Yet another international store is making its way to our shores, with Melbourne-born vegetarian fast food franchise Lord of the Fries announcing it’ll open an outlet in Auckland ater this month. The store taps into key consumer trends by specialising in ethically made, vegetarian food that tastes like its meat counterparts, such as its vegetarian ‘Fakin’ Bacon burger’. Co-founder and CEO Mark Koroncyzk says it’s the first fast food joint of its kind in the New Zealand market.
The chain has 12 stores across Australia, but its Auckland store will be its first venture overseas.
The store will be housed in a shipping container and located at 1 Queen St, down the bottom end of the CBD. It is set to open on October 27.
Co-founder and CEO Mark Koroncyzk said Lord of the Fries chose Auckland as its first place of expansion internationally due to the massive fan base there that has been calling out for a store.
“Once we found a great site in the CBD and some passionate, local franchisees, it seemed like the perfect destination for our first international store. And the hype since announcing the launch has definitely confirmed this,” Koroncyzk says.
Initially, Lord of the Fries was born out of wanting high quality fries, but it has since expanded to become a fully-fledged vegetarian fast food offering.
The menu includes vegetarian hot dogs, nuggets and ‘chick’n’ and ‘phish’ burgers.
All of the the menu options supposedly resemble their meaty counterparts in looks and taste.
A meat-eater-turned-vegetarian reviewed the Fakin’ Bacon burger and described it in WA Today: “…it wasn’t a bad approximation of a cheeseburger. Although it was hard to tell if it was just the pickles and mustard that did it. Just to be sure, I took out a bit of “bacon” individually and bit down. Pretty close…”
The other credential Lord of the Fries boasts is being an ethical fast food outlet.
Koroncyzk says there aren’t any ethical fast food outlets operating in New Zealand yet, so this will be the chain’s main point of difference in the market.
He says because all of its menu is vegetarian, halal and kosher with vegan and low-gluten options, it’s all inclusive for every type of dietary and ethical need.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the Lord’s bounty – food that’s good for the people, the planet and the animals,” he says.
The combination of healthy alternatives and ethically produced fast food cleverly taps into two key consumer trends.
One is consumers increasingly wanting ethical, sustainable products. This is the idea of “you are what you buy,” being driven by millennials.
Data from Nielsen shows two in five Kiwis will pay more for a brand from a company boasting environmental or social sustainability credentials, and 22 percent bought a product or service from a company supporting a worthy cause in the last month even though it was slightly more expensive.
The other trend in hospitality that parallels retail is consumers are not just after products – they also want an experience crafted around it.
Managing of retail leasing for Kiwi Property Aubrey Chang said often with eating out, the experience is more important than the food itself.
“Modern New Zealanders want theatre, atmosphere, and informal casualness that breeds regularity and speed of delivery all at a reasonable price value, compared to traditional fine dining, which is declining,” he said.
Considering a burger that tastes like bacon but isn’t bacon will be a new experience for most, Lord of the Fries will no doubt be an attraction will it opens.
Lord of the Fries opening:
When: Thursday 27 October at 12pm
Where: 1 Queen St, Auckland CBD
Freebies: Free fries for all who attend the opening from 12pm until 1pm, and then free refill chip cups handed out to 250 people that afternoon.