Canadian franchise exits Australia

 

unnamed-9Canadian health food chain that aimed for 100 stores over the next five years in Australia has withdrawn from its master franchise agreement.

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Operated by one of Canada’s largest food quick service restaurant group in Canada, MTY Food Group, Extreme Pita, opened its first kiosk along Sydney’s King Cross in November 2013.

A second outlet opened earlier this year at Macquarie Centre in North Ryde.

A third store in Melbourne’s Spencer St Station was due to open at the end of 2014, however, all stores have since been closed. 

Gary Blyton, the former head of Extreme Pita’s Australian operations, declined to comment to Inside Retail PREMIUM, but did confirm all stores had closed.

In January, Extreme Pita Australia was preparing to launch its franchising recruitment campaign for NSW, Queensland, and Victoria.

At the time Blyton told Inside Retail PREMIUM of the ambitious expansion strategy. 

Blyton said the franchise was aiming to set up around 15 franchised stores by the end of the year, with a total target of 100 stores over the next five years. 

“We obviously have a bit to go, but overall we’d love to get to 100 stores over the next four or five years,” Blyton said.

“We’re obviously started with Sydney because it’s our backyard but now we’ve got these first two stores opened we’re ready to talk to franchises all over Australia.”

Blyton said the brand’s Australian division would like to maintain around a 10 to 15 per cent company owned structure.

Overseas, Extreme Pita has several store formats including standalone stores, kiosks, and food court outlets. The chain is said to be around 90 per cent the same as the company’s original model in North America, where it has 350 stores, however, the concept of a ‘pita’ has struggled to translate abroad. 

“One thing key thing that we have learnt is that Australians don’t really know what a pita is. So, when you have a sign up that says ‘Extreme Pita’ it’s not enough. We have to be a lot more descriptive, so we have begun adding some more taglines and signage so people understand what we’re all about,” Blyton said in January. 

The chain’s arrival to the Australian market in 2013 followed a string of Canadian health food chains including Pita Pit and Presse Cafe. Pita Pit opened its first Australian outlet in Brisbane in 2012, while sandwich chain, Presse Cafe, signed its first Australian franchisee in June 2013.

Extreme Pita Australia was said to be around 90 per cent the same as the company’s original model in North America, where it has 350 stores. 

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