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Vegan demand ensures fast-food chain Lord of the Fries continues to grow



Featured | Small Business

By Loren Webb

Veganism is on the rise… and it’s a big business. It’s not just vegan companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (recently listed on NASDAQ) which are servicing the growing demand.

Fast food heavyweights such as McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and Hungry Jacks have also weighed in, launching or planning to launch specific vegan menu items in the last year.

With 26 stores across ANZ, Lord of the Fries is the largest vegan business in Australasia. Since it launched 14 years ago, veganism in Australia has risen by more than 1.7 million people, with figures showing that 12.1% of Aussies (2.5m) now eat an all (or almost all) meat-free diet (Roy Morgan).

Lord of the Fries’ revenue figures also reflect the continued global shift in attitudes towards plant based eating and more sustainable lifestyles.

In 2018, the total combined revenue across the Lord of the Fries network was up by 25% with total gross revenue rising from $17.8m in 2017 to $22.2m to 2018.

The total combined revenue for stores that were open for all of 2017 and 2018 increased by 5%. Out of all the stores open for the entirety of 2017 and 2018, all but one store increased its revenue in 2018.

The majority increased by a range of 8% to 19.4%, with only three stores increasing by less than 2%. Total gross revenue for the entire network, excluding stores that didn’t complete the full two years of trade was $16m and $7.5mb in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Showing no signs of slowing down, The Lords have been opening a slew of new stores including Richmond, South Yarra, Werribee and it’s first Brisbane store will be coming later this year.

Founder, Mark Koronczyk

“We didn’t expect the level of growth that we’ve received, especially over the last year. The business had been travelling along at a “normal” increase every year, then in 2018 we saw a massive boom. We believe this was partly due to our exclusive partnership with the highly anticipated and globally recognised Beyond Meat, as well as the visible shift in attitudes towards plant-based foods and demand for ethical alternatives,” said Chief executive and co-founder Mark Koronczyk.

“[We have scaled and grown] by default. Being a family run business which started out in a van with very small amount of capital meant we had to be cautious and steady with every decision. This has enabled us to embrace the growth and scale at an appropriate pace.

“We plan to continue doing what we do so well – serving great-tasting, ethical food to our loyal fan base and those who are keen for a good feed – it’s worked for us so far!

“Currently, we have conservatively forecast opening six new stores per year. In terms of further expansion, we are also starting to look at growing an international presence. We have owned the‘Lord of the Fries’ IP all over the world since the days we were in the van, so the plan was to alwaystake the brand globally. We’ve had strong interest from the USA, Canada, India and the UK. TheLords are coming!”