The founder and chief executive of the Pie Face chain says casino mogul Steven Wynn now has a minority stake in the company after investing $15 million – and says the billionaire thinks it could become one of the United States’ leading food brands.
The revelation comes as the Australian business continues to grow, with 75 stores and about $50 million in network sales.
Pie Face chief Wayne Homschek told SmartCompany this morning there are plans to open more stores in New York City to accompany its current single location.
“This is just the first leg in our global strategy, and we were always going to go global – it was just a matter of when and how.”
Rumours flew earlier this month that Steve Wynn – who has made much of his fortune due to developments along the Las Vegas Strip – would put $15 million in the pie franchise. Pie Face quickly confirmed the investment, saying Wynn now holds a 43% stake in Pie Face’s US division along with two seats on the six-person board.
“He’s obviously a very busy guy, but he’s shown an interest in what we’re doing and we’ve already had a few meetings with him. He’s got two board seats now, so he’s certainly a big part of the business although he doesn’t have a controlling stake.”
Wynn has a fortune of about $US2.5 billion.
Homschek says Wynn was introduced to the business through another board member, Broadway producer Kevin McCollum.
“McCollum found us on Broadway and contacted us and said he was introduced. He was the one who made the introduction to Wynn.
“Steve is a smart guy. He’s a hospitality guy, he’s a bit of a trend spotter, and he thinks we could potentially be a very large business – perhaps one of the key players in the United States, which would make us as large as thousands of stores.
“He likes the simplicity of the model we’re doing, as opposed to his usual projects where he constructs a $4 million monolith, and then people come to him.”
The company has been getting more exposure in the United States – including a little publicity on the David Letterman Show. Now, Homschek says the company plans to open more stores in New York City before opening stores in the rest of the country.
“The money will be used to build more stores. We’re going to open stores in New York, and then move into new markets.
“We’ve just signed another three leases in New York, so we’re expecting to have about seven stores in the city.”
But the company is expanding far beyond the United States – Homschek says the business is now working on more expansion deals in other regions of the globe.
“We’re now working on deals in the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, and other parts of Asia as well. You’ll see more of this in the future – we’re just being very careful about who we partner with and how we go about it.”