Sales

Pizza chain Eagle Boys eyeing a slice of Papua New Guinea

Myriam Robin /

It’s been a few years of rapid growth for regional pizza chain Eagle Boys, with new stores opening and expansion into India and Papua New Guinea.

And this week, the company has begun the rollout of its most ambitious rebrand in its 26-year-history.

The pizza franchise brand’s colours have been toned down. The pink colour has been reduced to an accent, giving the brand a more modern look.

“It’s a matter of remaining relevant to our market – which is predominantly families in regional Australia,” CEO Bruce Scott told SmartCompany.

Scott is the founder of NBC Capital, which bought a majority slice in Eagle Boys in 2007. He stepped into the CEO role in December last year when longstanding CEO Todd Clayton abruptly departed, and has since been driving the company’s growth, sometimes in unexpected places.

Over the past few months, the company has been rapidly expanding into two overseas markets. One of them – India – is not uncommon for Australian companies.

The other is more surprising.

Since July, Eagle Boys has operated in Papua New Guinea, through a venture with CPL Group, which is PNG’s largest retail network.

The island nation to Australia’s north is better known for its poverty levels and ongoing territorial tension with Indonesia, but Scott says his company has gone brilliantly over there.

Asked what the main attraction was, Scott says it was their business partner.

“We did a lot of due diligence to see if we had the right partner, and our franchisee over there was fantastic. An important part of our expansion is finding the right people.”

Scott says sales in PNG have gone “fantastically well”.

“Our product has been very well embraced. We’ve made some small changes to suite the local palate and environment, but not too many. The customers like our product.”

Eagle Boys currently has four stores in PNG, and plans to grow to 13 over the next 12-18 months. It’s also planning rapid expansion in India, with five new sites currently under construction to supplement its 20-store network. Scott says he’s closely looking at expansion into another South Pacific country.

Scott says it’s an interesting time in the pizza market, which is going through some changes.

“It’s evolving into more of a fast-casual dining experience,” he says.

As growth in the broader takeaway market continues, with people being given more takeaway choices than ever, pizza is moving into new territories, taking on a role in casual family dining.

“We’re not talking about full-service restaurants, but more of a fast-casual experience,” Scott says. “You’re looking at meals for under $20 a person, quick service so you’re in and out in 45 minutes, and an enjoyable experience that includes pizza as well as healthy options such as salads.”

Eagle Boys is moving into this space, with plenty of its franchisees beginning to offer in-store dining services.

It’s not the only one.

Australia’s largest multi-brand food franchiser, Retail Food Group, plans to double the number of pizza outlets it operates by 2015, because of what it describes as an insatiable appetite for gourmet pizza. The group owns Pizza Capers, and bought gourmet pizza chain Crust Pizza last year.

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Myriam Robin

Myriam Robin is a reporter for SmartCompany and its sister site LeadingCompany. She has degrees in economics, international studies and journalism. She likes writing about businesses taking risks and doing new things.

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