Tony skinner 00:02
Hi and welcome to the podcast channel for podcast my business.com.au and today we have Mimma Battista from https://www.chickentreat.com.au/. So we have a real treat in store. How are you Mimma?
Hey, hey, Tony, how are you? And Thanks for the invite today?
Tony skinner 00:22
No, no, it’s great. Yeah, it’s a, it’s interesting, we tend to talk to small and medium sized businesses, but you are a franchise and the franchise would tend to be small and midsize businesses who are the franchisees?
Yes. So we do operate a franchised business with multiple franchisees. So, so basically, this small business owners, such as I mean, I used to be a small business owner operating a cafe, but this isn’t the chicken business. So it’s an opportunity for, for them to leverage the intellectual property of a bigger business, but operating small businesses within a large, large bills business itself.
Tony skinner 01:13
Yeah, that’s really helpful because one of the biggest problems is getting that support and the marketing support and knowing if you’re doing the right thing, and they’re getting supplies and everything else, you spend your whole time organizing that sort of things. So pretty handy having all that done for you.
Well, it’s, you know, they leverage the the experience and the size of our business. And, you know, we they gain, they gain benefits in in supply chain, in marketing and, and overall experience across a broad scope of the business. And not to mention tapping into Food Innovation, which, you know, would be challenging for a single operator. But we you know, we look at market trends, global trends on food, and we, we validate and bring these and commercialize these products and bring them into into these franchise stores for them to to sell and for customers to enjoy.
Tony skinner 02:08
Yeah, and I think that’s part of the issue is in a category I hate to use the word fast food, but in a food walk up food category. Yeah, advertising is really really important.
Okay, it’s, it’s, I would say it’s it’s a really competitive space and you really need to find as an operator we really need to find our niche and what is our nation and and what is our place to play in this competitive competitive landscape and I think that we look at it from a chicken trade perspective where I’ve fun food brand. So we look at while we specialize in rotisserie chicken and fried chicken and burgers, we also look for customer noticeable innovation, and food quality, and then being added to deliver that to consumers at a at a really good value for money price. So that’s kind of how we see this space, or the QSR space or fast food space. And that’s how we we, I suppose strategize to play in it and finding a niche.
Tony skinner 03:26
Yeah, I like the way you got here crunchy fried chicken and rotisserie chicken. So you split them out of it.
We do I mean, you know, I think rotisserie chicken is as it says it’s traditionally cooked in in very modern digital rotisseries today, but we haven’t actually changed the recipe for over 40 years. So it’s our original recipe from when we started. And then we have crunchy fried chicken which is a double it’s a freshly made product in store it’s double breaded so it’s it’s dipped in in our flour and breading in spices, spices and Herbes it’s double breaded and deep fried and and served fresh and it’s crunchy.
Tony skinner 04:16
Yeah, that sounds so much better than somebody else I can think of anyone. That’s cool. I love my barbecue chicken. I live in England for a few years. And I went to a place that was called a barbecue chicken shop. And at the barbecue chicken cold and a deep fried it
well, that’s interesting. Oh my gosh.
I think you know if if you’re trying to be innovative, I’ve certainly seen a few food trends where they are deep frying whole barbecue a whole barbecued chicken. So I suppose it speeds up the cooking process and gives you a crispy outer coating. I think it’s it destroyed The whole for naturalness of what is a rotisserie or roasted barbecue chicken, whatever, whatever name you want to call it. But you know if you think about a rotisserie chicken goes around and around and the juices flow in and in through the meeting in within the chicken breast itself and around the chicken and, and it’s extremely flavorsome and, and moist as well and it provides a really great, healthy chicken.
Tony skinner 05:32
Now, I should say that I’m on the east coast and you are huge in Perth, but you are going to fly the coop and head over here. I warned you about the jokes.
I know, I know. So yes, we are crossing the Nullarbor. I think there is a joke, Why did the chicken cross the nullarbour. But, but look where we’re breaking borders, we’re opening on the east coast in FY 22, or financial year 22. We’re opening in the ACT. So in Canberra, we’re coming out to you. And and also we’re we’re breaking into New South Wales as well in that period, so it’s very exciting times for chicken treat. And we start with those states and then we’ll we’ll build from there and expand beyond our Western Australian borders.
Tony skinner 06:29
So what what do you think would be the biggest challenges in escaping and again, entering into a large market, but a competitive market?
I think I think for a brand that’s very well known in Western Australia, entering new markets is around brand awareness. So as you would, you know, as you would be aware, chicken trade is a little known on the East Coast if if not at all. And so the task at hand would be the challenge for us is actually brand awareness in terms of competitive in terms of the competitive landscape, we we’ve done significant amount of research to understand that consumers in those areas actually have been surveyed. And, and the brand seems to be well, well received in terms of the the market research that we’ve conducted. So really the task at hand for us is to is to create really strong brand awareness around those communities as we open up in in in both Canberra and New South Wales.
Tony skinner 07:42
And it’s really good timing because you’ve got a great success story that even during the peak of the pandemic, I’m going to call it that because we’re not quite done and dusted yet. You receive record sales. So what do you put that down to?
Look, I think that we were we’ve coming off the back of three years of growth. We’re COVID it was tough. for everyone. I think chicken treat was fortunate we we had, we have drive thru and shopfront formats, where we were able to essentially service consumers through COVID. And I think we learned a lot during COVID in around sort of highlighting the importance from a customer perspective of food safety and hygiene in the comfort of buying from a trusted brand. So we saw some. So really, over the last three years, our strategy, so for getting COVID for a second, but the growth has come from our strategy over the last three years. And we had a mantra which was fixed the food and fixed the stores and fixed the brand.
And so we began the journey by overhauling menu and quality call menu improvements and bringing in new Food Innovation and really playing to the jester brand that we were, in fact, tiny we we bought, we bought to the world of the world’s first live tweeting chicken as part of our and that went global. So that was part of the start of our repositioning but also creating awareness and contemporize in this very mature brand. And so as part of this strategy in 2019, we also repositioned the brand to what we call Australia’s first chigan heroes. And we redesigned our uniforms and our packaging and our store layouts and our internal design guidelines and and then in late 2019 we’re actually we actually won the Best brain transformation in Australia as a as a result. So I think it’s layer upon I don’t think there’s any silver bullet to it. It’s it’s a strategy. It’s the execution of his strategy and which is led to the growth of the brand over the last three years.
Tony skinner 10:13
I’m looking at your menu, and it’s lunchtime.
So how can I treat you, Tony?
Tony skinner 10:22
Well there we go. If that was possible, I’d probably go for the quarter chicken dinner. A good classic and unlike somebody else, you give people a choice of mash or chips because I think last time I was there was this is what you get?
No, I think I think it’s important to allow customers to also customize so so we don’t Well, we might have said offerings in terms of bundles. We also allow customers to customize what they want to eat as well as a perusal or go through menu selection with us.
Tony skinner 11:03
Right, so how important is it you’ve got quite a bit on the rotisserie chicken menu How important is it to have a variety you’ve got a big family treat family classic family meal family rice, so is that the the market that you’re aiming for?
I think when we look at I think if I start with our purpose, we are a an ultimate. We are the ultimate lighthearted, fun chicken destination. So it’s really chicken for all. So if we look at your your base consumers, you’ve got you’ve got mum and dad so mum would probably head towards a rotisserie dad will probably hit the fried chicken in the burgers. And so really we’re trying to provide optionality for for our consumers of all of all audiences, having said that, our key target audiences have been over the last three years a male skew 18 to 49.
Tony skinner 12:13
You dropped out? Okay, so 18 to 49. So yep. So that’s where your category is heading towards, or you said over the last three years, that was your target
And then Tony, as we move forward into on the eastern seaboard, we are working with slightly different target audience, who are actually what we call up for anything. So they’re more adventurous type of consumers and, and not and not gender specific, as well. So we’re broadening our target audience to to the needs of what we call the up for anything. target audience,
Tony skinner 12:59
which takes us to the tempter palmy range, oh my god.
It is a meal and a half in a burger. So the tempter is a and if you’re looking at the double it is it is a full meal. But it does have streaky bacon. It has owl tempter, breastfeed it burger. It has palmy parmigiana source or primary source. It has two or three mac and cheese balls squashed in the top of it. And it has a other layer of palmy sauce as well. Well, it’s it’s, it’s an amazing eat. It’s something that that is works well with consumers in our target market over here. It’s been a successful campaign previously, and we bought it back by popular demand.
Tony skinner 13:55
And how many of these Have you eaten?
Well, we’ve had to eat a few adjust the job of a CEO in a food brand is pretty tough. And I must tell you that we have to taste everything that we put to market and it has to have a final sign off. So in a typical burger tasting event, which will occur probably every six weeks, I would have to try up to between eight and eight to 10 burgers. But of course, there are portions so it would be a quarter of each but that certainly adds up on the on the waistline in due course if if we’re not I know it’s so lovely. And I’m a self confessed foodie. So it’s really hard.
Tony skinner 14:37
Yeah, that would be a challenge. Cool. Okay, so anything else you’d like to add?
I look, I think we’ve, I think what’s next on the horizon for us aside from coming over to visit you in in Sydney and opening up in ACT in New South Wales is where it’s sort of heavily focused on on customer lives. Digital Innovation, allowing customers the optionality to transact with us at a in different ways. And so we call that ordering beyond the counter. So I think that’s a really important point I wanted to add because the digital world is changing the way in which consumers do interact with all brands. And you will see it through McDonald’s through their kiosks through qR coding through contactless pick up points and clicking collect. So it’s it’s an interesting journey as well as we as we break borders with chicken true.
Tony skinner 15:37
Hmm. Okay, well, I hope that I’m escaping the chicken run works out for you.
Again, the chicken jokes, don’t you? Fantastic.
Tony skinner 15:49
You know, I’ve got more that I could use, but I’m not going to do that. So thanks very much for your time.
Thanks, Tony. Much appreciated. Have a great day.