Eagle Boys founder Tom Potter.
Eagle Boys founder Tom Potter.

Eagle Boys founder returns to pizza game

SLICE OF THE ACTION

Tom Potter is back in the pizza game.

Thirteen years after offloading his now-defunct Eagle Boys chain to private equity players, he just opened the first Pizza Guardians outlet in Toowoomba last week.

Potter has teamed up with former Eagle Boys franchisee Nathan Egan and the Brisbane-based pair have ambitious plans to grow their lean and mean model to take on industry leader Domino's.

"The market has had multiple failures even though pizza consumption has grown in the last 10 years,'' Potter told City Beat yesterday, pointing to the dozens of stores closed last year by both Pizza Hut and Pizza Capers.

Eagle Boys founder Tom Potter
Eagle Boys founder Tom Potter

"So there is a major gap, or chasm I would call it. We have done a lot of research and the opportunity is substantial.

"Domino's now dominate the landscape but the franchisees are making less and less every year as Domino's drive up sales and lower profit to their franchisees. Customers also seem to be very tired of their rules and deals and codes and enormous menu offer.''

 

ONE SIZE FITS ALL

By contrast, Pizza Guardians offer only a small range of premium (but not gourmet) pizzas and, of course, it's all pick up or delivery now.

There's just one size, one base and all are priced at just $12.90 or about $19 dropped at your door.

The Toowoomba outlet, housed in a former Pizza Capers outlet, only operates between 4pm and 9pm but can churn out 280 pizza per hour.

Notably, Potter and Egan are not franchising the model. Instead, they'll own a 50 per cent stake in every store, which they believe can be rolled out at a third of the cost of a new Domino's outlet.

In a move similar to the way he grew Eagle Boys, Potter and his firm Sonic Foods retain the intellectual property and will handle all the marketing for store operators.

The business partners have tipped more than $500,000 in to the venture so far and talks are already under way to launch two more venues, including one in Brisbane before June.

They hope to have a dozen stores up and running, mainly in Queensland, by the end of the year, with each forecast to turn over about $1.2 million annually.

The plan is to eventually roll out the concept nationally and across the ditch in New Zealand.

 

SLAM DUNKED

The Mayfair 101 investment group promoting a $1.6 billion redevelopment of Dunk Island and renewal of Mission Beach has vowed to "vigorously contest'' a fresh legal challenge from the corporate cop.

ASIC sued the fund manager in Federal Court this week, alleging that it has made false, misleading or deceptive claims that two of its debenture products are as safe as bank term deposits.

Mayfair 101’s founder James Mawhinney.
Mayfair 101’s founder James Mawhinney.

The regulator is seeking a ban on advertisements to that effect, as well as fines exceeding $10 million.

Mayfair founder and boss James Mawhinney said yesterday his firm "remains committed to finalising our purchases in the region'' even as the coronavirus crisis has forced a delay in property settlements in Mission Beach. Redemptions were also frozen in two funds this month.

"There will be some delays due to restrictions resulting from COVID-19,'' Mawhinney said.

"We are in the process of negotiating a major funding deal which would expedite work in Mission Beach and Dunk Island as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are eased.''

Mayfair seemingly came out of nowhere last September to announce its $31.5 million acquisition of cyclone-smashed Dunk Island from Peter Bond, head of failed Linc Energy.

Since then, it has spent heavily to advertise its debenture products as a way for investors to earn more than the paltry sums on offer at major banks.

Attracted by rates of up to 6.5 per cent, early 300 investors have tipped in more than $140 million.

Originally published as Eagle Boys founder returns to pizza game


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