Ethical fast food chain, Lord of the Fries, has expanded into Western Australia with a store in Perth's CBD opening last Friday.
The launch of Perth location marks the 10th Lord of the Fries (LOTF) store in Australia, with seven locations across Melbourne and two in Sydney. The store will be one of few LOTF in the country open from breakfast to late night, serving sustainable Rainforest Alliance coffee.
"The food we source is as close to the store as we can," LOTF co-founder, Mark Koronczyk, told Inside Retail Weekly. "We try not to source from overseas, though there are some things that we have to go overseas for because the Australian market doesn't produce them at the moment, like fake bacon, which can't be sourced locally."
LOTF's entry into WA followed a consumer lead online campaign, which saw the launch announcement post being the most shared and commented on organic Facebook post in the brand's history.
"After years of requests, not to mention a very passionate online petition, we're beyond excited to be opening our first store in Perth. We're so proud to be coming to a city where we already have a fan base, and can't wait to meet and greet them at our launch."
Designed by Russell & George Architects, the new store was built for catering to the heavy shopping and commuting traffic on William Street in the CBD. LOTF has experimented in implementing different types of stores, ranging from kiosks to larger stores with a footprint of approximately 1OOsqm and
feeding 40 people.
Koronczyk said the company has grown every year since it opened as a food van on the streets of Melbourne 12 years ago, as consumers become increasingly educated on sustainable food practices.
"We have to think about how we're treating the planet, and a big part of that is the food we are eating," said Koronczyk. "Consumers are getting educated and information now is just a touch away as everyone's so connected.
"You can be as ethical as you want, but if the business is not running well, then you're doomed," said Koronczyk. "It's a 50/50 juggling act. I'd love to go [completely] vegan tomorrow, but it needs to be done properly.
"Right now we are in our best period, having experimented with lots of different types of stores, establishing what works for us and continually innovating."
LOTF's menu is 100 per cent vegetarian and features low gluten, Halal, Kosher and vegan fare sourced from local suppliers.
The company's fries are produced from local Victorian and Sydney-grown potatoes, delivered to locations in trucks fuelled by recycled oil, used to fry the chips. " It's something that organically happened and we were approached by people who wanted to buy our oil when we first started," said Koronczyk.
"Lots of people wanted to buy our oil and we thought, 'let's use our own oil'. It's a kind of commodity and its not expensive at all."
With a store in Parramatta slated for next month, the company is looking to enter Queensland and South Australia later this year, as well as expanding internationally with Asia on the horizon.
"We anticipate this to be a thriving market for us, and as we widen our reach across Australia, we certainly plan to open more locations in the West," said Koronczyk.
"India is another location in the pipeline. We consider that to be our biggest market, with a billion and a half vegetarians and we've done a lot of work researching the market and are
very keen to get there."