Australian fast food franchise Pie Face has quietly closed six of its seven stores in New York City.
After its seemingly successful expansion into the US in 2012, local NYC news website DNAinfo New York is reporting Pie Face has suddenly shut its Union Square, Chelsea, Murray Hill and Midtown stores leaving only a paper sign saying catering is still available at its Hell’s Kitchen outlet.
New York customers have contacted the Pie Face New York arm on Twitter saying they are disappointed with the closure, but Pie face has not responded.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
“I hate when businesses shut down overnight without notice. It’s like a screw you to the customers. @PieFaceUSA – I’m looking at you,” said one Tweeter.
In 2012, the pie chain received a massive boost in popularity when it was featured on the American TV show Late Show with David Letterman after its first New York store opened up around the corner from Letterman’s studio.
American-born Pie Face chief Wayne Homschek, who worked as a Wall St banker before starting the chain in Australia in 2003, accepted a $15 million investment from casino mogul Steven Wynn in 2012.
In more recent years, the franchise attempted to expand into India and New Zealand without much obvious traction, and has announced it will look to move into South Korea and the Philippines.
Pie Face has also moved into the South Australian market, stocking its pies in On the Run convenience stores – the SA version of 7-Eleven.
Jason Gehrke from the Franchise Advisory Council told SmartCompany the closures would be a setback to Pie Face’s international presence.
“The closure in NYC is a huge blow to the company and the prestige of the brand in the US, and is also a huge blow to the local partners who invested in the chain,” says Gehrke.
“Not only will there be a difficulty to get back into the market, they will have to completely rethink their US strategy and may need time to regroup before consider going back.”
SmartCompany contacted Pie Face, but did not receive a response prior to publication.