakery café menu to maintain and maximise profitability for our franchisees and ensure that we have a contemporary food offer to match our coffee and sweet treats business," Mrs. Fields CEO Peter Elligett exclusively told QSR Media.

The bakery café chain's top boss expressed confidence that new and expanded savoury menu would "provide the uplift that [they] are looking for" in their Mrs. Fields stores.

"We are always doing [research and development] on new products that we manufacture and we are working on launching a range of high protein, healthy cookie offers into Mrs. Fields and some innovative milk based products in to the Chinese market," he added.

The closing year saw Mrs. Fields completing the transition of all of their Cookie Man stores to Mrs. Fields Bakery cafes and have now launched Cookie Man as a wholesale offer instead in IGA supermarkets.

"As we are vertically integrated, we are currently looking for additional business for our manufacturing operation and coffee roastery and are also reviewing acquisition opportunities in both the retail and wholesale space," Elligett said.

'Imbalance' in the landlord-tenant relationship
Whilst reviewing potential moves in retail, the Mrs. Fields CEO also shared his criticism of the 'imbalance' of the landlord-tenant relationship.

Elligett states that rents are "increasing substantially" above the consumer price index whilst noting how food retails are impacted by the "constant" expansion of food offerings "into an "already saturated retail space."

"The current Senate inquiry into franchising has focused on franchisee failures. However, when you analyse a vast number of these failures, they relate to shopping centre inspired issues outside the control of the franchisor. Franchising works in a highly regulated environment and yet the landlord-tenant relationship is not held to the same account," he said, adding that he hopes that there will be a similar review by the Senate on retail leasing. 

Photo credit: Mrs. Fields Australia Facebook

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