Brand new food franchise The Famished Wolf launches

By Sarah Stowe | 14 Sep 2020 View comments

When hospitality professional Simon McNeilly opened the doors to his very own lunch bar, he had no idea where it would lead.

Simon spent time working in the Pilbara to raise funds to achieve his dream.

Four years on and the cafe Simon and his wife opened in an industrial area of Melbourne has turned into The Famished Wolf, a full-on burger brand with two outlets and a franchise model ready to grow.

“It just grew and grew. We started to open at night doing delivery through Menulog, had no lights or seats out the front. But people were sitting in the dark outside eating the burgers.”

Simon switched his attention to catering for these avid burger fans. He built an outdoor area, added some greenery, astro turf, lighting and got a liquor licence, and the customer base now includes everyone from young families to craft beer aficionados. 

“Our point of difference as a burger shop is I’m really focusing on wholesome family approach, providing good value for money.”

Simon is in no doubt that it’s the consistent quality of the food that brings back the customers.

“The first shop really taught me that no matter how good the fit-out and service are, it’s all about the food.”

The mission at the burger business is that you will “Never leave famished from the famished wolf” says Simon.

A standard Wolf burger with bacon, egg, caramelised onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato and Wolf sauce costs $13. Packing a meaty punch, the Dirty Double is $16.

Burgers are freshly pressed in store and all dishes freshly prepared.

“It’s great for teenagers, for grandparents. It’s a bright store where you can have a beer or a quick snack. We’re not trying to be a hipster store but make it a cool environment for everyone. ”

The Famished Wolf | Inside Franchise Business

The Famished Wolf interior design | Inside Franchise Business

The original converted lunch bar in Braeside, south east Melbourne, is full of character; the second store that opened two years ago in Patterson Lakes has a different vibe.

The 80sqm store caters for locals. It’s located in a small strip shopping area, 50m from Woolworths’ entrance and car park, but just metres from a 100km per hour road. This means it’s easy to extend the delivery footprint beyond the immediate neighbourhood. 

The Patterson Lakes outlet exceeded the first store’s sales very quickly, and Simon admits the lockdown has been very good for business for both stores.

“Everyone has been looking for takeaway. We’ve had week on week growth on delivery, high repeat customers.  I believe those repeat customers will turn into dine-in customers and remain loyal. It’s been an opportunity to showcase [the brand] to so many new people.”

He has purposefully structured the business to be profitable around the costs of third party delivery. “That’s where the future is, you need to make your business work around it, you have to be the best at it,” he says.

A strip mall location, free of shopping centre restrictions, and providing easy access for the ever-growing third party delivery firms, is an ideal site.

An ideal franchisee will have management or cooking experience. Being part of an established, two-income family will also help, Simon suggests.

Franchisees will be owner-operators, setting up shop in their own neighbourhood and engaging with local community.

“I want people to make lots of money for themselves, being their own boss, making their own decisions, excited to go to work.”

The Famished Wolf franchise model has design plans for stores of  60, 90 and 120sqm but can cater for footprints as small as 45sqm and as large as 150 sqm.

By the end of 2021 the goal is to have at least two to three more outlets across Melbourne.

This copy has been updated to correct factual errors.