3 awesome American-style fast-food franchises

By Nick Hall | 18 Oct 2019 View comments

Some would argue the greasy heydays of American-style fast-food franchises have passed, with chains now eager to plug their healthy offerings and low-carb options. But if the success of industry stalwarts Hungry Jack’s and McDonalds has showed anything, it’s that Aussies still have shakes and burgers on the brain.

While healthy eating has certainly taken a bite out of some American-style fast-food franchises, the evolving consumer demand has worked to segment the market.

Customers now have a choice of healthy, greasy or gourmet offerings with a style and flavour to suit all types.

Here we take a look at three American-style fast-food franchises, all with their own take on the iconic flavours.

Nathan’s Famous

Coney Island natives Nathan’s Famous are best known for their hot dogs, but the chain is adept at all aspects of the American-style fast-food franchise palette. It’s something that you would expect from a operator with over 100 years of experience in the sector.

While Nathan’s Famous only started franchising Down Under in 2016, the chain has already built a solid foundation for inspired entrepreneurs, thanks in part to its low-cost mobile model.

The low set-up costs required make the opportunity more accessible for prospective entrepreneurs, with flexible working arrangements to suit every lifestyle.

By removing the need for a physical premise, overheads are greatly reduced, with prospective franchisees not locked in to a lengthy and expensive retail lease.

The resulting benefit is freedom of operation. Franchisees can choose when and where they work, how often and for however long they desire, within their exclusive territory.

With more than 600 million Nathan’s Famous hot dogs sold each year, it’s not hard to see demand for the low-cost, high-quality fare is growing, with Australia, the latest region earmarked for expansion.

Oporto

From hot dogs to burgers, American-style fast-food franchises have a firm focus on the hand-held offering. Iconic chain Oporto took the burger concept and threw in a healthy mix of Portuguese flavour and Aussie hospitality.

For over 30 years, the chain has provided quality flame grilled fare across Australia, focusing on a traditional passion and commitment to family traditions. However, in recent times Oporto has put the emphasis on experience.

Michelle Draper, Oporto customer experience manager revealed that the franchise had invested heavily in retraining staff, making them more approachable and providing an inviting customer experience.

“Consumers want personality; they don’t want to be served by a robot,” Draper told Inside Franchise Business.

“So, we’ve thrown out the rule book and we’re empowering team members to think for themselves, be hospitable and treat customers as if they were friends or family in their own homes.”

Draper said the premium burger offering was key to Oporto’s sustained success, and by leveraging chicken as the core protein, the chain can cater to burger lovers and health nuts simultaneously.

Huxtaburger

One chain that focuses on ‘good not guilty’ is Melbourne-born franchise Huxtaburger. The innovative Aussie brand leverages a unique approach to marketing, targeting millennial consumers with bespoke burger offerings.

With a full-service bar, sit-down eating and wealth of food-coma inducing fare, Huxtaburger has deliberately established itself as an immersive dining experience that caters to the Gen Y market.

The burger franchise has now asserted itself in Western Australia and NSW with its sights set on steady national growth whilst feeling out opportunities abroad.

Speaking at the time, Huxtaburger consultant and DC Strategy chairman, Rod Young said a growing market for American-style fast-food franchises was the primary motivator behind Huxtaburger’s expansion.

“The premium burger segment of the global foodservice environment is growing rapidly but it takes outstanding brands, people and operations to be in the top quartile of this highly competitive market,” Young said.

“Huxtaburger has now arrived at that tipping point and is attracting not only more customers and more revenue but a better quality of business oriented entrepreneurs who can see the differentiation and innovation that is launching the Huxtaburger brand to greater heights.”

American-style fast-food franchises

Growing health-consciousness is one thing that all American-style fast-food franchises will have to face head on, but the signs look promising.

While larger chains with refined structures are better placed to traverse the evolving sector, the key to success for American-style fast-food franchises is in differentiation. Look for a brand with a clear message and customer base that you align with.