The owner of the Red Rooster fast-food franchise has dismissed fears of a wholesale move of the business from Perth to Sydney, saying it only applies to the marketing arm.
Quick Service Restaurant Holdings chief executive Rob Coombe said about half a dozen positions were being relocated to Sydney to bring them closer to advertising, media buying and digital services providers.
“It’s just where most of the key agency relationships are based,” Mr Coombe said. “It’s to be closer to the action there.”
At the same time, he said a similar number of finance positions were being transferred from Sydney to Perth.
“There’s been a shuffling of the deckchairs going on,” Sydney-based Mr Coombe said. “We’ve still got our operations there (in Perth).”
While more of Red Rooster’s 360 outlets can be found in the east, WA remains the single biggest State for the franchise founded in Kelmscott by Peter Kailis in 1972.
“More importantly, it’s where most of our company stores are,” Mr Coombe said.
“It makes a big difference to the P&L for the business performance of the stores over there.”
He said Red Rooster was performing well. “There’s a lot to work on in the brand but it’s got a very loyal customer base.”
Recent initiatives included a national launch of fish and chips following trials as a drive-though product, and the return of some “classic” meals.
Mr Coombe said bringing the Oporto brand of Portuguese-style grilled chicken to Perth through two stores in South Perth and Belmont had exceeded expectations. Another five to 10 would open in the next 12 months.
“The product works well in Perth and we’re looking forward to getting more of that,” he said.
Owned by private equity outfit Archer Capital, QSRH also owns the Chicken Treat franchise.
Mr Coombe declined to comment on reports that Archer was working on a debt refinancing deal or considering a split of its operational and franchise arms.
A former financial services executive, he joined QSRH last year after a period of high turnover of chief executives.
“I think I’ve been the third or fourth in the past couple of years, so that’s too high,” he said.
“I’ve had my feet under the desk for eight months and thoroughly enjoying it.”