THE age-old saying, 'winner winner, chicken dinner' encapsulates the fondness that Australians have for a good old roast chicken.
It is this widespread sentiment and the numerous growth initiatives undertaken by chief executive Chris Green (pictured) which keeps Australian franchise, Red Rooster holding strong despite a wave of disruptive forces in the quick service restaurant sector.
"The fact is Red Rooster is almost 45 years old. It is tried and it is tested and there is a lot of love and loyalty for the brand," Green says.
"The real benefit for Red Rooster is that our product fills a void in the market.
"Roast chicken is one of Australia's favourite products - it's a real alternative to pizza, in particular from a nutrition and health perspective.
"Sure, we are still going to sell lots of chips and so forth, but we can cater for both parts of the market."
In response to customer needs and increased competition in the fast food industry, Green is focused on providing people with greater accessibility to Red Rooster stores Australia-wide, finding new ways to allow customisation of orders as well as a continued focus on menu taste.
"Customers want the ability to customise. They want you to be accessible and they want to have control over how and when they can make an order," he says.
"We have 360 restaurants across Australia but there is no reason we couldn't have 600 or 700 in the market."
In particular, Green says that Red Rooster is looking to building a greater presence in Australia's two largest markets, Victoria and New South Wales as well as opening its first store in Tasmania.
"Where we are weak is New South Wales and Victoria, we have so much opportunity in those two markets being the biggest states but it has our smallest count of stores," he says.
"What we do know from Western Australia and Queensland is that Red Rooster works everywhere but we just haven't done a good enough job at getting into the other areas in the past."
Since Green moved across from McDonalds almost two years ago, he has overseen a country-wide delivery roll out which he says has worked very well for customers.
"When I came to Red Rooster, there was about five or six stores which were in the early stages of a trial in relation to delivery," Green says.
"Today we have close to 240 sites that offer delivery and we've just done our national launch.
"Delivery is new to Red Rooster and its growth has been amazing."
He has also overseen the refurbishment of close to 100 franchise stores, many of which he acknowledged, suffered from a 'lack of reinvestment over the years' as well as a burgeoning loyalty program called Red Royalty.
"We've got as of last week, 250,000 people who have signed up to the Red Royalty program," says Green.
"The program started in September last year and over 14 months it has gone from zero to 250,000 customers signing up.
"The big win on our side is that we've received customer details and we can market directly to them through a number of channels such as Facebook, emails or even SMS."
When asked whether free-range chickens would be appearing on the Red Rooster menu in the near future, Green had this to say:
"It was something I really did have an interest in when I first came to Red Rooster," he says.
"Where I ultimately landed is that our current practices are world class with our supplier and I am comfortable with everything that our supplier does from a welfare perspective.
"What I wanted to prioritise is the quality of how we prepare and serve the chicken in the restaurant, delivery as well as flavour and variety. It is something we will look at in the future but there are other things we need to address first."
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