Franchise lover’s new venture


lovepolloLove Pollo, a chicken franchise headed by the former head of operations of Bakers Delight, Chris Caldwell, plans to open 20 stores over the next four years.

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Caldwell’s rotisserie roasted chicken chain first opened in Melbourne’s Brighton late last year following his departure from Baker’s Delight after six years as GM and head of operations.

The second company-owned Love Pollo store opened earlier this year in Camberwell.

“It was a big, bold step obviously, to walk away from an established brand like Bakers Delight and build a business yourself, but that’s what we have been working on for the last 15 months,” Caldwell told Inside Retail PREMIUM.

Three stores have been earmarked for 2015, most likely to be franchised, with Caldwell naming the south eastern suburbs and inner city Melbourne as key areas of interests for the budding chain.

“My philosophy on store numbers is ‘always one more’. I like to keep it simple. We’ll aim for three in the next year, that’s an achievable target, and over the next four years we will look to open 20 stores.

“We’ll have mix of company-owned and franchised stores, but the way that I set the business up was to enable it to be franchised, that’s always been our desired strategy,” Caldwell said.

Love Pollo stores operate on an ideal footprint of between 120sqm and 130sqm. Caldwell is mainly scouting for strip sites, however, says sites outside shopping centres that front a car park are also attractive for the business model.

“We prefer to grow in Melbourne first to give the brand some geographic presence. If you have two stores in Melbourne, two in Sydney, and one in Brisbane, the brand gets no traction in the market.”

Shopping centre food courts and a kiosk format may also be introduced once the franchise system is established.

“We want to concentrate on the locations where we have a lot more control initially, so we can make sure we can make changes and have a bit more flexibility as the business is new. When it becomes a lot more solid, then food courts and kiosks within food courts is most definitely something that we will explore.”


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