Leading Australian Brands Heading for US Shores
Retail Food Group (RFG) is a global food and beverage company, with a network of more than 2,400 outlets across nine Brand Systems spanning over 80 licensed international territories.
From humble beginnings in 1989 as the owner and manager of around 50 Donut King and bb’s Café stores, RFG is now Australia’s largest multi-brand retail food franchise owner, developer and manager.
RFG has its sights set on expanding its international footprint, with a focus on introducing some of its well-known and much-loved food retail brands – including Donut King, Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, Brumby’s Bakery, Michel’s Patisserie and Pizza Capers – to American shores.
RFG’s presence in America is already represented by its gourmet specialty coffee brands, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, which currently has over 65 coffee houses and It’s A Grind, which has 20-stores in California and two new stores opening over the next two months.
Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a brand success story. After opening its first coffee house in Australia in 1996, the Gloria Jean’s Coffees business model was perfected for international growth and the footprint has grown to approximately 900 coffee houses worldwide, across over 50 licensed territories.
Keeping the brand fresh and relevant to consumers in an ever changing and dynamic retail environment is critical to RFG’s success. RFG has invested considerable resources into researching the ‘Gloria Jean’s of the future’, and in February this year launched a complete brand refresh in Sydney Australia, which is currently being rigorously tested before being rolled-out internationally.
The new brand positioning includes a new logo, store design, coffee blends, menu, uniform and more. “We have completed reviewed all aspects of the value chain to ensure that Gloria Jean’s will remain a forerunner in coffee franchising in the future,” said RFG’s Chief Executive – International, Mike Gilbert.
“We are particularly excited about launching the Gloria Jean’s Coffee rebrand into the USA market, as we believe it has a unique positioning and modern feel from the store design to the menu, that US consumers will love,” said RFG’s USA President, Sam Ferreira.
The Company is also a roaster and supplier of high-quality coffee and affiliated products, operating four coffee roasting facilities, with a fifth under development in the Middle East, that supply Australian and international markets through a suite of wholesale coffee brands.
“Sourcing, blending and roasting our own coffee gives us great control over one of the key success factors to our brands, being of course coffee,” said Mr Ferreira. “We have our own coffee roasting facility here in LA which roasts to order, ensuring that high quality espresso coffee is delivered to our consumers time and time again”.
RFG’s international expansion model is based on recruiting Master Franchise Partners or Area Developers who purchase a license to develop a certain Brand System in a defined territory. This model provides the Company and local partners with the opportunity to forge sustainable partnerships to successfully develop RFG’s Brand Systems internationally.
“RFG considers its international licensees more like business partners. Our international model is collaborative and supportive, and we work with our partners on a broad range of operational matters, including development schedules and growth strategies, as well as marketing and training,” said Mr. Gilbert.
“Our Brand Systems are leaders in the food retail space in Australia, and they’re ripe for international growth,” he added.
“While we’re always looking for exciting, uncharted new territories, we have already identified the US market as a fantastic fit for us,” said Mr Ferreira. “We’re currently brewing plans to expand both our existing Gloria Jean’s Coffees presence here and bring some of our other brands to the US for the first time.”
“While we’re always looking for exciting, uncharted new territories, we have already identified the US market as a fantastic fit for us,” said Mr Ferreira. “We’re currently brewing plans to expand both our existing Gloria Jean’s Coffees and It’s A Grind brand presence here, and bring some of our other brands to the US for the first time.”
Donut King, Brumby’s Bakery and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar are just three core brands that RFG have identified as being ripe for global expansion. All three brands have a strong heritage and are proven franchise models in their home market. “Donut King and Crust have recently been licensed to new partners in the UK market with outlets set to open in 2018,” said Mike Gilbert, adding “We are expecting strong growth of these leading brands across the UK and into Europe and are excited to be offering them to the US market as well.”
RFG’s President, USA, Sam Ferreira, said the impact of RFG’s expertise in terms of retail, franchising and coffee is instrumental to the brand’s strength.
“The backing provided by RFG is world class,” he said. “They have been invaluable in creating a holistic service and support package for new Master and Area Partners joining any one of our nine brand systems, including proven methods in training, marketing, procurement and menu innovation, all of which are centered on supporting Masters in their operations.”