Low-cost Lord of the Fries food truck returns

By Nick Hall | 19 Dec 2019 View comments

After 15 years on the Aussie fast-food scene, booming vegan chain Lord of the Fries is going back to its roots. The iconic restaurant business has announced the original Lord of the Fries food truck is set to make a return, and this time, franchisees can get in on the action.

Fans of the brand will remember the chain’s humble beginnings, starting off as a three-person mobile operation, before launching an initial bricks and mortar restaurant in Melbourne. And while Lord of the Fries has gone from strength to strength, launching 28 outlets across Australia and New Zealand, a growing demand has sparked a return to the mobile format.

“It’s back to future really,” co-founder and CEO, Mark Koronczyk said. “We thought it was a good time to bring the model back because nowadays there’s just so many opportunities for vans and food trucks. It’s a great way for someone who wants to own a Lord of the Fries to get in a very-low cost rate.”

According to Koronczyk, the new Lord of the Fries food truck is around half the cost of that of a shopfront restaurant, sitting at around $200,000. However, unlike the early incarnation, the new van is significantly more decked out.

“It will be under $200,000 and that presents a full turn-key operation,” he said. “It also includes all stock on-hand and also the money you need for the first few festivals. There’s are still working numbers, but that’s what we’ve landed on.”

Lord of the Fries focus

The announcement of the Lord of the Fries food truck follows significant growth in the mobile restaurant movement. Over the last five years, an increase in food vans has developed mobile dining communities, as opposed to merely catering to convenience culture.

“It’s been a huge change,” Koronczyk said. “When we had the van, it was pretty much just us and few all-purpose vans that sold Chiko rolls and dim sims.”

“We were able to position ourselves as something different, through our specialised offering of fries and boutique sauces. We really did stand out, there was huge queues, but the van industry has changed dramatically and become far more hip, more gourmet. You can get any type of cuisine now.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to take up the new Lord of the Fries food truck format, the options are seemingly limitless. Koronczyk revealed the chain has been turning down offers from big name festivals for years, but with the right mix of aptitude and hard work, the opportunity was ripe for the picking.

“We’re always approached to exhibit at these kinds of festivals and we’re always politely declining. We just thought it was a great opportunity for an aspiring franchisee that doesn’t have the funds needed for a full fit-out shop, which could be as much as double the price of the van,” he said.

It’s a pain Koronczyk knows all too well.

Original Lord of the Fries food truck

The co-founder and CEO revealed that just like a number of aspiring millennial entrepreneurs today, he had little experience and financial capacity prior to launching the original Lord of the Fries food truck.

“We know how hard it is. When we started, we didn’t have the cash for a shop, that’s why we went down the van route,” he said.

“For us, there was a big learning curve, we had never worked in a van or operated a fryer prior to starting, but it proves that even with no experience or guidance, you can easily be trained.”

But make no mistake, the new venture is anything but a passive income.

“It’s a simple gig in terms of learning, but once you learn, it’s tough work. I don’t want people to be under any illusions that they can waltz in and it just happens,” he said.

“It’s definitely hard work, but very rewarding, from a business perspective and just from an enjoyment aspect. We saw some amazing acts in our time on the road. We did Meredith (festival) for a few years, the Big Day Out, we saw the Beastie Boys, it’s a really cool way to see the world.”

Lord of the Fries new ventures

The new Lord of the Fries food truck announcement follows a series of booming new ventures for the Aussie success story. On Tuesday, the chain unveiled its inaugural Brisbane location in bustling Fortitude Valley, a launch that saw queues sprawling out the door.

Koronczyk said he was thrilled with the turn-out and couldn’t wait to launch the next stage of Lord of the Fries’ growth, which is currently being headlined by some high-profile partnerships.

In April, the business is set to unveil a new deal with Beyond Meat to introduce Beyond Tacos, an Australian-first for the alternative meat business.

“It’s super exciting for us, because they hardly work with anyone and that comes off the back of our previous work, which was really successful,” Koronczyk said.

Similarly, Lord of the Fries will bring the Serena Williams, Jay-Z and Katy Perry backed Impossible Burger to Australia for the first time in mid 2020. The chain is expecting a bumper year in 2020, and with new partnerships and the return of the Lord of the Fries food truck now confirmed, all eyes are on the vegan icon.