“Cult-like following” to see Lord of the Fries launch 40 new stores

By Nick Hall | 27 Aug 2019 View comments

Vegan fast-food chain Lord of the Fries has unveiled expansion plans that will more than double its franchise network over the next five years.

Speaking exclusively to Inside Franchise Business, co-founder and CEO Mark Koronczyk revealed that 40 new Lord of the Fries outlets are expected to open across Australia and New Zealand, adding to its current portfolio of 27.

“We’re looking at rolling out around 40 new restaurants over the next four to five years. That’s the plan that we’ve got, and we think that is pretty achievable,” Koronczyk said.

The latest announcement follows a string of successful openings in its home state of Victoria, with Koronczyk revealing further interstate growth is expected before years’ end.

“We have quite a few stores that will open this year, one that opened last week in South Yarra, another in Werribee next week and we’re very excited to announce our first store in Brisbane,” he said.

Lord of the Fries Brisbane

It’s first time the vegan chain has made its way to the Queensland capital, despite having a small presence on the Gold Coast.

“It’s actually been our most requested location, if you look at Twitter and Instagram, so Brisbane has been high on the agenda for a long time. We’ve got a cult-like following to be honest,” Koronczyk said.

The CEO revealed that while interest in the region had been high, it was only recently that the brand found the right franchisee to partner with.

“We don’t like to rush things, we’re pretty thorough when it comes to choosing franchisees, Koronczyk said.

“We’ve found a really good franchisee; she’s young, she gets the brand and she has been in the industry for a long time. It’s also a really great spot; we couldn’t be happier with it.”

Lord of the Fries’ inaugural Brisbane location will launch in the city’s iconic late-night district of Fortitude Valley before end of year, just in time for the opening of the region’s slated multi-million-dollar entertainment precinct.

It isn’t just Brisbane that is set to see new outlets, however. Koronczyk confirmed that expansion will be nationwide, with a strong focus on the under-represented metropolitan regions.

National growth

Where previously, Lord of the Fries has focused on organic growth, the brand has recently ramped up recruitment efforts. Working alongside territory planning and site selection consultant Spectrum Analysis, the vegan chain has identified a number of growth opportunities outside of the concentrated Melbourne region.

“What we’ve ended up with is 12 locations in Melbourne, with less presence interstate, because that’s where the brand is recognisable,” Koronczyk said.

“We’ve got three in Sydney and one in Parramatta, so we really believe there is a lot of opportunity in Sydney. We’ve definitely our sights set on Fremantle as well. We got close there in the past with a site and unfortunately it didn’t work out, but there’s a lot of Australia still to go.”

Growing demand

It’s been a categoric rise for Lord of the Fries over the past few years. A high-profile partnership with vegan mega-supplier Beyond Meat brought the chain national recognition, which it looks certain to eclipse in the coming months.

Koronczyk confirmed that in addition to the massive expansion announcement, Lord of the Fires had also signed a partnership with the Jay-Z backed burger business, Impossible Foods, set to kick off soon.

The CEO believes that the growing demand for vegan products both here and abroad is big boost to the whole food franchise market.

“We’re really starting to see every brand cash in, it means veganism is becoming more mainstream; people aren’t as put off by it and are more willing to try vegan products,” he said.

While the latest expansion announcement cements Lord of the Fries as the largest vegan chain in the southern hemisphere, Koronczyk admitted he was more focused than ever on getting the systems right.

“We’re always looking at what is happening overseas, on what food trends we can be a part of and how we can bring it here,” he said.

“We’re not afraid to take our time and really get the systems down; it’s better to get things right than open and close quickly. We’re really excited about our next phase of growth.”