THE Retail Food Group, which owns, among others, the Donut King, Michelle's Patisserie and Brumby's Bakery franchises, made a decision about 12 months ago to reposition itself with brands that operate outside of shopping centres as a way of diversifying risk and expanding.
This is why the company bought out the high-performing Brisbane-based franchise Pizza Capers about nine months ago, said the company's Quick Service Restaurants divisional director Michael Logos.
Since then Mr Logos has overseen the continual expansion of not only Pizza Capers but Crust Gourmet Pizzas, which RFG acquired two months ago.
Mr Logos, who is based in Melbourne, has not yet seen the Grafton site RFG has leased for a Pizza Capers outlet, but he said the semi-outdoor setting suited Pizza Capers' more "main street" style of outlet.
The expansion into regional areas, such as Orange and Port Macquarie, had been highly successful, he said, both outlets exceeding expectations for customer numbers and average weekly sales.
Mr Logos said advertising for suitable franchise operators had generated a "fantastic response", the search in Grafton already attracting six applicants.
He said it was an encouraging sign considering the campaign's early days.
With outlets selling for between $350,000 and $450,000, it is no casual investment, but Mr Logos said the company would offer the right candidate lucrative financial incentives and low to zero interest loans to get them in place.
The right franchisee was all-important, he said, and candidates would go though an intensive training and assessment program.
As to the Pizza Capers product itself, which began as a single outlet in Brisbane in 1996 and now has more than 120 outlets throughout Australia and Singapore, Mr Logos said the concept was to overcome recent perceptions of pizzas as "junk food".
"Pizza Capers is trying to redirect perception to make pizza more acceptable," he said. "With the range on offer, customers can see that pizzas can be healthy, light and good for you."
Mr Logos said he was hoping the Grafton outlet would be open within three months.
Asked about strong local competitors, including Big River Pizzas, Dominos and Eagle Boys, Mr Logos said the competition was beyond the control of the company.
"At the end of the day, the product will speak for itself," he said.