Food franchise Pie Face has secured a $15 million investment from casino mogul Steven Wynn in return for a 43% stake in the company, five months after it expanded to the United States.
Founded in 2003 by Wayne Homschek and Betty Fong, Pie Face specialises in gourmet pies. Australian operations have grown to include 75 stores, with about $50 million in network sales.
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In February this year, the company opened its first store in the heart of New York, with Homschek saying New Yorkers “have taken to the Aussie pie like flies to a barbeque”.
“Each day, thousands of New Yorkers queue up for a taste of the humble Australian meat pie, and sales have blown apart every budget set by the Pie Face team,” Homschek said at the time.
Homschek confirmed this morning US billionaire Steven Wynn, chairman of Wynn Resorts, has taken a minority stake in the company after investing $15 million.
Wynn now holds a 43% stake in Pie Face’s US division along with two seats on the six-person board.
Homschek told SmartCompany 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,” he said.
“[Steven Wynn is] 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.”
According to Homschek, 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,” Homschek said.
Homschek described Wynn as “a bit of a trend spotter”, so his interest in Pie Face is a huge vote of confidence.
“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,” Homschek said.
“He likes the simplicity of the model we’re doing.”
Homschek said the funds will be used to build more stores in New York and further afield.
“We’ve just signed another three leases in New York, so we’re expecting to have about seven stores in the city,” he said.
“We’re [also] working on deals in the United Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand and other parts of Asia.”
“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.”